In a cruel mockery of both consumer health fads and language itself, PepsiCo is now offering a certified organic version of everybody’s favorite salty neon sugar water, Gatorade, in select Kroger supermarkets.
“We heard pretty loud through the locker rooms, through our work with nutritionists, that there is an interest and a desire among athletes to go organic,” said a Gatorade representative, ignoring the hungover college students that support the company. “Somewhere around 10 to 12 percent of athletes are saying they’re interested in purchasing organic products.”
In case you’re wondering how a product that’s mostly just water, sugar, and some sort of flavoring can be harvested more or less organically, Bloomberg reports that Gatorade “had to shed artificial ingredients and PepsiCo needed to refine its manufacturing” to get the USDA certification. Presumably, that means removing lab-made preservatives from the formula and abandoning artificial colors and flavors for natural ones—which are often just as processed.
In the end, however, the familiar ingredients found in sports drinks might be a greater health risk than the hard-to-pronounce ones. One study published by the research journal Obesity showed that adolescents gained an average of 3.5 pounds over two years for every sports drink they consumed each day.
“Sports drinks have an even stronger relationship than sugared sodas with weight gain,” said Dr. Alison Field, who led the study. “I was surprised by that. I would have expected the weight gain to be comparable.”