Introduction: Gatorade Recipe

Picture of Gatorade Recipe

Sports drinks are awesome. They have electrolytes and sugar and quench that thirst. Gatorade's pioneered the field and is now everywhere, but why pay them a ton for what is just salty sugary water with artificial flavoring?

So stop dropping all that money on the glorified bottled water and make some on your own! You could end up paying up to 90% less.

While this isn't a perfect Gatorade recipe that will taste exactly like Gatorade since matching their artificial flavors is impossible, it will be just as effective.

Did I mention that this stuff has electrolytes? Oh, man, does it ever have electrolytes.

If you want to skip to the recipe, go here.

Step 1: Why to Do It

Buying a pre-made sports drink is practically the same thing as buying bottled water since a sports drink is mostly water with some sugar and a tiny bit of other stuff added.

Let's do a quick breakdown of why you shouldn't do this:
- You can get perfectly good water from the tap. The stuff you get in the store is just coming from someone else's tap anyway.
- If your tap water tastes bad, get a filter. It'll pay for itself, trust me.
- It takes a lot of gas to move all that heavy fluid around the country. More waste and more emissions.
- Even if you don't care about the wasting of fuel and the extra emissions, do you really want to pay for it?

By the way, you aren't drinking bottled water either, right? There's just no good reason for doing that unless you're too lazy to chill water by either putting it in the fridge or adding ice and that would just be sad.

Step 2: What's in a Sports Drink

Picture of What's in a Sports Drink

The basic breakdown of a sports drink is easy. In fact, Gatorade puts all the information you need on its nutrition label so let's look at that.

14g sugar
110mg sodium
30mg potassium

The 14 grams of sugar makes sure that the total make-up of the liquid is 6% carbohydrates. Gatorade claims that this is the optimal level to enhance the water being absorbed into your body.

To get the sodium and potassium, that's easy. Sodium comes from any salt (sodium chloride) you drop in water. As for the potassium, just look for a "lite" salt like Morton's Lite and you'll find it there.

For the flavoring, we're going to go the easy route here and simply use a Kool-Aid packet. It's cheap, comes in many flavors, and is the fastest route to getting a similar experience to commercial sports drinks. We're never going to be able to match the flavors of a commercial product, but it's close enough.

Step 3: Doing the Math

Picture of Doing the Math

Since we're using a Kool-Aid packet for the flavoring and one packet is meant for 2 quarts (64 oz.) of liquid we'll be making 2 quarts of sports drink. You could cut the dry ingredients in half for 1 quart batches, but if you're going as far as making your own sports drink you'll likely be able to put away 2 quarts pretty quickly. You will probably want to make a double batch or more in the future.

So let's go back to the original numbers from Gatorade and convert them to a 2 quart batch.

Thus:
14g sugar
110mg sodium
30mg potassium

becomes:
112g sugar
880mg sodium
240mg potassium

Since white sugar weighs about 190 grams per cup, we'll just use one heaping 1/2 cup of sugar and call it a day. If you're super picky, use a scale or add a heaping tablespoon to 1/2 cup of sugar.

Next is the sodium and potassium. If we add 1/4 teaspoon of the Morton Lite salt to 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt we get:
880mg sodium
350mg potassium.

This is 50% more potassium than Gatorade has, but, hey, more electrolytes! Also, this is for a 2 quart mixture so when we go back to the original serving size we get:
14g sugar
110mg sodium
44mg potassium

Since the recommended daily amount for an adult is 2,000mg of potassium a day this will work just fine.

Now, let's make some sports drink!

Step 4: Final Recipe

Picture of Final Recipe

OK, here's the recipe:

1 Kool-Aid packet
1/4 tsp Morton Lite salt
1/4 tsp sea salt
heaping 1/2 cup sugar
2 quarts water

Throw it all together and stir. Chill it and prepare to guzzle it down when you're sweating a ton from sports or working outside on a hot day.

Step 5: Cost Savings

Picture of Cost Savings

Now that you've seen the recipe, here's the cost breakdown:

Kool-Aid packet - 25 cents
Morton Lite salt - 1 cent
sea salt - 1 cent
sugar - 15 cents (based on 5 lb package)

Total for 2 quarts: 42 cents!

