If asked what drink they believe keeps the human body the most hydrated, most people would probably answer by saying “water.” After all, we’ve all been told for entire lives to “make sure you drink enough water,” right?
Sorry to rock your world today, but according to a study by Scotland’s St. Andrews University, water is the incorrect answer. And no, “sports drinks” would also be wrong.
In fact, water or sports drinks aren’t even the second-best beverage to keep the body hydrated. Or third. Or fourth. Or even fifth.
Don’t misunderstand, water and sports srinks are still very solid options for staying hydrated. They’re just not as great as most of us believe.
As it turns out, at least according to this recent study, drinks that contain a small amount of of sugar, fat or protein actually hydrate better than water and sports drinks.
CNN explains exactly why that is…
One factor is the volume of a given drink: The more you drink, the faster the drink empties from your stomach and gets absorbed into the bloodstream, where it can dilute the body’s fluids and hydrate you.
The other factor affecting how well a beverage hydrates relates to a drink’s nutrient composition. For example, milk was found to be even more hydrating than plain water because it contains the sugar lactose, some protein and some fat, all of which help to slow the emptying of fluid from the stomach and keep hydration happening over a longer period of time.
Milk also has sodium, which acts like a sponge and holds onto water in the body and results in less urine produced.
The same can be said for oral rehydration solutions that are used to treat diarrhea. Those contain small amounts of sugar, as well as sodium and potassium, which can also help promote water retention in the body.
Looks like Kurt Angle actually knew what he was talking about all those years. It’s true!
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Melissa Majumdar, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said about this news, “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.”
Here’s how 13 different drinks rank when it comes to providing the best hydration, according to St. Andrews’ School of Medicine professor Ronald Maughan and his team.
1. Skim milk
3. Full-fat milk
4. Orange juice
6. Diet soda
7. Cold tea
8. Hot tea
9. Sports drinks
10. Still water
11. Sparkling water
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