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Gatorade: 5 Best Flavors + 3 Alternatives

Gatorade’s history goes back to the 1960s, when it was created by a team of scientists. It was literally invented to help athletes rehydrate after physical exercise. In this article we’ll explore the best flavors of Gatorade, their types of different drinks, and the best alternatives for you.

It’s no surprise that Gatorade remains a hugely popular drink of choice for athletes (and those who wish they were) today. Since the ‘60’s it’s become even better and there are now several varieties available to suit different needs.

But what makes Gatorade so special? It appears to have been a first of its kind in specifically catering towards the needs of athletes. Early Gatorade was made of water with sugar, sodium, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice added in.

It was first tested on the University of Florida’s football team in 1965, with much success. The rest is history, and soon Gatorade took the world by storm.

What to Know about Gatorade Flavors

What to Know about Gatorade Flavors

For many years Gatorade was initially sold in the United States. It was only in the 1980s that it expanded its sales and distribution to other parts of the world. It’s now sold in 80 countries across the world.

In the US, it leads the market for sports drinks with a huge 72.1 percent share. Internationally, it leads with 75 percent of the sports drinks market.

PepsiCo purchased Gatorade in 2001 for a whopping 13.8 dollars billion. Interestingly, it would have actually been owned by the Coca Cola Company, had they not backed out from a 16 dollars billion deal to acquire the company in earlier 2000.

Today, Gatorade still pays 20 percent of royalties to the University of Florida, where the popular sports drink was first invented.

Up to 2013 some European countries and Japan prohibited the sale of Gatorade, because it contained a compound called brominated vegetable oil. The latter is linked to health problems and sometimes even used as a fire retardant, so it was soon replaced with an alternative ingredient.

With that said, Gatorade still contains food dyes which are disallowed in certain countries, so it’s still not available everywhere.

Fun fact: in the 1970s the brand also sold a range of gum called Gatorgum, which was supposed to quench your thirst. The product is still available as ‘Quench Gum’, which is produced by and sold by Mueller Sports.

Interestingly, while they did give up on the idea of Gatorgum, Gatorade still do make protein bars, energy gummies, and even sweat patches.

Origin of Gatorade

Origin of Gatorade

Gatorade was first made for the University of Florida’s sports teams – the Gators – as a means to keep them optimally hydrated.

It was invented by a team of scientists and, after initial positive feedback, quickly caught on with a wider market. It’s still the world’s most popular sports drink.

Who Invented Gatorade

Who Invented Gatorade

A team of scientists led by Dr. James Robert Cade created Gatorade. The idea actually started with an aim to replicate sweat, since you lose a lot of hydration when exercising.

The team allegedly researched exactly what was lost when players were sweating during a football game, with an aim to replace lost fluids in the most effective way. Trial and error led to what became Gatorade.

Fun fact: Gatorade was originally going to be called ‘Gator-Aid’ in support of the University of Florida’s football team.

The team decided to go with Gatorade because they wanted to make a commercially viable beverage — and of course they did this very successfully.

Ingredients of Typical Gatorade Drinks

Ingredients of Typical Gatorade Drinks

A typical bottle of Gatorade contains the following ingredients:

  • water
  • table sugar (sucrose)
  • dextrose
  • citric acid
  • natural flavoring
  • table salt (sodium chloride)
  • sodium citrate
  • monopotassium phosphate
  • a mix of coloring and flavoring ingredients

Some of their drinks used to contain brominated vegetable oil, though PepsiCo announced that it would stop using these as of January 2013.

What Gatorade Tastes Like

What Gatorade Tastes Like

Early Gatorade was only available in two flavors: Lemon Lime and Orange. These were available in liquid and powdered form, so you can make your own Gatorade at home.

Gatorade has always had a signature somewhat sweet and salty flavor. Fans claim that it tastes sweeter when you’re dehydrated, and sort of salty and even chalky when you’re properly hydrated.

Allegedly this is because drinks that are slightly salty and sweet taste better if your body is lacking electrolytes. Your body ends up craving the beverage, which supposedly makes it taste much better.

