How well do fluids besides water actually hydrate you?

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Let’s take for example sugar free Gatorade, or pedialyte. That in itself, is it effective at hydrating you?

In: 122

Any moderately clear, drinkable liquid is probably 90-95% water anyway, with the exception of high ABV spirits, but those don’t hydrate you well.

So it’s not that “Gatorade hydrates” it’s “water hydrates and Gatorade is mostly water”

They don’t. They either do the opposite, poison you, or both. What makes water and water based drinks more effective at hydrating is the presence of electrolytes, which facilitate the uptake of the water into the body.

The drinks you mentioned contain electrolytes, salts and sugars and are ment to replace those that you sweat out or loose to sickness (diarrhea / vomiting)
In the case of sugar free drinks they’re just replacing real sugar with artificial sweeteners.

Gatorade and similar drinks are you only meant for hardcore training where you sweat a lot and loosing salts and sugars.
The average person really doesn’t need to drink Gatorade after their workouts. Water is enough.

Those products contain vital salts which your body sweats out during exercise or vomits out during illness. The fluid itself won’t enter your cells as quickly as pure water, but maintaining homeostasis under duress is about more than that. If you just drink pure water during extreme exertion or illness, you could start having neurological problems as your nerves become unable to communicate, cellular processes which require salts could shut down, and you could even die. Which is what sports drinks and therapeutic hydration solutions like pedialyte are intended to prevent.

Most people won’t have this problem though. Unless you’re a professional athlete practicing in hot weather, doing hard labor under the sun for some reason, or have been vomiting everything up for over a day, none of these things are medically necessary.

They’re almost entirely water so they hydrate you just fine. They also have electrolytes, which are important to replenish if you’re losing a lot of water either through sweating or diarrhea. Drinking too much water without getting any electrolytes can be fatal, although this is very rare. The average person generally doesn’t need Gatorade or any special hydration liquids – water is just fine.

Very VERY poorly. Unless they’re mostly water.

Gatorade and pedialyte are mostly water. They’re great at hydrating you. Practically just as good as water, even though they both have a bit of salt. It’s not much because you don’t need much.

Now some things have a lot of water and DO dehydrate you: Salt water. Caffeine. Cocacola, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks will help keep you alive if you’re badly dehydrated, but actual water is far better.

A lot of people who don’t know science in this thread.

Your small intestine absorbs pure water very poorly. Water is mostly absorbed via a sodium/glucose/water symporter. That means that a drink with a proper balance of sugar, salt, and water offers the quickest form of hydration. One can find this mix in “oral rehydration salts” that are given to cholera patients. Another oral rehydration solution is Pedialyte, and it is very good at rehydration. Gatorade, as it turns out, has way too much sugar and too little salt to provide optimal hydration. If you mix it with water in about a 50/50 ratio, however, it comes close. It’s even closer if you mix up a quart and then sprinkle a tiny tiny pinch of table salt into the mix. This will rehydrate you faster than water or Gatorade alone.

All that being said, if you’ve eaten a big meal, you have enough sodium and sugar in your digestive system, so your digestion will best be aided by pure water. In this case, it’s needed, not just for absorption, but for hydrolysis of proteins and carbohydrates into amino acids and sugars so they can be properly absorbed.

For the vast majority of people, tap water is all they need for hydration. In fact, it’s best because the majority of people who live in areas like North America already eat too much salt in their diet which leads to health problems. In fact, to expel salt from the body, we must expend H2O, meaning that drinking salty water can actually DEhydrate you!

(Note I’m talking in generalities here… If someone is a high performance athlete, with a support team of professional working with them to extract every ounce of athletic output possible, then they’re going to do things differently. Same goes if one has specific medical conditions.)

As for how well other things work to hydrate a person. They’re fine. For the most part the average person can extract all the hydration they need from any commonly consumed liquid. That even includes things like coffee or tea that are normally thought of a direutic (makes you pee). Your body can still extract enough water from those beverages for you to get by. It’s the other stuff in them that’s the problem. Primarily, all the sugars or calories that makes them so tasty.

TLDR: Just drink water from the tap. Save your money.

All of those drinks are like 90% water. If you drink straight olive oil, it will not hydrate you

I’m lead to believe that If it’s green, edible when washed, not too sugary or salty or sour. It’s juice will probably hydrate you because of fibers.

Coconut Water with NO ADDED SUGAR OR PRESERVATIVES is a Great Hydrator as it includes sugar/salt/water.

Can anyone speak for the cycling supplement Hammer Nutrition? I work long hot days as an arborist and have been using their HEED(High electrolyte energy drink ? ) during the summer months. It seems to work but never knew about the secret ratio . Very informative thread thanks !

It depends on how you are trying to rebalance your fluid levels. Your cells will take in more fluids if that fluid has a certain concentration of sugar (glucose) over salt. Your cells will take up the sugar with the help of insulin, then the fluid around those cells gets drawn into them because the glucose pulls it in. Cells don’t take up salt though. Salt pulls water too, so it will keep the fluid from entering the cells. It can actually pull water out of cells.

Too much sugar can cause the cells to become over hydrated and balloon out, which also isn’t good. For example, if you ever get a headache from having to much sugar (or fasting) and drinking lots of water, your brain cells may have taken up too much glucose and are too full of fluids, creating pressure. Something salty, or a bit of salty water will help it go away.

So it’s all about the proper balance. Drinking too much sugar can also spike your blood sugar and cause a crash in energy after. So in my opinion, it would be best to calculate how much sugar would bring your glucose levels up to the optimum levels, which would also depend on your workout or activities. Then either eat the right amount of salt recommended daily in your diet (which would also depend on your activity), or add enough in your drinks to make up for what you aren’t getting in your food.

Other aspect: drinks besides water are usually at least 90% water. Alcoholic drinks are the only big exception there, and only straight liquor.