When you’re thirsty and need a drink, what are the best drinks to keep you hydrated?
Of course, you can always reach for a glass of water, but plain H20 is not the most hydrating drink. Scottish University of St Andrews study who compared the hydration response of several different drinks.
Researchers have found that while water—both still and carbonated—does a pretty good job of quickly hydrating the body, drinks with little sugar, fat, or protein are even better at keeping us hydrated for longer.
According to Ronald Moen, professor at St. Andrews Medical School and author of the study, the reason lies in how our body reacts to drinks. One factor is the volume of the drink you drink: the more you drink, the faster the drink is emptied from your stomach and absorbed into the bloodstream, where it can dilute body fluids and hydrate you.
Another factor that affects how well a drink hydrates has to do with the nutrient composition of the drink. For example, milk has been found to be even more hydrating than plain water because it contains the sugar lactose, some protein, and some fat, which help slow gastric emptying and keep you hydrated for a longer period.
Milk also contains sodium, which acts like a sponge and retains water in the body, resulting in less urine production.
The same can be said for oral rehydration solutions, which are used to treat diarrhea. They contain small amounts of sugar, as well as sodium and potassium, which can also contribute to water retention in the body.
Rating of the most moisturizing drinks
A research team from the University of St. Andrews tested 13 common drinks to find out how they affect hydration. Here’s what they found, ranking from the most hydrating over a four-hour period to the least.
“This study tells us a lot of what we already knew: electrolytes like sodium and potassium promote better hydration, while calories in drinks lead to slower gastric emptying and therefore slower urination.” said Melissa Majumdar, a registered dietitian. trainer and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who was not involved in the study.
But here’s where things get tricky: Drinks with more concentrated sugar, like fruit juices or colas, aren’t necessarily as hydrating as their lower-sugar counterparts. They may spend a little longer in the stomach and empty more slowly than plain water, but once these drinks enter the small intestine, their high concentration of sugars is dissolved in a physiological process called osmosis. This process actually “pulls” water out of the body into the small intestine to dilute the sugars in these drinks. And technically, everything that is inside the intestines is outside your body.
Majumdar explained that juices and sodas are not only less hydrating, but also contain additional sugars and calories that don’t fill us up as much as solid foods. If the choice is between baking soda and water for moisturizing, choose water every time. After all, our kidneys and liver depend on water to get rid of toxins in our body, and water also plays a key role in keeping skin supple and supple. This is the cheapest moisturizer you will find.
While staying hydrated is important—it lubricates our joints, helps prevent infections, and delivers nutrients to our cells—in most situations, people don’t have to worry too much about how hydrated their drinks are.
“If you’re thirsty, your body will tell you to drink more,” Mogan said. But for athletes who train seriously in warm, sweat-losing conditions, or whose cognitive function can be adversely affected by hours of work without drinking breaks, hydration becomes a critical issue.
Alcohol acts as a diuretic that makes you pass more urine, so when it comes to alcoholic drinks, hydration will depend on the total volume of the drink. “Beer will result in less water loss than whiskey because you swallow more liquid with beer,” Maughan said. “Strong alcoholic beverages dehydrate, diluted alcoholic beverages do not.”
When it comes to coffee, how well your drink hydrates you will depend on the amount of caffeine you consume. Regular coffee with about 80 milligrams of caffeine – about as much as you’ll find in 12 ounces of Folgers’ Homemade Blend – According to Moen’s research, it will hydrate almost as much as water.
Consuming more than 300mg of caffeine, or about 2-4 cups of coffee, can lead to fluid loss because caffeine causes a mild, short-term diuretic effect. This happens more often to those who do not normally consume caffeine, and this can be compensated by adding a tablespoon or two of milk to a cup of coffee.
This story was originally published in September 2019. She has been updated.
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