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Is Gatorade’s new G Organic drink actually healthy?

G Organic
Photo: Gatorade

Gatorade made headlines last week by releasing G Organic, its first certified organic beverage, which reportedly took two years to formulate, according to Bloomberg. But what does that actually mean? Is it actually healthy? And does the new drink have less sugar than the original, which packs 14 grams in an 8-ounce bottle? The in-house senior scientist for the mega brand (which controls 70 percent of the sports drink market) gave us the lowdown.

“We know that athletes have unique sports fuel preferences, and one of those includes buying organic products,” says Lisa Heaton MS, RD, CSSD. “We created G Organic for those athletes looking for an organic hydration and fueling option that is USDA-certified, while still providing the proven fueling benefits found in Gatorade Thirst Quencher.”

In order to be USDA-certified organic, nothing artificial can be used. Now, the label only lists seven ingredients, down from 11: water, organic cane sugar, citric acid, organic natural flavor, sea salt, sodium citrate, and potassium chloride.

Wondering exactly what qualifies as natural flavor? “To put it simply, it’s a substance derived from a plant or animal source,” Heaton says. “The primary function of a natural flavor in a food or drink is to provide flavoring rather than a nutritional benefit.”

Okay, so what about the cane sugar? The new Organic G has the same amount of sugar as the original, and Heaton says it serves a purpose: “The sugar content in Gatorade is functional and is meant to provide fuel for athletes,” she explains.

“[All] the ingredients are backed by years of scientific research that support the need for carbohydrates for fuel during athletic activity, and we only recommend our products for the active occasion. To change the sugar content in our organic product would have changed the benefits to athletes, which was not an option for us. Providing fuel for athletes is our number-one priority.”

The lesson here: it’s not for sipping to recover from a light jog or barre class—it’s for when you’re seriously sweating.

While we’re on the subject of staying hydrated, here’s how much you should be drinking during the work day. Not a plain water fan? Try one of these coconut water-based recipes