How Well Do Different Beverages Keep Us Hydrated?

Jun 23, 2021 | Ideas

Not All Beverages Were Created Equally 

Not all beverages are treated equally by the body. Understanding how common drinks hydrate our bodies is of great importance, especially for athletes. The longer an athlete can retain fluids, the more is absorbed into the bloodstream and used effectively. This translates into greater performance during training and competition. 

Study Comparing Hydration Potential of Beverages 

Although most factors affecting fluid retention had been studied previously, very little had been done to compare hydration of different drinks in a controlled setting. That was until a study conducted by a team of UK researchers decided to compare 13 commonly consumed drinks with the goal of creating measurable hydration indexes for each. The following drinks were used in the study:

  • Water
  • Sparkling water
  • Beer (lager)
  • Orange Juice
  • Coffee
  • Tea and cold tea
  • Skimmed and full fat milk
  • ORS (oral rehydration solution)
  • Sports drink
  • Cola and Diet cola

Participants drank one liter of a beverage and then had their urine output measured over 4 hours. The researchers then created a beverage hydration index (BHI) for each of the drinks. Still water was used as a reference point on the scale of “1”. For example, if a drink had a BHI of 1.4, that meant that 40% more of that fluid was retained after 2 hours than when drinking the same amount of water. 


The beverages with the highest BHI were ORS, milk, and orange juice respectively. These drinks contain a significant amount of calories and electrolytes that increase retention. A surprising finding was that coffee and beer had the lowest BHI, but did not lag too far behind water. Another interesting result was that the sports drink used in this experiment performed relatively similar to water. 


The data in this study reinforces the importance of understanding hydration and provides a tool to determine relative effectiveness of beverages. When it comes to retention, drinks high in calories, such as milk, and those high in sodium, such as ORS, are good options for athletes before and after exercise. 

To learn more about how RooSense is changing the way athletes measure and monitor their hydration, visit:




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