But remember that that is for 8 servings so that's about 5 cents per 8 oz. serving.

Gatorade has a few different bottle sizes, but one common one is the 32 oz. size that often retails for $1.99. We just made it ourselves for 21 cents.

Even compared to the Gatorade powder we still come out ahead. In my local grocery store I can get a plastic container with enough powder to make 32 servings for $4.99. If we want to make the powder on our own it would cost $1.68.



And for all of you who aren't losing those precious electrolytes through exercise, there's an even cheaper option: water. You don't need a sports drink to drive, walk around, or work on a computer all day. You also don't need all the sugar in these drinks either. So unless you really need that optimal 6% of carbohydrates that Gatorade insists improves your hydration, just fill up a glass of water and drink it up.

Step 6: More Recipes

From laceration

1 scoop = 31 grams, a bit more that an ounce.

3 scoops of MALTODEXTRIN
1 scoop of SUCROSE (table sugar)
1 scoop of WHEY PROTEIN POWDER (optional)
.75 teaspoon LITE SALT
1 package of KOOLAID, mango flavored

Use about 2 scoops of the final mix to a quart or liter or water bottle--they're all about the same amount.

Maltodextrin is a complex and easily digested sugar derived from corn. It is hard to find I usually buy bulk quantity from Ebay every year or 2.

Mango Kool-Aid is sold in stores that cater to Hispanics. For taste, they put some ascorbic acid(vitamin C) in it too, who knows? maybe that's good too.

There is a theory out there that some protein in the mix adds to to the bodies utilization of the drink. Studies have had mixed results. Available from Trader Joe's and other places. Be wary of substituting Soy protein. People like the idea of soy protein because it is not an animal product. That does not automatically mean its better for you, in fact, there is some evidence to the contrary.



from recyclist

3 cups maltodextrin
1 cup Dextrose
1/2 cup Whey Protein
1 tsp lite salt
1 pack Koolaid, any flavor.

Mix 1/2 cup of mix per 750ml water bottle.

The lite salt is a must to prevent cramping if endurance mountain biking. My mix matches up with Hammer Nutritions Sustained Energy. This stuff works Awsome. I used to use sugar too, but was getting a sugar crash off it. This stuff has no crash and if consumed 1 bottle per hour can keep me riding moderately hard for at least 7 hours.

Comments

dacker (author)2013-07-23

This is nearly identical to the sports drink I've been making for cycling. Personally, I skip the sea salt and use double the Morton Lite Salt.

I usually use a fruit juice as flavoring, plus it also adds a bit of fructose. Since it can easily be 100-degrees Fahrenheit on the road in summer, I only use juice for more moderate weather as I get concerned about spoilage. I've tried Kool-Aid but I'm afraid of staining my bike clothes and the white paint on my bike. I recently found lemon powder in a spice shop and it has been working great. It's more thirst-quenching than other options and is fabric- and paint-safe. One-eight teaspoon per quart/liter tastes great.

One trick I use is to mix a batch of the powders in a dry blender and turned to the highest speed. It pulverizes the sugar and salt into a much finer powder which dissolves easily in cold/cool water. I reserve this for taking with me in powder form on rides as you never know what will be the temperature of the water you find.

Cali Brat (author)dacker2016-05-25

Hi dacker~ I joined just so I could reply to your tip. I work at the hospital and have studied nutrition for the past 6 years. I have learned that the morton's salt is not the best. If you are using the salt in a drink as a "gatorade" alternative, I would recommend using a sea salt. If you live in the US, try the brand Real Salt. This salt is from Utah and has over 60 minerals; it is only mechanically processed, no chemicals. If you don't live in the US, try to find a sea salt from whichever continent you live. Our bodies can best assimilate the minerals from the "area" (continent) where we live. I know the Himalayan salts are very poplular; these are great if you live in the Himalayas. Unfortunately, Mortons lite does not contain the minerals which your body is craving after a good sweaty workout.

