James Robert Cade, a nephrologist who mixed water, sugar, salt and cunning dashes of whatever to invent Gatorade, died on Tuesday in Florida. He was 80.
The sports and energy drink industry began with a question asked in 1965 by Dwayne Douglas, a football coach at the University of Florida: Why didn’t his players urinate after a game?
Part of the answer came quickly: Football players lost so much fluid in sweat that they had none left to form urine. It took longer to explain how the loss of fluid and electrolytes affected blood pressure, body temperature and the volume of blood.
Cade and his researchers then concocted a drink to rehydrate athletes and to replenish carbohydrates, in the form of the sugars sucrose and glucose, and electrolytes (sodium and potassium salts). There was one problem.
“It didn’t taste like Gatorade,” Cade said in an interview with Florida Trend in 1988. In fact, a football player who tried it and spat it out more than hinted that it tasted like bodily waste.
Cade’s wife, Mary, suggested adding lemon juice, which helped a lot. Jim Free, a research fellow, came up with the name Gatorade.
J. Robert Cade was born in San Antonio on 26 September 1927. He graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and joined the University of Florida as an assistant professor in the medical college’s renal division in 1961.
At his death, he was a professor emeritus of nephrology.
Cade is survived by his wife, two sons, four daughters, 20 grandchildren and eight greatgrandchildren.
© 2007/THE NEW YORK TIMES