One thing to remember about Gatorade is that it was the absolute first rehydration liquid on the market, waaay before Pedialyte. I remember being a kid in the early 70’s and being forced to drink Gatorade when I had the flu (added bonus that it was a home town product, I’m from Gainesville, FL). And back in those days, they only had that horrible green flavor; to this day, I can’t drink that flavor without feeling nauseous.
Is Gatorade a sham? Only in the sense that it’s not a miracle drink that will magically improve your sports performance. It’s just a good electrolyte relacement drink that will only benefit you if you happen to be working out strenuously in hot weather. (There’s a reason it was invented for football players in Gainesville, FL. Summer days are usually in the upper 90’s and the humidity is almost always in the 90% range)