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Surprising HFCS food of the week - or Gatorade double talk

Posted Sep 22 2008 4:35pm
One of the “foods” that we were able to keep when we cleared our pantry of all HFCS was powdered Gatorade. Ken loves to have a big glass of Gatorade after cutting the grass, so we were very happy about that. Surprisingly (though maybe it shouldn’t be), liquid Gatorade does have HFCS in it. In fact, it’s the third ingredientafter water and sugar. (The powdered Gatorade uses dextrose in place of HFCS.)

Here’s the thing that gets me, though. I went toGatorade’s website to check out the ingredients and info online. I couldn’t find an ingredient list online – not surprising since products containing HFCS often don’t make their ingredient list available on their websites (at least in my recent experience – there are exceptions, of course). But I did find this Q&A on the official Gatorade FAQ:

Why doesn't Gatorage contain fruit juice?

Fruit juice contains fructose in levels which slow gastric emptying and may result in intestinal upset when athletes drink it during exercise.

Um, hello? They won’t use fruit juice, but they will use HFCS? Granted, fruit juices aren’t all that great – they’re loaded with fructose (especially apple juice – apple juice can have more fructose per ounce than a can of HFCS-containing soda!) with few of the beneficial goodies in the original fruit (sticking with apples – the juice has none of the pectin and fiber and only about 3% of the wonderful vitamins and minerals in the original apple). Fruit juice, for the most part, really is junk food in disguise. (There are exceptions here too. Orange juice and cranberry juice have a lot to offer, for example, but you’re still much better off eating the original fruit!)

So, yes, fruit juice does have a lot of problematic fructose in it, but HFCS is no better! It really is slick marketing on Gatorade’s part to give this explanation of why they won’t use fruit juice. It implies that they don’t use HFCS either. I wrote to Gatorade and asked them why they won’t use fruit juice because of the fructose content, butthey will use HFCS. It’s been about a week, and I haven’t heard back from them. I suspect that they use HFCS but not fruit juice because it’s easier to control the fructose amount in HFCS than in fruit juice, and, let’s not forget, HFCS is cheaper.

Both Gatorade and Powerade (another popular sport drink) have HFCS as their third ingredient (after water and sugar). Propel, another drink from the Gatorade company, does not contain HFCS. And if you like Gatorade, you can get a HFCS-free fix by mixing it yourself using the powdered Gatorade mix.

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