Good luck! hope that was helpful

ABBY_NORMAL (author)Cali Brat2016-09-18

Cali Brat, I joined just to let you know, you're wrong. Appeal to nature. There is nothing wrong with table salt, unless you over consume, then it will kill you, but so will any other salt.

Also, just an FYI, Himalayan sea salt has traces of radioactive substances such as: radium, uranium, and polonium. It's also has substances that act as poisons, such as thallium. So much for appeal to nature.

Cali Brat (author)ABBY_NORMAL2016-09-19

Normal Abby~ Thanks for your input. You enjoy your table salt. I will enjoy my balanced sea salt. I will continue to use my old Morton's for cleaning my stainless steal pots and pans when necessary.

I was just sharing information and trying to add to the other's (dacker's)comment. Sorry if you felt offended in any way! Have a great day. To each his own.

PatriciaY6 (author)dacker2016-05-18

People who are working out in hot climes for extended periods of time (8 hours or more) lose a lot more fluids & sodium than most sports drinks can replace without overloading them with sugar. Speaking of sugar, I think that most sports drinks use glucose rather than sucrose for faster absorption, but in the real world I'm not sure that matters a lot. A really good medical article by Bates and Miller from 2008 goes into detail, recommending drinks with less sugar, more sodium, and a meal break during such activity. "Sweat rate and sodium loss during work in the heat" can be found at

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC226779...

or search the title on PubMed.

justfluffyme (author)dacker2015-01-05

How much blended powder should I put in a bottle of water?

dacker (author)justfluffyme2015-01-05

For the recipe I use, I use 1/4-cup per 24 ounce bottle though I think the original recipe uses a 20-ounce bottle. I hate super-sweet drinks such a Gatorade and its ilk.

NuclearVampire (author)2016-07-21

Dude, maybe ease up on the judge-y judging attitude? Like thanks for the instructions, really helpful for me when I can't get to the store, but you have no idea why anyone's drinking the faux gatorade in the first place. Maybe they're rehydrating. Maybe they're like me and they dump salt like it's going out of style and need small doses of it regularly, cause the big doses just get dumped in one go. Maybe they just like it. But making people feel guilty for drinking salty sugar water is kind of unnecessary, and not really something that's needed. It kind of makes the whole article go from "Hey, cool! I was looking for this!" to "Uh. Okay then. I think I'll just go drink my salt water in peace."

Calizzi51 (author)NuclearVampire2016-09-14

I didn't think the article was "judgy" at all. I personally sweat like nobody's business and run at least 7 miles a day. I'm not going do pay upwards of 2-3 dollars every day for something composed almost entirely of ingredients you can buy at the store for 90% cheaper. This is a good article and you shouldn't criticize it.

NuclearVampire (author)Calizzi512016-09-14

"And for all of you who aren't losing those precious electrolytes through exercise, there's an even cheaper option: water. You don't need a sports drink to drive, walk around, or work on a computer all day. You also don't need all the sugar in these drinks either. So unless you really need that optimal 6% of carbohydrates that Gatorade insists improves your hydration, just fill up a glass of water and drink it up."

That's strictly copy+pasted from the instructions. I didn't criticize the information or directions; I criticized the last paragraph. I criticized the assumption that the only reason you would/should be drinking gatorade or homemade equivalents is because you're exercising. There are more reasons to drink it than just exercising. I drink it because I need a dependable way to routinely get salt into my body. Yes, even while I'm on the computer. Because my body dumps salt like crazy, and you kind of need a minimum of it in your body to function. I know other people with chronic illnesses who drink it when they can't stomach other foods. Also people with colds, dealing with dehydration and lack of appetite. And those are just the examples off the top of my head.

So once again, I'm not criticizing the main portion of the article. Thanks for writing it, op, it helped when I couldn't get more gatorade powder. But the last bit was unnecessary, and preach-y.

(And also, let's just remember, there are places where the tap water is really unsafe to drink ((Looking at you, Flint)), and gatorade and bottled water are some of the substitutes for this. Why we gotta shame people for that?)