Whether or not this is actually true remains to be seen, but you can always try for yourself.

The Best Gatorade Flavors Ranked

The Best Gatorade Flavors Ranked

There is an online myth that people either refer to Gatorade by the color or they’re a police officer.

We’ve labeled the top-ranking flavor by its color for that reason, though there’s probably little to the myth, but it does make for a fun story.

Here are the top 5 best Gatorade flavors according to our research.

‘Light Blue’ or Frost Glacier Freeze

‘Light Blue’ or Frost Glacier Freeze

This popular flavor is fruity and sweet. It blends raspberry and blueberry flavors and isn’t particularly sour. Others do describe it as a little tart with a slight taste of cranberry and a hint of citrus. 

Either way, it’s an appealing color too, though it’s not what anyone would call natural.

Lime Cucumber

Lime Cucumber

Lime Cucumber seems to have a mix of fans and haters on the internet. It’s both described as refreshing, which cucumber-flavored drinks tend to be, and tasting like actual sweat.

We think it’s worth a try – spruce it up with a sprig of mint and enjoy it ice cold.

Orange

Orange

Orange is perhaps the simplest Gatorade flavor available, and one of the original two.

It tastes refreshing and citrusy. Sadly Gatorade Orange doesn’t actually contain any fruit juice.

You can enjoy a similar beverage by making your own homemade Gatorade per our recipe hack below.

Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit

Gatorade’s Passion Fruit flavor tastes ‘tropical’, rather than very much like passion fruit.

With that said, it’s a very good tropical flavor and some fans laud it as the best Gatorade ever. It’s certainly a good one to enjoy while doing a hot summer-time workout.

Fierce Melon

Fierce Melon

Fierce Melon is described by some as tasting ‘just like summer time.’ It’s refreshing and a bit unusual.

We’re unsure where the ‘fierce’ description comes from, because this is just a mellow, delicious drink that’s hard to beat.

Best Gatorade Zero Flavors

Best Gatorade Zero Flavors

Gatorade Zero contains no sugar and no calories, making it a decent addition to weight loss diets.

It’s not quite as popular as the regular range of flavors, but there are a few standout varieties regardless. Here are a few of the nicest flavors of Gatorade Zero you can try.

Glacier Cherry

Glacier Cherry

The Gatorade Zero Glacier Cherry flavor is described as tasting slightly of sweet cherries and smelling absolutely scrumptious as well.

It has a light yet refreshing flavor, and will do much to curb any sweet tooth cravings minus the added calories.

Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade perfectly combines both sweet and tart flavors.

If you enjoy (slightly artificial) strawberry flavoring and the zinginess of citrus, this one’s for you. It tastes a lot like the real deal, and is certainly a popular variety.

Berry

Berry

This flavor is described as tasting like a more subtle fruit punch. It’s refreshing and tasty without being too sweet. If you enjoy other berry-flavored drinks but want something that isn’t sickly, this is for you.

The Original Gatorade Flavors

The Original Gatorade Flavors

There were just two Gatorade flavors when the popular sports drink first came to market.

They are both still available today, which goes to prove just how well-made they originally were.

Try them both or make copycat versions at home using our simple recipe hack below.

Lemon Lime

Lemon Lime

Gatorade Lemon Lime has more of a lime flavor than similar beverages and also has a slightly salty aftertaste. The latter is surprisingly satisfying, particularly if you enjoy your Lemon Lime Gatorade ice cold after a heated work out.

Orange

Orange

Orange Gatorade may sound like the most basic flavor, but it still has a lot of die-hard fans to this day.

It’s citrusy yet sweet, but not overpoweringly so.

It feels like an ideal work out beverage, particularly when served ice cold.

It’s no wonder Orange Gatorade has stuck around for so long.

Types of Gatorade

Types of Gatorade

Once upon a time, Gatorade only came in two flavor varieties, and was sold in just liquid and powdered form.

Powdered Gatorade may not be as popular nowadays, but it’s still available alongside standard Gatorade and four other more modern varieties.

