“Organic” Doesn’t Always Mean “Healthier”

In case you missed the earth-shaking news, the world will soon be blessed with Organic Gatorade.

For reals.


“It’s a move,” reported Fortune, “clearly aimed at riding consumers’ growing interest in organic brands.”

“It’s a consumer interest. They’re very invested in non-GMO and organic and to the degree you can make meaningful for the consumer, do it,” said Al Carey, CEO of its North American Beverages division, speaking at the Beverage Digest Future Smarts conference in New York.

Food Processing added that,

With some three-fourths of Americans buying organic products, the category has shifted from niche to mainstream, according to Carl Jorgensen, director of global consumer strategy of wellness, at food broker, Daymon Worldwide, Stamford Conn. More consumers are looking for foods and beverages with no GMOs, preservatives and more “natural” foods, so PepsiCO’s searching outside of the soda industry for growth to keep its edge.

But Gatorade – like most soft drinks – is anything but natural. Look at the current ingredients for orange flavored Gatorade Thirst Quencher:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Citric acid
  • Natural flavor
  • Salt
  • Sodium citrate
  • Monopotassium phosphate
  • Gum Arabic
  • Sucrose acetate isobutyrate
  • Glycerol
  • Ester of rosin
  • Yellow 6

A couple kinds of sugar. Synthetic flavors and colors and additives. Aside from water and salt, there’s not a lot there that we could say – contrary to Gatorade marketing – our bodies truly ever need. An organic ingredient or two is not going to make much difference.

“Organic” doesn’t always mean “healthier.” Not when the ingredients get hyper-processed and mixed in with a lot of synthetic material, turning it into a food product, as opposed to just plain food.

It’s a point worth saying over and again: Our bodies were designed to eat real food, not products. The more we fill them with tasty but low nutrition products, the less of the real stuff we eat – even to the point where real food may taste bad or bland because the palate has become so used to amped up flavors and engineered textures. We deprive ourselves of what we need to maintain good health.

Yes, we do get some nutrients. We get energy. We get enough of what we need to keep going – until we can’t.

Think of two identical plants. One gets enough sun and water and grows in nutrient-rich soil. The other grows in depleted soil, getting just enough sun and water to keep from dying. Both grow, but only the first will really thrive, growing to its full potential.

We are the same.

So if you’re thirsty, drink water. Don’t enjoy plain water? Try carbonated water. Infuse it with fresh fruit, veg or even herbs! Add a little bit of organic 100% juice if you really, really want to have a little sweetness.

Just give your body what it needs to thrive.

Image by Mike Mozart, via Flickr