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The Powerade Dilemma

Jon has been drinking Powerade for years during and/or after his hockey games. I had verified its gluten-free status years ago & still check the label, but nothing on the ingredient list has ever raised a red flag to me. Last weekend, Jon played 5 hockey games & refereed 1 game from Friday night until Sunday evening. He had mentioned on Saturday during the day that he wasn’t feeling well, but to be honest, I didn’t think too much of it. His continued to feel poorly through the weekend & then into the week. I thought back to what he had been eating & drinking & the Powerade is what stuck out in my head. I got online to investigate further.

What I discovered was a lot of confusion over the topic of whether or not Powerade is gluten-free. I kept seeing that the “Mountain Blast” and “Grape” flavors were gluten-free, but that was it for the normal Powerade. I received messages from others who got sick drinking Powerade. I had checked Coca-Cola’s website, but it wasn’t very user friendly. So, I emailed Coca-Cola & this is the response that I received:

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company, Ms. Bouldin. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.

We are able to confirm that Coca-Cola classic, caffeine free Coca-Cola classic, Coca-Cola Zero, Barq’s root beer, caffeine free Barq’s root beer, diet Barq’s root beer, diet Barq’s Red Creme Soda, Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Lime, Diet Coke Plus, caffeine free Diet Coke, Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Vanilla Coke, Vanilla Coke Zero, cherry Coke, Diet Cherry Coke, Cherry Coke zero, Fresca, Fanta Grape, Fanta Orange, Fanta Orange Zero, DASANI, DASANI Lemon, DASANI Plus Refresh + Revive, DASANI Plus Cleanse + Restore, DASANI essence, FUZE (all flavors), NOS Energy Drinks, Rehab, Minute Maid Lemonade, Minute Maid Light Lemonade, Minute Maid Kids + Apple, Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry Juice, Minute Maid Pomegranate Lemonade, Minute Maid Pomegranate Flavored Tea, Minute Maid Multi-Vitamin Orange Juice, Minute Maid Kiwi-Strawberry Energy, Minute Maid Juice Bars (Orange, Cherry, and Grape), Nestea Red Tea, Nestea Sweetened Lemon Tea, Diet Nestea Lemon, Nestea Citrus Green Tea, Diet Nestea Citrus Green Tea , Nestea Lemon Sweet, Gold Peak Lemon Iced Tea, Caribou Iced Coffee, Enviga Sparkling Green Tea, Enviga Berry Sparkling Green Tea, Simply Apple, Simply Grapefruit, Simply Orange Juice Country Stand Medium Pulp with Calcium, Simply Lemonade, Simply Limeade, Simply Orange with Mango, Simply Orange with Pineapple, Simply Lemonade with Raspberry, POWERADE Mountain Blast, POWERADE Grape, POWERADE ION4, VIO Vibrancy Drinks, and our 100% juice products (without added ingredients) are gluten free.

Additionally, we can tell you that all of our other brands meet Codex’s definition of gluten free which means the level does not exceed 20 mg/kg in total. Codex is in the process of reviewing this standard and we are monitoring the progress closely. At this time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have a regulatory definition of gluten-free.

We can assure you that the exact amount of gluten in all these other products is very low – perhaps even zero. Some minor ingredients in these products are manufactured from plants that gluten-sensitive people could react to, so we are unable to state categorically that they are totally gluten-free even though they may have undetectable levels of gluten in them. The Codex guideline provides a very low threshold for gluten content. However, extremely gluten-sensitive individuals should discuss consumption of these products with their health care provider.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

Gisele
Industry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

If you notice the varieties that I bolded above, you will see that none of the Powerade Zero flavors or other flavors of the normal Powerade, other than the Mountain Blast or Grape, are mentioned. AHA!! I think that I may have found our problem, or at least part of it.

To eliminate confusion in our house & life, we will most likely stick with Gatorade or Clif Quench.

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