Gatorade is less helpful than water at making plants grow. The sugar causes a build-up of mold and thickens the soil to the point where the plants cannot grow very well.
The 200 milligrams of salt in Gatorade also inhibits plant growth by preventing the plant from absorbing water. Therefore, the plant must expend extra energy to obtain water, and cannot grow as well as a plant that easily obtains water. The other main ingredients in Gatorade, including electrolytes and citric acid, do not have a major effect on the growth of a plant. The water content in Gatorade is the only thing that assists a plant in growing.