For athletes, water is apparently the enemy.

Recently Gatorade (owned by PepsiCo) came out with a new anti-water message and integrated it into a company-sponsored mobile game, called “Bolt!”

“We came up with an entertaining and competitive way to reinforce to teens that consuming Gatorade would help them perform better on the field and that water was the enemy of performance,” said a representative from OMD, the media agency that helped to brand the game. Talk about crazy sports drink claims! “Bolt!” encourages players to guide Usain Bolt through an obstacle course while grabbing bottles of Gatorade and avoiding drops of water. It has been downloaded 2.3 million times, and has been promoted by stars like Justin Beiber.

Amid this “war on water,” is there any hope for communicating the message that water is really the only source of hydration most active people need? Maybe.

Recently, an ad for Lucozade Sport, a drink similar to Gatorade, was banned across the UK over claims it “hydrates and fuels you better than water”. This is a step in the right direction. Although it may not happen anytime soon, we’d like to think that eventually the U.S. may follow in the UK’s footsteps.

The bottom line: Many sports drinks are loaded in calories and sugar that you don’t need unless you’re regularly engaging in moderate to intense exercise. If you can’t go back to plain old water quite yet, coconut water is a healthier alternative. It’s full of electrolytes and lower in sugar than most beverages on the market.


What’s your take on sports drinks? Should they be marketed to kids? Do you find they give you an extra boost or do they just bog you down? Sound off in the comments below.