Gatorade is marketed by PepsiCo Inc. as the better alternative for athletes and others to replenish lost fluids.
The popular sports drink, developed in 1965 by researchers at the University of Florida to replenish the water, electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during rigorous physical activity, is now under fire because of one of the ingredients used in some of its fruit-flavored drinks - brominated vegetable oil.
A petition on Change.org says the oil has been patented as a flame retardant and has been banned in Japan and the European Union.
Stacey Cubit, a parent in Stuart, says her 3-year-old daughter prefers to drink water, but sometimes she'll let her little girl have a sip of a sports drink after outdoor activities.
"This is definitely something I would have thought nothing about giving to her," said Cubit.
But Cubit read the label and reconsidered.
"I had never heard of this ingredient," said Cubit. "Bro, brominated vegetable oil?"
Peggy Ranger, a licensed nutritionist and owner of "Peggy's Natural Foods" in Stuart, said chemicals denature products, and humans are meant to eat natural foods.
"What is that doing to our children? It's scary," said Ranger. "If you can't pronounce it, you don't understand it, you don't have a clue what it is, you probably shouldn't consume it."
Brominated vegetable oil is used as an "emulsifier" in Gatorade to distribute flavoring.
For Cubit, she said the choice is clear-- when it comes to your children's health, play it safe.
"I definitely wouldn't be giving this to my child, that's for sure," Cubit said. "I would have never dreamed that Gatorade had a substance in it that was banned in other countries."
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