The Scary Ingredient In Orange Gatorade


One of the ingredients in orange Gatorade is brominated vegetable oil (BVO). According to a Scientific American article BVO is "derived from soybean or corn" and contains bromine atoms that "weigh down the citrus flavoring so it mixes with sugar water." The FDA pulled BVO from its Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list in 1970 for flavor additives, but re-approved the use in 1977. BVO is banned in Japan and the EU. Mercola.com lists the problems associated with bromine. Bromines are common endocrine disrupters, and depress the central nervous system. Bromine toxicity can "manifest as skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias."

"There are some concerns [about BVO] because people are worried that maybe it has the behavior, [and] potential health effects similar to brominated flame retardants," said Heather Stapleton, an environmental chemist at Duke University who specializes in studying brominated compounds.

High school student, Sarah Kavanagh became concerned about BVO being in orange Gatorade after researching it on the internet. Kavanagh started a petition urging Gatorade to remove BVO. She asks a great question: "I’m not a scientist, but if there are lots of suspicious things about putting a flame retardant chemical in Gatorade (most flavors don’t even use it!) then why would Gatorade want to put it in a product designed for people like me who are into sports and health?"

Indeed, why would Gatorade choose to include an ingredient such as BVO in its drinks? Gatorade contains other bad ingredients including high-fructose corn syrup. Why bother drinking it? Fortunately, there are alternatives to sports drinks that are loaded with other bad ingredients, as the book, Unjunk Your Junk Food: Healthy Alternatives To Conventional Snacks by the creators of Naturally Savvy shows. The Naturally Savvy approved sports drink is Recharge Sports Drink by R.W. Knudsen Family, which is made with fruit juice, and does not contain added sugar, or artificial flavors and colors.

Photo credit: Flickr user, marcgelinas


By Gina-Marie Cheeseman| November 29, 2012
Categories:  Book

About the Author

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!

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