The Beverage Hydration Index: Influence of Electrolytes, Carbohydrate and Protein

Nutrients. 2021 Aug 25;13(9):2933. doi: 10.3390/nu13092933.


The beverage hydration index (BHI) facilitates a comparison of relative hydration properties of beverages using water as the standard. The additive effects of electrolytes, carbohydrate, and protein on rehydration were assessed using BHI. Nineteen healthy young adults completed four test sessions in randomized order: deionized water (W), electrolytes only (E), carbohydrate-electrolytes (C + E), and 2 g/L dipeptide (alanyl-glutamine)-electrolytes (AG + E). One liter of beverage was consumed, after which urine and body mass were obtained every 60 min through 240 min. Compared to W, BHI was higher (p = 0.007) for C + E (1.15 ± 0.17) after 120 min and for AG + E (p = 0.021) at 240 min (1.15 ± 0.20). BHI did not differ (p > 0.05) among E, C + E, or AG + E; however, E contributed the greatest absolute net effect (>12%) on BHI relative to W. Net fluid balance was lower for W (p = 0.048) compared to C + E and AG + E after 120 min. AG + E and E elicited higher (p < 0.001) overall urine osmolality vs. W. W also elicited greater reports of stomach bloating (p = 0.02) compared to AG + E and C + E. The addition of electrolytes alone (in the range of sports drinks) did not consistently improve BHI versus water; however, the combination with carbohydrate or dipeptides increased fluid retention, although this occurred earlier for the sports drink than the dipeptide beverage. Electrolyte content appears to make the largest contribution in hydration properties of beverages for young adults when consumed at rest.

Keywords: dipeptide; fluid balance; osmolality; potassium; sodium; sports drink.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Dehydration / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / urine
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Proteins / urine
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electrolytes / analysis
  • Electrolytes / pharmacology*
  • Electrolytes / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Time Factors
  • Water / administration & dosage
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Electrolytes
  • Water

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