Sugary beverages dehydrate you? That’s right, according to science
If you believe that drinking sugary beverages would keep you hydrated, think again. Although not in the way you may expect, sugar and moisture are related.
With refreshing, hydrating summer drinks, almost every culture in the world celebrates summer. In India, we have a variety of options, including shikanji, chaas, aam panna, lassi, sol kadi, pannakam, mattha, and more. It’s vital to remember that each of these beverages balances some kind of liquid (water, curd, or fruit pulp) with trace amounts of sugars (jaggery, brown sugar, cane sugar), spices (too numerous to mention! ), and salts (black salt, pink salt, sea salt, table salt).
In other words, each of these beverages helps the body maintain a proper fluid balance. After all, being hydrated involves more than just guzzling copious amounts of water; it also involves replenishing the electrolytes our bodies lose as a result of perspiration and urination.
Now let’s compare these traditional beverages to what the majority of us often consume: carbonated beverages, sweet drinks, concentrated fruit juices, flavoured milk beverages, etc. Ice cream should also be acknowledged as it is summer. The issue is that each of these beverages—as well as ice cream—is laden with sugar. Even if you purchase fruit juices that are labelled as having “no added sugar,” you will still consume 20–26g of sugar every 240ml of juice. For comparison, that is the same amount of sugar that is in a can of soda.
Aside from causing diabetes and weight issues, a lot of sugar interferes with hydration. You see, the system that works so hard to control your blood sugar includes your kidneys. The kidneys play their part by excreting extra sugar in the urine, which also loses important electrolytes and water.
Osmosis is another mechanism through which sugar causes you to get dehydrated. Osmosis is the process by which solvent molecules prefer to move through a semipermeable barrier from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one. Remember this from middle school science? In order to diluted the levels of whatever is dissolved in it, water flows toward concentrated solutions. Now consider what transpires within your body as your blood sugar levels increase. In an effort to lower your blood sugar levels, the water in your cells diffuses through cell membranes and into your bloodstream.
The brain receives signals from cells that are losing water that more water is needed. The need to drink is then set off by the brain. What transpires if the beverage you’re consuming is particularly sweet? If you don’t break the loop of elevated blood sugar and dehydration, you’re actually making things worse. Therefore, the next time you choose a “hydrating drink,” check the label for sugar. Check for caffeine, another well-known diuretic, if you’re going to grab a sports drink.
What can you drink then? Taking our cue from traditional summer drinks, what the body needs is something that reliably replaces both fluids and electrolytes. When it comes to reliability, nothing beats Oral Rehydration Solutions. The World Health Organisation has invested years of research into refining and perfecting the formula for rehydration: the perfect ratio of salts, minerals and electrolytes our bodies need to recover from dehydration.
For us lucky Indians, we’ve had access to this life saving, reliably hydrating formula since 1972, in the form of Electral that we find in all our homes. It’s what your mother trusted, when you had your run ins with diarrhoea, vomiting or even a bad fever. It’s what you trust in your own home, and it is the No.1 Dr. Prescribed WHO ORS. Electral is also available in a Ready to Drink Tetrapak.
We advise you to limit your intake of sugary, carbonated beverages. We advise you to hydrate more and consume wholesome foods that naturally replenish your electrolytes. We also advise you to pay closer attention to your thirst. If you realise that you are showing symptoms of dehydration, avoid reaching for a sugary beverage and instead do what you know would be best for your body: Your body need Electral, which is WHO-approved and has an Osmolarity of 245 mOsmol/L, in order to rehydrate. .