Infographic: milk hydrates better than water, sports drink, beer, and more

February 20, 2021

Here’s a chart showing the measured hydrating effectiveness of a variety of drinks. They tested milk, water, soda, orange juice, coffee, lager, something called “oral rehydration solution,” and a few other liquids.


Milk wins out, the skim milk (buttermilk) even went beyond what they could accomplish with their science concoction. You’ll also notice water didn’t even come close, as still water or sparkling water. Still believe in the water meme? There’s no saving you.

Imagine if they tried raw milk, raw buttermilk, or raw milk kefir.

Growing up in Arizona I learned a valuable lesson: the hydration you do ahead of time is worth far more than the hydration you attempt to do at the time you need it. If you want to hike the Superstitions, drink plenty of fluids the night before and the morning of, so that hydration has time to integrate, that’ll count much more than the drinks you bring along.

So don’t forgo that glass of whole raw milk in the morning!

Further reading:

Background: The identification of beverages that promote longer-term fluid retention and maintenance of fluid balance is of real clinical and practical benefit in situations in which free access to fluids is limited or when frequent breaks for urination are not desirable. The postingestion diuretic response is likely to be influenced by several beverage characteristics, including the volume ingested, energy density, electrolyte content, and the presence of diuretic agents.

Objective: This study investigated the effects of 13 different commonly consumed drinks on urine output and fluid balance when ingested in a euhydrated state, with a view to establishing a beverage hydration index (BHI), i.e., the volume of urine produced after drinking expressed relative to a standard treatment (still water) for each beverage.

Design: Each subject (n = 72, euhydrated and fasted male subjects) ingested 1 L still water or 1 of 3 other commercially available beverages over a period of 30 min. Urine output was then collected for the subsequent 4 h. The BHI was corrected for the water content of drinks and was calculated as the amount of water retained at 2 h after ingestion relative to that observed after the ingestion of still water.

Results: Total urine masses (mean ± SD) over 4 h were smaller than the still-water control (1337 ± 330 g) after an oral rehydration solution (ORS) (1038 ± 333 g, P < 0.001), full-fat milk (1052 ± 267 g, P < 0.001), and skimmed milk (1049 ± 334 g, P < 0.001). Cumulative urine output at 4 h after ingestion of cola, diet cola, hot tea, iced tea, coffee, lager, orange juice, sparkling water, and a sports drink were not different from the response to water ingestion. The mean BHI at 2 h was 1.54 ± 0.74 for the ORS, 1.50 ± 0.58 for full-fat milk, and 1.58 ± 0.60 for skimmed milk.

Link: A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index

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