Skimmed milk topped the list of 13 common beverages compared for their impact on hydration. The list included water, sports drinks and oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte.
Researchers at Scotland’s St. Andrews University say milk’s lactose, protein and fat slow emptying of the stomach, which extends the duration of hydration, according to an article published in CNN. Sodium in milk also holds onto water.
“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,” Melissa Majumbar, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who was not involved in the study, told CNN.
CNN reports the thirteen beverages, listed in order of hydration, were skimmed milk, oral rehydration solutions (like Pedialyte), full fat milk, orange juice, cola, diet cola, cold tea, tea, sports drinks, still water, sparkling water, lager and coffee. While coffee ranks lowest for hydration, adding milk to the coffee may counter some of coffee's diuretic effects.
Maughan says most people do not need to consider how hydrating their beverages are. However, athletes training in hot areas and workers unable to hydrate due to strenuous hours should pay special attention.
The body relies on hydration to fight infections, carry nutrients throughout the body and lubricate joints, CNN says.
Chocolate milk received special recognition recently for its role in helping high school athletes outperform peers who did not drink chocolate milk. Researchers in that study highlighted chocolate milk’s powerful carbohydrate:protein ratio compared to beverages such as sports drinks.
Now, it appears hydration should be added to the superpowers of nature’s most perfect beverage.