From Whiteriver, Arizona, USA:
I teach on the White Mountain Apache Reservation and my wife is a nurse. Every day we see parents sending Gatorade to school with their children because they believe it is a health drink and better than milk. Nursing parents are now giving their children these new baby bottles in which Gatorade is now packaged.
People believe their children will be athletes if they drink enough of this stuff. Meanwhile we are seeing 13 year olds with type 2 diabetes. Do you have information that will convince people about the dangers of Gatorade? Is there a way to get a warning label that people who have diabetes in their family should be careful drinking this? It is difficult to compete with Michael Jordan!
Gatorade and other drinks like it have done a wonderful marketing job, haven't they? It's so surprising that people fall for it but my own children did until I was able to convince them of the facts. The main information that people are lacking around diabetes and foods, but will make such a difference, is that a Carb is a Carb is a Carb. Most people believe and have been told, "do not eat sugar" and have never understood that sugar is a carbohydrate. On the food label, the total carbohydrate is the number that we must all produce insulin to cover. It is not about the sugar amount below. Taking in more carbohydrates than we burn in a day, increases our weight over time which also increases our insulin resistance.
Gatorade should be compared to Kool Aide in food quality and number of carbohydrates. The message needs to be "expensive water with too much sugar". If people will substitute water, plain water, for Gatorade they will improve their fluid balance without adding sugar and calories that they probably don't need.
Additional comments from Dr. Kenneth Robertson:Such is the power of marketing. Sadly, this is a worldwide problem although it is perhaps peculiarly American for the drink to be Gatorade. The rest of the world is still hooked on Coca Cola. This undoubtedly contributes to obesity and dental caries but not directly to diabetes. Nonetheless, you are correct in your observation that this is an unhealthy practice that should be discouraged.
Original posting 21 Jan 2000
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet
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