Regular Gatorade

Regular Gatorade

Also known as ‘Gatorade Thirst Quencher’ or GTQ, regular Gatorade is the original formulation.

It’s available in 22 flavors, though some appear to be country-specific. For example, Brazil have a Pineapple flavor and Colombia sell a Blueberry variety.

Gatorade Gatorlyte

Gatorade Gatorlyte

The Gatorlyte range has added electrolytes including calcium, magnesium, and chloride. It also contains less sugar than regular Gatorade.

Gatorlyte comes in the flavors Glacier Freeze, Cherry Lime, Mixed Berry, Orange, Strawberry Kiwi, Watermelon, Lime Cucumber, and even three of the Gatorade Zero varieties.

Gatorade Zero

Gatorade Zero

Gatorade Zero is made with 0 g of sugar per bottle, though the other base ingredients appear to be the same. The range is made with sucralose, which is a synthetic sweetener that tastes sweeter than regular sugar.

Some compare Gatorade Zero to vitaminwater for its more subtle flavoring.

Gatorade Fast Twitch

Gatorade Fast Twitch

Gatorade’s relatively new creation Fast Twitch is aimed at giving you an energy boost.

It’s designed to be enjoyed during a workout and before you drink something more hydrating.

There are six flavors available at time of writing, including Cool Blue, Glacier Freeze, Strawberry Lemonade, Orange, Tropical Mango, and Strawberry Watermelon.

Powdered Gatorade

Powdered Gatorade

You can get Gatorade thirst quencher powder, which can be mixed with water to essentially make Gatorade at home.

Fans of the powdered varieties like that you can customize the flavor of your Gatorade, add more or less powder, and save a bit of money. It also stays fresh for longer than ready-mixed Gatorade.

G2 Lower Sugar Gatorade

G2 Lower Sugar Gatorade

Gatorade’s G2 varieties offer the same levels of rehydration as regular Gatorade, but contain less sugar, calories, and carbs.

It’s aimed at helping athletes replace lost water without adding too many calories.

There appear to be three key flavors: Grape, Fruit Punch, and Glacier Freeze.

Other Varieties

Other Varieties

There have been a few smaller ranges available, too. These include Gatorade Organic Thirst Quencher, which is made with USDA Certified Organic ingredients.

There is also the Gatorade Endurance Formula, which contains twice as much sodium and three times as much potassium as the normal GTQ.

It also contains Propel water, which is intended to support the immune system and/or for hydration during less intensive training sessions.

Tasty Alternatives to Gatorade

Tasty Alternatives to Gatorade

Whether you’re looking to branch out or Gatorade simply isn’t available where you are, alternatives are always interesting to look into. Below is a range of alternatives to Gatorade, from the company’s biggest competitor to natural and even homemade options.

Coconut Water

Coconut Water

Coconut water is sometimes described as ‘nature’s Gatorade’. It’s full of nutrients, and offers plenty of health benefits.

It works as an antioxidant in your body, may help lower your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes, could have preventative effects on kidney stones, may boost heart health, and can help rehydrate you during and after exercise.

Interestingly, coconut water naturally contains electrolytes.

Powerade

Powerade

Powerade is perhaps Gatorade’s best-known competitor. Flavors include Mountain Berry Blast, Fruit Punch, Grape, Orange, Lemon Lime, White Cherry, Strawberry Lemonade, and Melon.

Powerade also have a Powerade Zero with no sugar or calories, and Powerade Sports Freezer Bars (which are basically the brand’s popsicles.)

Fun fact: while Gatorade is owned by PepsiCo, Powerade is owned by the Coca-Cola Company.

Bonus Recipe Hack: Homemade Gatorade

Bonus Recipe Hack: Homemade Gatorade

You can easily DIY Gatorade at home by combining a few simple ingredients. Reap the hydrating benefits of Gatorade without any added coloring or artificial add-ins.

All you need is ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice and ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 cups of filtered water, ⅛ tsp of sea salt, and 2 tbsps of sugar.

This makes a delightful lemon-lime flavored Gatorade. To make an orange flavored version, simply replace the lemon and lime juices with ½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.

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