Imagine that you’re going about your daily business when you begin to pick up on some worrying indications from your body. It could be a dry mouth or a sense of disorientation, these signs usually indicate that you’ve become dehydrated. But while you might believe that a drink of water will fix the issue, a group of experts have suggested otherwise.
Over the course of a busy day, it can sometimes be too easy to put off certain necessary actions. For instance, if we find ourselves in the middle of an important job, we might ignore any feelings of hunger or thirst. Unsurprisingly, that will eventually leave us in an uncomfortable state until we address our body’s needs.
That’s can be particularly true when it comes to hydration, as we’re about to discover. The human body loses water in a number of different ways, so you have to keep drinking throughout the day to maintain a healthy supply of liquid. If you don’t, you then you will begin to feel the effects of dehydration.
When that happens, you’ll probably look to grab yourself some water to remedy the issue. After all, that would seem to be the logical course of action – a pretty easy quick fix. However, as we indicated earlier, a team of researchers claimed that another drink is better suited to warding off dehydration.
Regardless of the temperature outside, there are few things more refreshing than downing an ice-cold beverage, especially if you’re already thirsty. A warm drink can also hit the spot in those circumstances, and help to keep you hydrated. But as we noted before, neglecting your fluid intake could trigger some unfortunate effects.
The most obvious sign of dehydration is a rising thirst, which suggests that your body requires a liquid top-up. In addition to that, your mouth will feel begin to feel a lot drier as well. Furthermore, you might start to experience a few other issues due to dwindling hydration.
In fact, dehydration can cause problems like headaches, fatigue, feelings of dizziness and dry skin too, but that’s not all. If you’re unsure about your hydration levels, then a trip to the toilet could provide you with an answer as darker colored urine indicates that your body is in need of more fluids.
With that in mind, you might be wondering why the human body requires a certain amount of fluid intake during the day. To give you a clearer picture, the health information website, Healthline, provided an explanation. According to the site’s post, water plays a crucial role in the inner workings of our bodies.
The post read, “Every cell, tissue and organ in your body requires water to function. Water helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, transport nutrients, remove waste and circulate blood. That means your body can’t properly perform these functions if you’re dehydrated, which happens when you lose more fluid than you take in.”
“For example, you can become dehydrated from sweating, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea or taking diuretic medications that increase fluid loss,” the medical post added. “Certain populations are [also] more prone to dehydration than others. [These groups include] children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.”
However, while staying hydrated is incredibly important, not every drink out there will help you achieve it. In fact, there are certain fluids that can prove to be rather detrimental on that front. Keeping that in mind, here are a few examples that you should probably be aware of going forward.
On a hot day, you may feel the urge to crack open a cold can of soda to help quench your thirst. To begin with, these fizzy drinks can seem very refreshing, but they’re not aiding your body’s hydration. Instead, their contents can actually leave you dehydrated, as we’re about to find out.
Sodas and soft beverages are usually loaded with lots of sugar, as well as a helping of caffeine. These particular ingredients can cause the human body to lose hydration, meaning other drinks are just as likely to spark the same issue. So, for example, fruit juices also contain sugar.
When you down a sugary soft drink, the liquid normally stays in your stomach for a bit longer than water. After it leaves the vital organ, though, the issues start to arise. The fluid in question will make its way down to your small intestine, which means that it’s now “outside” the body.
Since the drink you’ve just taken contains sugars – whether processed or natural – the human body still needs to break them down. This activity is better known as osmosis. As a result of that, a certain amount of internal water will be sent into the small intestine to help, ultimately affecting your overall hydration.
Meanwhile, there are a few other drinks that can have a negative effect on your hydration levels. Alcoholic beverages certainly fall into that category, especially those with higher strengths. Bearing that in mind, it’s believed that servings of low-alcohol “light beer” may help you avoid dehydration on a night out.
However, if you want to persevere with the stronger alternatives, here’s some helpful advice that you can take on board. Taste of Home magazine broke down the percentages of certain alcoholic beverages, and how they can dehydrate our bodies. According to the publication, you should conscious of that if you’re drinking wine.
The article read, “Any alcoholic drink over ten percent alcohol strength is a dehydrator. This means [that] more of the liquid will leave your system than be absorbed. Most wines have around 12 percent, so they’re better than hard liquors (37 percent) but worse than beer (four to five percent).”
From there, the publication went on to flag up a drink that might be a little harder to keep track of. The article added, “Cocktails with hard liquors, like vodka and rum, can be deceiving, especially if the recipes also include soda or fruit juice. Keep yourself hydrated by always drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you have.”
Away from the clubs and bars, there’s two more high-profile drinks that can lead to hydration issues. As we pointed out earlier, the caffeine found in sodas has a detrimental effect on your body’s water level. That also extends to warm beverages such as tea and coffee, which both carry the substance.
