What drinks are actually best for hydration?

Which drinks are best for hydration?

When hydrating in the gym, many athletes turn to water or sports drinks, but are those the only hydration options open to you? It turns out, some other drinks can do an excellent job, too, according to studies. 

1. Tea, coffee and other caffeinated beverages

We all love a good cuppa or need our coffee fix every morning. Caffeine, though, is a diuretic. Does that mean that caffeinated beverages can’t give us a bit of hydration? It turns out, both tea and coffee can hydrate you as well as water, but only if you drink them in moderation. Once you go over about three “regular” cups per day, you start tipping over into a grey area where researchers believe you begin to lose a bit of their hydrating powers.

2. Milk

Okay, we know what you’re thinking. Milk? For hydration? Dense, and with a particular flavour that some prefer not to consume at all unless it’s in their morning cereal, milk is not what your mind goes to when you’re in the gym. However, it turns out that milk is better at hydrating you than water because your body retains milk for longer than it keeps water. The heaviness and high caloric content, though, make milk less than ideal for fueling your next workout.

3. Sports drinks

Sports drinks have about the same hydration effect as milk. Your body can retain sports drinks for longer than water. However, you have to take into consideration things like calories, added sugar and an array of ingredients that you might not want to put in your body. If those things don’t worry you, guzzle away. 

4. Alcohol

After a long run or a day of working in the sun, nothing sounds quite as lovely as frosty beer to quench your thirst. You probably already know the verdict on alcohol, though — beer, wine and liquor are terrible for hydration. Beer is best out of all three and wine is slightly worse than beer, but straight alcohol is particularly bad — with about half the hydration potential as plain water. 

The verdict? Drinks like milk can have surprising benefits when it comes to hydration, but they might not be the most comfortable to consume when you’re hot and sweaty. However, if you want to give milk a try after your next workout, you certainly won’t be doing yourself any harm. If, though, you want something light and want to get peak hydration without sacrificing calories, it’s best to keep reaching for the usual favourites — water and no-calorie sports drinks. 

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