Is Gatorade Vegan?

It’s the go-to sports refreshment for many and one of the most popular drinks in the world, but is Gatorade vegan? The answer is yes, and it is even on PETA’s list of vegan-friendly drinks. 

However, this is for the original version. Gatorade has plenty of other sports drinks including shakes, some that contain milk. In the following article, we are going to find out more about which are vegan, and those to avoid.

Gatorade Ingredients

Gatorade contains plenty of ingredients that help to repair and refresh the body post-workout. One major ingredient that is often found in drinks such as this is sugar. 

Here is a list of ingredients in Gatorade Thirst Quencher Original:

Water, sugar, dextrose, citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, glycerol ester of rosin along with flavorings

There is nothing in there that could be considered non-vegan, but as we mentioned, there are problematic ingredients so it isn’t always above board for a plant-based diet.

Sugar

This can be problematic, as a lot of the time, US food and drinks manufacturers use bone char as part of the decolorization process.

This means the charred bones of cattle or pork can be used to bleach sugar and make it a more desirable white. Bone char is imported to the US and is often used in this way. It would make any product that uses this approach non-vegan. 

The problem is that most brands don’t disclose where they source their sugar from, so contacting them directly can be useful.

On the other hand, we have no way of saying if they do use bone char, but the original Gatorade is certified Kosher.

Natural Flavors

It is no secret that many natural flavors are derived from animal-based sources. The process of creating these flavors involves heating the ingredient, and it can be plant or animal-based. It is right for any vegan to question the source of such ingredients.

Some of the common animal-based natural flavors that sneak into food and drink include carmine, a red pigment obtained from crushed cochineal insects. A vegan alternative is beet juice.

It is very much down to how deep the consumer wants to go, as removing all foods that say natural flavoring can be difficult, especially when a lot of them will be plant-based.

Artificial Colors 

Another common sight is sports drinks and snacks, but another that is problematic. Because many have been tested on animals for so long, they are often avoided as part of a plant-based diet.

It is possible to find out which are still tested on animals in the name of making them safer for human consumption. 

Some will need to be tested even after they have been deemed safe, to make sure there are no lasting effects or anything new that arises. 

Not only this, but artificial colors tend to be bad for your health, which is why many will choose to avoid them.

Does Gatorade Contain Whey?

The original recipe does not, but some shakes do. Gatorade Protein is the major culprit. 

This comes in many forms such as Gatorade Zero with Protein. Beyond the electrolytes to aid hydration, it contains whey protein isolate. This is a form of dairy that makes their protein range non-vegan. 

Here is a full list of ingredients for their Cool Blue flavor:

WATER, WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVOR, SODIUM CITRATE, SALT, MONOPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, PHOSPHORIC ACID, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SUCRALOSE, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN, BLUE 1

How Is Gatorade Made?

As they are two of the main ingredients, it does not come as any surprise that it all starts with the combination of sucrose and water. 

Then, dextrose, citric acid, and the other ingredients are added and mixed before it is bottled and stored in a refrigerator. 

Once it is ready to be shipped, it is moved onto boats and trucks and shipped around the world. 

Vegan Alternatives

Although Gatorade can be considered vegan, the problematic ingredients will be enough for a strict vegan to say no. THis is understandable, which is why we have found the following alternatives:

NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Drink

It ticks all the important boxes such as being vegan, organic, and non-GMO, and uses organic coconut water to promote electrolyte consumption.

With no added sugar, and a variety of flavors, NOOMA has made an excellent alternative that does not contain a lot of the ingredients most people try to avoid in Gatorade. Here is the ingredient profile:

Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Water from Concentrate, Organic Watermelon Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Lime Flavor, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract. Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Water from Concentrate, Organic Chocolate Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract, Organic Mint Flavor. Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Water from Concentrate, Organic Blueberry Flavor, Organic Peach Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract. Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Water from Concentrate, Organic Mango Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Leaf Extract.

Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder

Another option is to use a powder sachet and mix it with water. This is vegan friendly and has Vitamin C and zinc for immune support in addition to electrolytes. It also contains zero sugar.

True Nopal Cactus Water

You’d think that a Cactus would know a thing or two about hydration, and the 7 electrolytes in this vegan-friendly drink combine to make it a plant-based sports drink worth considering.’

It contains the following simple ingredients:

Filtered Water, Prickly Pear Cactus Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Vegetable Color

Conclusion

As with many commercial beverages, Gatorade can be considered vegan, but things aren’t so simple. 

However, no plant-based athlete needs to go without a quick fix of electrolytes, as we have shown in the alternative options.