At first glance, that might concern those who love their hot drinks as part of their regular routine. However, if you don’t go overboard with your coffee intake each day, you should be fine. It’s thought that around two cups of java won’t have a negative impact on your body.
Instead, the problems arise when you drink over three coffees a day, as that causes dehydration. And regarding tea, the cut-off point is said to be eight cups. But if you’re still worried about the effects of caffeine, you could implement some decaf options to your diet as an alternative.
While these drinks can have adverse effects on your body’s water levels, one beverage out there is seen as the ideal choice when battling the effects of dehydration. Of course, we’re talking about water. To explain more, the Healthline website outlined why so many people regard the plain fluid as the go-to option.
The post read, “While it likely comes as no surprise, drinking water is most often the best and cheapest way to stay hydrated and rehydrate. Unlike many other beverages, water contains no added sugars or calories. [This makes] it ideal to drink throughout the day or specifically when you need to rehydrate.”
Given the lack of additives, water might seem a bit dull for some people, so there are alternatives on the market. For example, certain energy drinks can help you rehydrate after a burst of exercise, much like a bottle of water would. Alongside that, the colorful beverages offer another intriguing benefit.
As explained in the Taste of Home article, “The electrolytes, a science-y word for salts, in sports drinks can make hydration more effective. Sports drinks also taste more flavorful than water. So they’re easier to drink quickly for those who force themselves to hydrate or who need quick hydration, like athletes.”
In addition to energy drinks, coconut water is a good option to explore as well. Unlike fruit juice, this beverage is over 90 percent water, and contains less sugar. It’s free from a lot of the additives that you’d find in those liquids too, making it a healthy alternative.
Regardless of those other choices, though, water has long been considered the best possible option to aid hydration. However, in December 2015, a group of experts put that to the test in an intriguing study. Eight researchers examined the available evidence to see if another fluid would be more beneficial.
The paper originated from Scotland, with the researchers working out of the University of St Andrews in Fife. And in the end, it was eventually published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. When they concluded their study, the group shared some fascinating results that may well leave you very surprised.
After conducting the research, the authors of the paper claimed that milk was the best drink to stave off dehydration. As we mentioned earlier, water doesn’t contain any fat or potentially harmful ingredients. Surprisingly, it’s for that reason that it wasn’t regarded as the very best option, as we’ll soon discover.
The study confirmed that water does indeed help your hydration levels, but the benefits wouldn’t be felt for long. That’s because the liquid is free from additives that would keep it in your system for an extended period. However, bearing that in mind, milk boasts the ideal combination of contents to stick around in the human body.
Milk is full of nutrients, such as fat, lactose sugar and protein. Due to its ingredients, it spends more time in your stomach than water, which in turn prevents you from suffering the effects of dehydration. Furthermore, sodium can be found in the beverage too, and that’s just as useful.
In fact, sodium is often compared to a “sponge” in that it helps your body retain internal water. By doing that, you don’t urinate as much after drinking a glass of milk. Yet while these results will no doubt surprise plenty of people, one individual revealed that they weren’t that shocked.
Dietitian Melissa Majumdar shared her thoughts about the paper during an interview with CNN in September 2019. She said, “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.”
Given all that positive information, you may well be thinking of incorporating more milk into your daily diet. However, another expert spoke up on the subject in September 2019. Stephanie Hnatiuk also plies her trade as a dietitian, and she had some important advice to share when discussing hydration.
“[Water is still the] recommended beverage of choice for keeping us hydrated throughout the day,” Hnatiuk told the Global News website. “We get other nutrients (like fats, sugars, proteins and electrolytes) from the foods we eat. So there’s generally no need to choose beverages specifically for their hydration abilities if we’re eating regular meals.”
Alongside Hnatiuk, Global News spoke with one more food expert to get their thoughts on the results. Her name was Ingrid Fan, and she echoed the aforementioned comments about the importance of water. With that being said, Fan also agreed with the study regarding the viability of milk as an alternative.
“That’s not to say we should all switch from drinking water to drinking milk,” Fan told the website. “But depending on one’s food intake, physical activity level as well as variety of foods in the diet, one can consider milk to be a source for hydration in addition to water intake.”
Meanwhile, Hnatiuk raised one more point during her interview. Looking at the findings, she claimed that only a certain type of person would feel the benefits of adding more sugar-based beverages to their diet. Due to that, the dietitian reiterated that you need to maintain your daily water consumption going forward.
Hnatiuk added, “We should absolutely still be limiting the added sugars we get from beverages. And while milk is a great, nutritious option for providing us with protein, vitamins and minerals, we don’t need to drink more milk throughout the day than water. These findings would be more suited to an athletic population who are participating in regular, prolonged bouts of exercise.”