Pocari Sweat - Gastro Obscura


Pocari Sweat

A pharmaceutical company developed this beverage as drinkable IV solution.

Not many pharmaceutical companies have their own line of sports drinks. But in 1980, Japanese company Otsuka Pharmaceutical began selling a beverage inspired by the hydrating power of IV solution. They named the concoction Pocari Sweat. “Pocari” was merely chosen for the word’s cute, peppy sound (it means nothing) and “sweat” for its purpose of replenishing the water and electrolytes lost to perspiration. Ingredients include water, sugar, citric acid, flavoring, and five salt compounds. Tasters describe the caffeine-free, carbonation-free, preservative-free sports drink as having a mild grapefruit flavor. Upon reaching English-speaking markets, however, Pocari Sweat met with some raised eyebrows because of its perspiration-related name. 

The company’s marketing department advertises Pocari Sweat as an isotonic, which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means “containing essential salts and minerals in the same concentration as in the body and intended to replace those lost as a result of sweating during vigorous exercise.” Suddenly, drinking a bottle of fluid inspired by IV solution and named after sweat sounds kind of practical after all.

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