What is the Gatorade Series (G1, G2, and G3) of products?
Gatorade takes hydration to a science with their line of products.
From the Field
What do Gatorade's G1, G2 and G3 products do?
Gatorades's G Series sports drinks
The G Series is a complete hydration system that claims to help users reach peak performance. The original Gatorade formula (now packaged as part of the G2 line) is a sufficient medium to replenish electrolytes depleted during prolonged activities or other exercises that produce excessive sweating. G1 and G3 provide minimal nutrients for extreme situations; their performance-enhancing properties should be approached with caution. Eating whole foods tailored to your activity may be more cost-efficient and healthier for pre- and post-workout periods than consuming a sports beverage.
Gatorade has been a hydration mainstay since the 1960s, when it was first introduced to combat heat-related performance decrements of the University of Florida’s football team. Since then, Gatorade has continued to dominate the sports-drink market, and the company promotes hydration science through their Gatorade Sports Science Institute. In recent months, Gatorade expanded its product line to include a unique performance-enhancing beverage system—to be taken before, during, and after exercise—called the G Series. The initial drink of the trio, G1 Prime, is a four-ounce (118 ml) pouch with 25g of carbohydrates and high levels of B vitamins and electrolytes. The manufacturer recommends that the drink be consumed 15 minutes before exercise. The G2 Perform line includes the original Gatorade formula (with 14g of carbohydrates in eight ounces), which was designed to replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates while exercising. A low-calorie version (containing only five grams of carbs) and powder formulations are options to the original drink. The G3 Recover drink, with seven grams of carbohydrates and eight grams of protein in eight ounces, is intended for use after exercise for rehydration and muscle-recovery benefits. Other products within the G Series that espouse similar benefits include G Series Pro and G Natural.
Myths and Claims
The G Series is comprised of nutrient-enhanced beverages for the before, during, and after stages of physical activity to help you perform optimally.
Research supports the consumption of electrolyte-and-carbohydrate drinks to improve aerobic performance lasting more than one hour. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for optimal refueling times details hydration recommendations depending on the intensity and duration of the activity being performed, as well as the weather conditions. ACSM suggests that sports drinks are beneficial when the activity exceeds one hour, is very strenuous, and/or induces excess sweat losses. Several hours before and immediately after activity, drinking water is recommended to ensure optimal hydration. In addition, some sodium should be consumed (via snack or meal) to help stimulate thirst and retain fluid. Sports drinks can provide some these benefits, but other snack and water/fluid combinations can be more cost-efficient and equally or more effective.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition provides a position stand regarding nutrient timing, which is largely dependent upon the type of activity being performed. In general, they recommend a meal with carbohydrates more than one hour (but no later) prior to the workout. G1 provides the suggested carbohydrates for pre-workout nutrition. However consuming high amounts of fructose within one hour may create gastrointestinal distress. Data on the need for added B vitamins are limited, though some research suggests possible performance maintenance from B6 supplements. A multivitamin that includes B complex is not necessary for athletes maintaining adequate body weight and is only recommended for athletes that have a poor or restrictive diet. For post-exercise nutrition, the Warfighter Nutrition Guide recommends a snack of carbohydrates (50-60g) and protein (12-15g)—in the carb:protein ratio of roughly a 3:1 to 4:1 recommended in the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s position stand—within 45 minutes after exercise to help muscle repair, recovery, and growth. Based on these recommendations, G3 contains insufficient carbohydrates (14g) in ratio to protein (16g). Visit the Warfighter Nutrition Guide’s Chapter 5 for examples of optimal snack combinations.
Avoid overconsumption of sports drinks; if you are not exercising strenuously and depleting nutrients and water, these drinks can add excess calories (from sugar) and salt to your diet. Many of the nutrients lost during exercise can be replenished through a regular, well-balanced diet—a much less expensive option.
Summary for Military Relevance
Maintaining hydration is essential to performance optimization; losing just two percent of body weight through dehydration can lead to performance decrements. In training and combat zones where tremendous physical exertion may be combined with extreme environmental conditions, performance is likely to suffer if the Warfighter is not well hydrated and lacks essential electrolytes and nutrients. Sports drinks do provide a convenient way to maintain hydration and electrolyte delivery when resources are limited and performance needs to be sustained. However, well-balanced meals (including beverage consumption) should be the first choice to ensure hydration and general nutrition for the Warfighter.
* Bottom Line Up Front