If you’ve had a tough workout or a particularly grueling day at the gym, a sip of a refreshing sports drink can be just the thing to make you feel energized once more.
People that are physically active a lot, like athletes, bodybuilders, and marathon runners often carry a sports drink with them. A popular example is Gatorade, which has remained a first-rate option in grocery stores all over the globe.
Gatorade may be tasty and invigorating, but with more and more people switching to veganism, it’s important to know whether the drink is suitable for a plant-based diet. So, is Gatorade vegan friendly?
We’ll cover the answer in this post, including some of the ingredients within Gatorade that vegans should watch out for.
Is Gatorade Vegan Friendly?
Gatorade is available in many flavors, but the original version is thought to be vegan friendly. This is because it doesn’t contain any ingredients that are sourced straight from animals, like dairy or meat byproducts.
Despite this, stricter vegans may want to think twice before reaching for a bottle. Gatorade often contains artificial colorings, sugar, and synthetic and natural flavors. These substances may have been tested on animals or created using animal ingredients.
Gatorade has three main lines, Original, Fierce, and Frost. These all have a range of flavors within each line, which all have similar dyes and ingredients.
As there are so many different Gatorade flavors, it can be hard to give a straightforward answer to whether Gatorade is or isn’t vegan. However, we can take a look at some common Gatorade ingredients that some vegans may have an issue with.
Potentially Non-Vegan Gatorade Ingredients
Production processes used to make regular table sugar may use animal bone char in their formula. While the sugar itself is free from animal matter, companies can add bone char to make the sugar look whiter overall.
This isn’t always the case, but many brands of sugar are made with ground-down animal bones. It’s difficult to tell whether the sugar in Gatorade contains bone char or not. This may depend on the type of Gatorade that you choose.
Some versions may be made with organic cane sugar, which is vegan, while some may be free from sugar entirely. It’s hard to know where companies source their sugar from, but vegans can be on the safe side by only consuming organic sugar. Unrefined, raw, natural, and organic cane sugars will be plant-based friendly.
You may think that switching to sugar-free versions of Gatorade may solve this issue, but these may contain potentially non-vegan flavorings, which we’ll get into next.
Gatorade bottles can be full of cool, tasty flavors, but what ingredients are responsible for these flavorings? You may have noticed the term ‘Natural Flavors’ on a Gatorade ingredient list. Many people believe that this term only encompasses plant matter, but these flavors can come from animal sources too.Natural flavorings can contain any of the following ingredients:
- Dairy products
- Fermented products
- Edible yeast
- Herbs, buds, bark, root leaves, and other plant material
- Meat, seafood, or poultry
- Fruit juice
- Vegetable juice
Some of these ingredients are suitable for vegans, but a lot of them aren’t. It’s hard to know exactly what substances were used to make natural flavors unless they are clearly labeled on the packaging.
This is why some vegans forgo products made with natural flavors, but less-stricter ones may find no issue with this.
Most colorings are sourced from vegan-friendly substances, but some are sourced straight from plant matter. Seemingly plant-based colorings can still be problematic as most of these are still tested on animals. The following artificial colorings are used in Gatorade sports drinks:
- Blue 1: An artificially made dye used in soft drinks, ice cream, and candy. This is not made with animal matter.
- Caramel color: Typically sourced from corn, which makes it suitable for vegans.
- R40: Red dyes are often made from insects, but R40 is not, which makes it vegan
- Yellow 5 & Yellow 6: Artificially made colors that are not made with animal matter
The colorings used in Gatorade may have vegan origins, but it’s important to remember that most of these dyes need to be animal tested before reaching shelves.
Most people will view Gatorade as vegan as it doesn’t include any apparent animal substances. Despite this, a lot of its drinks contain natural flavorings, colorings, and sugar which some vegans find an issue with.
You can opt for Organic Gatorade drinks to ensure you’re not consuming bone char sugars. However, if you’re a stricter vegan which wants to avoid flavorings and colors, you may want to give Gatorade a miss.