Friday, June 24, 2011

Annoyed by Gatorade's Infomercial on SYTYCD

Excuse the interruption, but was anyone else completely annoyed by Gatorade’s infomercial on last night’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance?

If you don’t watch SYTYCD, or you missed last night’s episode, Heidi Skolnik, a nutritionist from Gatorade stopped by the dancers’ apartments and swept through their kitchens like a tornado, passing judgment on their food choices with a patronizing attitude.

To the boys: “one sleeve of snack crackers has about 570 calories,” and to the girls: “did you know when you eat a sleeve of these snack crackers you can could have actually had two ice cream sundaes?” “Who is claiming this?” she says holding a box of ice cream and all the girls point towards the offending owner (can’t really tell if that is Melanie or Sasha). “Pizza with meatballs?” she questions the boys.

Heidi is representing Gatorade, so she presents the line of Gatorade G-series fit thirst quencher drinks, protein shakes and energy bite bars for before, during and after training or performing. The dancers rush to claim the Gatorade swag. The cameras capturing their approval after sampling the thirst quencher and energy bite bars.

The package ends with the contestants throwing away the condemned food. The girls gathered around the garbage bin and Ashley sadly remarking, “I need a hug.”

I wasn’t annoyed by the product placement (although hopefully it won’t escalate to the point where the choreographers incorporate Gatorade-drinking and energy-bite eating into the routines) or the G Series Fit lecture (hydration, electrolyte replacement and carb loading; all very important for athletes) and gift bag (hey – they are sponsors of the show).

I was annoyed by Heidi’s disapproving no-bad-foods-for-you, all-or-nothing attitude; planting the seeds of diet mentality paranoia to the dancers surely training (burning off the 570 calorie snack crackers and a meatball pizza in no time) and / or performing most of the day.

What happens when you are told you can’t eat something? You want the forbidden food even more. I felt as if I was watching the girls taking their first steps towards an eating disorder.

This hit close to home for me, since I have anxiety associated with “bad” food and dieting and the roots of an eating disorder began when I was an elite athlete in competitive synchronized swimming.

I can only hope that the finger-wagging from Cat, the junk food inquisition along with a teary farewell around the garbage bin was put on for dramatic effect. That, in reality, Heidi emphasized the importance of choosing healthy foods as much as possible, offer healthy options for those with a taste for junk and remind them that they can have a bowl of ice cream if they really want it.

And for good measure, perhaps next year Gatorade can throw in a sports psychologist too.


  1. THANK YOU! I just searched 'SYTYCD Gatorade eating disorders' hoping to find that others were as outraged as me. I was shocked - dancers are at a high risk for developing eating disorders as it is - just imagine all of the young dancers (and all the non-dancers too) who watch the show. Hey, if a 'nutrionist'says that there are 'bad' foods for the top dancers then it must be true. I was so mad, and still am. I have been struggling with an eating disorder for years andone of the first things I was told in treatment that there are no 'good' and 'bad' foods.. I can't be quiet I need to write to gatorade, Fox, and the National Eating disorder Association (NEDA). Neda recently was able to get Yoplait to remove a triggering ad...I hope they will get involved, if they haven't already

  2. Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment. I was totally pissed too. In addition, those dancers now have the pressure of hollywood bearing down on them too. I'm glad that you have gotten help for your eating disorder, it's a long road to recovery that I'm still on too. I'm back from my vacations, so I'll also send my thoughts to Gatorade, Fox and NEDA. Which Yoplait ad was yanked? I'm Canadian, so I may not have seen it myself.


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