Is Gatorade Vegan?

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If you just finished playing your favorite sport, are on the way home after a challenging hike, or have been outside in hot weather, you’re probably ready for a cold drink. As we know, it’s important to keep your electrolytes in balance to prevent dehydration and illness.

Gatorade is one of the most popular sports rehydration drinks and it comes in many varieties and flavors. It is easy to pack up and throw in your bag to take to the beach or on your road trips. 

But you may be wondering, is Gatorade vegan? Some vegans consider Gatorade to be vegan and some do not. While Gatorade doesn’t contain any specific animal ingredients or byproducts, it does contain artificial colors and flavors, which some vegans choose to avoid because they can come from animals.

There are also a few Gatorade protein products which contain whey and other dairy derivatives, so these options will not be suitable for vegans. 

Read on to discover whether Gatorade is a safe vegan option for your summer rehydration needs.

What Is In Gatorade?

While it would be impossible to list every ingredient in every variety of Gatorade, generally speaking they contain sugar, water, citric acid, natural flavors, electrolytes, food dyes, and some include brominated vegetable oils as stabilizers. 

On the surface it might seem obvious that none of these ingredients contain any animal products. There also don’t seem to be any obvious animal byproducts such as dairy, honey, or eggs in the sports drink.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are 100% vegan friendly

What Ingredients In Gatorade May Not Be Vegan?

As with any diet, there are different levels of strictness depending on the person’s individual beliefs and preferences within that framework.

Some vegans choose not to consume artificial colors or natural flavors since it is difficult to source exactly where these ingredients come from. 

Natural Flavors In Gatorade

When it comes to natural flavors the sources can be either plant or animal and manufacturers don’t always share where theirs come from.

According to the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations, the terms “natural flavor” or “flavorings” mean they were originally derived from any of the following:

  • Spices
  • Fruit or fruit juices 
  • Vegetable or vegetable juices 
  • Edible yeasts
  • Herbs, bark, buds, roots, leaves, or similar plant material
  • Meat, seafood, or poultry
  • Eggs or dairy products
  • Fermentation products

As you can see there is the potential for these natural flavors to be sourced from animal products or byproducts, so you may want to avoid them if you are following a vegan diet. 

Food Dyes In Gatorade

Generally, food dyes do not come from animals, except for carmine which is sourced from the cochineal insect.

However, many food dyes have been historically tested on animals. So if you are a vegan who is against animal testing, then this may be another reason to avoid Gatorade products

Sugar In Gatorade

Finally, some vegans avoid sources of sugarcane since there is a filtration process that can use bone char from cattle bones.

The bone char is created by heating the bones of cattle until they turn to carbon. This carbon is then used to filter the sugar to give it a bright white color. 

Since Gatorade products are certified Kosher (as you’ll see below), the final filtration process doesn’t allow any bone char to pass through into the drink.

While you won’t technically be consuming any animal products, but may still want to avoid the practice in general.

Not all companies use the bone char process to filter their sugarcane. Some companies will use activated charcoal from coconuts instead.

Other sources of sweetener such as those from sugar beets and high fructose corn syrup don’t require the filtration process, so are vegan friendly.

Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to distinguish whether the sugar in Gatorade comes from the bone char process since the company gets their sugar from so many places.

This information isn’t shared on the label.

So Is Gatorade Vegan?

As we’ve already seen, whether you consume Gatorade as a vegan comes down to how strict you are with your guidelines of what makes up an animal byproduct. 

Since they don’t contain animal products or byproducts, many vegans will still enjoy Gatorade as an option for rehydration.

If you choose to avoid natural flavors, food dyes, or added sugars as part of your vegan diet then Gatorade will not be the right choice for you. 

There are a few Gatorade products that do contain dairy products such as the Gatorade Super Shake, G Zero with Protein, and Recover Whey Protein Bars. These products are not going to be vegan.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to wondering whether Gatorade is vegan, you may want to know whether it is vegetarian, kosher, gluten-free, or dairy free. Read on to discover the answers. 

Is Gatorade Vegetarian?

Unlike a vegan diet which eliminates all meats and animal byproducts including eggs, honey, and dairy, vegetarian diets are not as strict.

They will often consume these byproducts and sometimes even include fish and seafood in their diet depending on if they are pescatarian vegetarians. 

As mentioned above, while Gatorade doesn’t contain any specific animal products or byproducts. Some of its manufactured ingredients, such as the food dyes or natural flavors, may come from animal sources. 

They may also be tested on animals, so it really depends on your personal commitment to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Are you doing it for health benefits? For animal welfare? Depending on your answer you may or may not choose to include Gatorade in your vegetarian diet. 

Is Gatorade Kosher?

Kosher foods are those that conform to specific Jewish dietary requirements when it comes to type of food, how it’s prepared, how it’s processed, and how it’s inspected.

In order for a product to be certified it must meet these predetermined guidelines. 

Kosher products will display one of the specific symbols, such as a circled U or K, on their packaging. There are other symbols, but Gatorade products display the circled U. 

Certain Gatorade products are certified Kosher such as the Gatorade Thirst Quencher, G2, and Gatorade Zero ready-to-drink / powder varieties.

Gatorade Endurance Formula ready-to-drink and concentrates used on event courses are also kosher certified.

If you are looking to use Gatorade brand protein or energy products, they are unfortunately not certified Kosher.

Is Gatorade Gluten-Free?

While it may seem obvious that a drink should be gluten-free, in reality, that is not always the case. Many with celiac disease can attest to how frequently they find gluten hiding in the sneakiest places. 

Many different flavors and colorings can contain gluten. That means that just because something isn’t obviously made with wheat, rye, spelt, barley, triticale, or kamut isn’t a guarantee that it is gluten free.

So if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance it’s always worth checking to see if your drink is gluten-free before enjoying.

Since the label doesn’t specifically state that the product is certified free of gluten, it means it hasn’t been tested to see if it contains any trace amounts.

With that being said, the ingredients in Gatorade are all gluten-free, so unless there is contamination at the facility, they are generally considered safe for folks with celiac disease.

One of the main celiac and gluten-free support groups, celiac.com states that their products have never received any complaints. 

So long as the product you choose doesn’t include a gluten-containing ingredient you can feel safe knowing it’s gluten-free.

The only products I could find that contained gluten were the Recover Whey Protein Bars, so if you stick to the drinks you should be safe. 

Is Gatorade Dairy-Free?

Yes, Gatorade is dairy-free in that it doesn’t contain and milk or milk byproducts. Some natural flavors may be derived from milk products, but most come from plants.

So if you are allergic to dairy or lactose, you won’t have to worry about having a reaction to Gatorade. 

However, if you want to use any of the Gatorade protein products, they all contain some form of milk ingredient. That means they won’t be vegan or dairy-free.

If you want to avoid dairy, then make avoid the Gatorade Super Shake, G Zero with Protein, and Recover Whey Protein Bars

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the discussion of whether Gatorade is vegan depends on how strictly you adhere to a vegan diet.

If you consider natural flavors, food dyes, and processed sugar to come from animal products, then the majority of Gatorade products are not going to fit within the vegan diet. 

A few of their products such as the Gatorade Super Shake, G Zero with Protein, and Recover Whey Protein Bars all contain dairy products, such as whey protein.

Since this is an obvious animal byproduct, none of these options are going to be vegan-friendly. 

In general, Gatorade makes a tasty option for an electrolyte-rich summer drink. It is certified Kosher, generally gluten-safe (aside from the whey protein bars), and vegetarian.

What’s your favorite flavor of Gatorade? Let us know below! 

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