Which Drink Hydrates Best? Researchers Find It's Not Water

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.24 - 2024 6:22 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Water is often seen as the ultimate thirst quencher, but research from Scotland's University of St. Andrews suggests that other beverages might hydrate better.

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Water has long been considered the ultimate thirst quencher, but research from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland suggests that some drinks may hydrate better, providing a more effective remedy for thirst.

This discovery challenges the traditional notion that water is the best option for hydration and offers a fresh perspective on how various beverages affect our body's ability to stay hydrated.

Surprising Results

Researchers at St. Andrews conducted a study to determine which drinks are best at quenching thirst. They tested a wide range of beverages, from the usual suspects like coffee, tea, juice, and water to less conventional options like skimmed milk and isotonic drinks.

Surprisingly, water didn't top the list.

The Ultimate Thirst Quenchers

The study found that skimmed milk was the most effective beverage for quenching thirst, followed by drinks with glucose and electrolytes, plain milk, and orange juice.

Here's the complete list of the best drinks for hydration, ranked in order of effectiveness:

  • Skimmed milk

  • Fluids with glucose and electrolytes

  • Plain milk

  • Orange juice

  • Cola

  • Tea

  • Isotonic drinks

  • Water

  • Carbonated water

  • Beer

  • Coffee

The top ranking of skimmed milk caught many by surprise. Researchers explained that its hydration powers are due to the presence of moderate amounts of protein, fat, and sugar, which help the body absorb and retain moisture more effectively.

Why Water Falls Short

Water ranks lower on the list because it lacks the additional nutrients found in other beverages. When you drink large amounts of water fast, your body tends to expel it just as quickly, resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom. This rapid disposal means that water doesn't stay in the body as long as beverages containing other nutrients.

Skimmed milk, on the other hand, contains enough nutrients to help the body absorb and use them efficiently. Even when some of the liquid is excreted, the body has time to extract the essential components, allowing for longer-lasting hydration and more effective thirst quenching.

The study's results suggest that while water remains a healthy and widely available option, skimmed milk and other nutrient-rich beverages might offer a superior solution for hydration, especially in situations where staying hydrated is critical.

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