When thirsty and need a drink, which beverages keep you hydrated?

Sure, you can always grab a glass of water. Still, a study from Scotland’s St. Andrews University that evaluated the hydration responses of numerous different liquids found that ordinary H20 isn’t the most hydrating beverage available.

While still and sparkling water both perform an excellent job of instantly hydrating the body, the researchers discovered that beverages with a little bit of sugar, fat, or protein do an even better job of keeping us hydrated for longer.

According to research author and professor at St. Andrews School of Medicine Ronald Maughan, the cause is how our bodies react to beverages. One impact is the amount of a particular drink; the more you consume, the quicker it leaves your stomach and is absorbed into your bloodstream, which can hydrate and dilute bodily fluids.

The nutritional makeup of a beverage has an impact on how well it hydrates as well. Because milk contains sugar, lactose, some protein, and some fat, all of which help slow the emptying of liquids from the stomach and maintain hydration over a longer period, milk has been proven to be even more hydrating than plain water.

Additionally, sodium in milk acts as a sponge to hold onto water in the body, reducing the amount of urine produced.

The same is true for diarrhea treatments that involve oral rehydration solutions. Small levels of sugar, sodium, and potassium are all present in those and can all contribute to the body’s tendency to retain water.

“This study tells us much of what we already knew: Electrolytes — like sodium and potassium — contribute to better hydration, while calories in beverages result in slower gastric emptying and, therefore, slower release of urination,” said Melissa Majumdar, a registered dietitian, personal trainer, and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who was not involved in the study.

But this is where it gets complicated: Fruit juices and colas are beverages with concentrated sugars that may not be as hydrating as their lower-sugar siblings.

When these beverages enter the small intestine, a physiological process known as osmosis dilutes their high concentration of sugars, even though they may take a little longer to digest and empty than plain water. To dilute the sugars in these drinks, this process essentially “pulls” water out of the body and into the small intestine. Furthermore, anything inside your intestines is technically outside your body.

You desire to live longer. You might wish to avoid these beverages.
According to Majumdar, juice and soda are less hydrating and include extra sweets and calories that don’t keep us full as long as solid foods do. Always choose the latter when choosing between soda and water to stay hydrated. After all, water is essential for flushing toxins from our bodies through the kidneys and liver, and it also helps to keep our skin smooth and elastic. You won’t find a moisturizer cheaper than this one.

While it’s vital to be hydrated because it keeps our joints lubricated, fights infections, and delivers nutrients to our cells, most people don’t need to worry too much about how hydrating their beverages are.

According to Maughan, your body will tell you to drink more if you’re thirsty. However, hydration becomes a crucial concern for athletes who exercise hard in warm weather with substantial sweat losses or for someone whose cognitive function may be badly influenced by working long hours without beverage breaks.

Because alcohol has a diuretic effect and makes you pee more frequently, the volume of an alcoholic beverage will determine how well you stay hydrated. According to Maughan, beer would induce less water loss than whiskey since you drink more beer. Strong alcoholic beverages will cause dehydration; diluted alcoholic beverages won’t.

Depending on how much caffeine you consume, your coffee will adequately hydrate you. According to Maughan’s research, a standard coffee with about 80 milligrams of caffeine—roughly what you would find in 12 oz. of Folgers’ house blend—would be about as hydrating as water.

More than 300 mg of caffeine, or around 2-4 cups of coffee, may cause you to lose more water than you should since caffeine has a modest, transient diuretic impact. If you don’t regularly drink caffeine, you are more likely to experience this. You can counteract it by putting a tablespoon or two of milk in your cup of joe.