Cyclochemist (author)2016-02-02

Did I miss something here??? Because salts contain cations and anions, one has to account for the mass of the anion. So, sodium chloride (NaCl) is only 58% sodium. In order to replicate the Gatorade sodium content, you need to use 275 mg NaCl per 8 oz, or 2,200 for 2 quarts. Same considerations for potassium chloride (KCl, 40% K+) is 52 mg for 8 oz or 416 for 2 quarts. Somebody check my math???

PatriciaY6 (author)Cyclochemist2016-05-18

Dear Cyto: I think you've assumed fungusamungus used different measurements. Using the amount of sodium per 1/4 teaspoon serving as described on the product label (not NaCl or KCl in milligrams, but the net amount of Na+ and K+ in that serving size), fungus has neatly skipped the anion/cation confusion by using the calculations provided by the Morton salt company -- which we hope is correct.

Min.TraceyE (author)2015-10-26

THANKS FOR THE RECIPE IDEA, I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING THE INTERNET FOR RECIPES TO REPLACE GATORADE SINCE I FOUND OUT THAT SOME AMERICAN FOOD COMPANIES ARE USING ABORTED BABIES AS FOOD & BEVERAGE FLAVOR ENHANCERS/NATURAL FLAVORING..

BUT THIS RECIPE HAS A LOT OF SUGAR AND THE DYES IN THE KOOLADE ARE NOT GOOD FOR HUMANS, ESPECIALLY SMALL KIDS.. I GUESS I WILL HAVE TO STICK WITH COCONUT WATER UNTIL SOMETHING BETTER IS FOUND...

KatieC47 (author)Min.TraceyE2016-02-03

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinions. I joined instructables just so I could instruct you that there is no way the FDA would allow anyone to put aborted fetuses in anything except a bio bag. That's assuming that any company, anywhere, would want to use aborted fetuses as an ingredient in anything. Please educate yourself before you make your next "all caps" post. Typing in all caps is like yelling at people online.

dougb61 (author)2015-02-03

Kool-Aid? Really? Why put a packet full of chemicals in your body? There are a lot of better recipes all over the Internet with natural ingredients.

lazychris2000 (author)dougb612015-05-31

Gotta watch out for the hydrogen hydroxide and hydroxilic acid in a lot of those "natural ingredients" ಠ_ಠ

MelissaS8 (author)2015-02-26

I have found a great site for Gatorade if you dont want to make it. www.HydrationDepot.com super cheap at $1.25 per gallon.. almost what is cost to make :-)

justfluffyme (author)2015-01-05

I really like the idea of putting the dry ingredients in the blender to make an easy to mix powder. Any suggestion on how much powder to add to a bottled water (single serving)?

fizzzbang (author)2014-11-01

For those complaining about the sugar I read that a doctor found, or research, that it helped with the absorption of the salt in the intestine. Ok, so perhaps that's not the exact description but search for DIY dehydration solution or the like and you'll see that they use this combo used in Africa vs the stuff you can get at a pharmacy that is basically the same thing. (1000s of kids a day) From what I read the sugar help enormously with the absorption and lets one absorb 10x or more sodium or something crazy like that. So I'm sure Gatoriade (not sure any real athlete used that - runners anyway - I used to use Cytomax) has some more magic in it but the sugar helps with dehydration via the increase in absorption.

dudes (author)2014-04-01

did you have to swear in the picture? really? come on it was uncalled for.

aazrhael (author)2012-11-27

can i use tang instead ?

Kshitij0211 (author)aazrhael2014-03-23

Yes! You sure can. I couldn't find Kool-Aid anywhere. I used orange tang and it was great. Make sure you add loads of tang else, it tastes like sweet water with a slightly orangy taste. :D

Dyer13 (author)2013-09-05

Maltodextrin is not that hard to find. Any homebrew beer and wine store worth its salt will have this sugar for relatively cheap. If you can't find it at your local store, or if you don't have a homebrew store nearby, buy it from any online homebrew store.

Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies are two good ones.

cheers!

mrmike_490 (author)2013-01-26

I have been making this multiple years as I'm an avid indoor/outdoor cyclist. I cut down on the sugar or use Splenda (just my preference). I take one bottle on a cycling trip as well as I put the mix in baggies where I can make more on the road; works just fine for me and I'm getting the hydration plus electrolytes needed! Great idea plus very inexpensive! Thankx

ked1997 (author)2012-07-06

What about the current prices...

cleage001 (author)2011-12-22

Let's say in my country "there bo be" Morton salt nor Kool-Aid. Can I change the recipe to 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 quarts water and some random instant juice? Please someone let me know.

dreamberry (author)cleage0012012-06-11

That sounds like it would work just fine.

leahben (author)2012-04-04

this is great! not only economical but a great project for my middle school boys who consume gallons of this stuff. and real life math. i can hear them now..."REALLY mom"!!!!

kid cudi (author)2010-07-25

what is kool aid

shantinath1000 (author)kid cudi2010-07-25

Kool Aid is a flavored drink powder. It is sold as a drink for children.

kid cudi (author)shantinath10002010-07-26

can you only get it in the us because i live in ireland

shantinath1000 (author)kid cudi2010-07-26

I don't know- I would think that there might be a local substitute you could use. It is basically a small packet of powder flavoring with a sweetener premixed. It is available in both regular sugar and artificial sweetener. A syrup for making a squash might work well. Cheers!

T-K (author)shantinath10002011-12-13

it's called powdered cordial mix :L

schuie (author)shantinath10002011-07-04

I didn't think the standard Kool-Aid packets had any kind of sweetener in them, hence the sugar. Then again, I haven't bought Kool-Aid in a loooong time.

fruit juice would be healthier to use.

eragonn14 (author)kid cudi2011-01-21

I think that all "drink in powder" should work

OOHHHHH YEEEAAAAAHHHH!!!!!

Surge7 (author)shantinath10002010-10-04

Adults drink Kool Aid too :p

dragonsniper (author)kid cudi2010-07-25

Wow!!!!

kclausen (author)2011-11-02

Not sure if anyone in here makes their own energy drinks or want to but I get all my supplies and product from PureBulk.com. Just thought I would share some valuable information! http://purebulk.com

ttiisel (author)2011-11-01

Were i live is no kool aid can i use something else?
I really like the recipe :)

fungus amungus (author)ttiisel2011-11-01

The kool-aid is just for the flavor. If you can find some other way of adding flavor, then you should be OK.

ttiisel (author)fungus amungus2011-11-02

Ok ill go to store now and see what i can find
Again,nice recipe :)

sunshiine (author)2011-11-01

I don't usually like Gatorade but this may change using this recipe. Thanks again.

sunshiine (author)2011-11-01

This is totally awesome! Thanks for sharing!

clibanarius (author)2011-10-04

Well, this was my day 4 project for my 30 days of instructables personal challenge. Although there were lots of informative comments here, for this pilot run I decided to stick with fungus amungus's original formula. First Koolaid purchase in 40 years, I'd guess; I had no idea lemon-lime koolaid was such a fluorescent green. Well, it's chillin' in the fridge; we'll give it a try in the morning!

romanreb (author)2010-05-16

It's so funny how many people write in to whine and have no intention of accepting help...No koolade in my country.  WHY don't they have koolade in my country?  But I'm not desperate enough to let YOU send me any!  LOL
Let's all just say "thank you" for the recipe and then write in with any helpful adaptations we've come up with.  Show a little resourcefulness.
I'm very excited to find this recipe and a little mad at myself for not having thought of it.  I'm going to use the juice of two lemons instead of the koolade because I find that drinking lemon water regularly makes me feel good.  Don't know why.  Someone told me to do that once, and I did, and it worked, but I wish I'd been paying more attention initially.

red-king (author)romanreb2010-07-24

yep. lemon juice has some sort of special property that makes it quench a persons thirst more than regular water... i don't remember what causes that, though. I'll have to look it up.

bgibson72 (author)red-king2011-07-04

Lemon water, especially hot lemon water, kickstarts your digestive system. It's a main ingredient in the 17-day diet.

HisDivineShadow (author)2010-12-18

one thing.... That is an ASSLOAD of sodium....

About This Instructable

512,675views

577favorites

License:

Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.
More by fungus amungus:3D Printed US Population MapLight Painting With an IPhoneSuper Bright RGB LED Bike Wheels
Add instructable to: