OsmolalityTesting for Sports, Energy Drinks and Beverages - Jinz Haiggh Blog

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OsmolalityTesting for Sports, Energy Drinks and Beverages

Osmolality is a measurement of the total number of solutes in a liquid solution or beverage. Osmolality testing is something that has now become important because sports and energy drinks are now consumed to hydrate the body after strenuous physical activity. Ideal osmolality is not considered so important when beverages are imbibed in a resting state.However, consumers do like to have beverages that have low osmolality because of increased ‘pleasantness’ and ‘refreshing’ feel of the beverages.

Need for osmolality testing

There are some sports drinks that are labelled as isotonic. This means that the concentration of solute content is the same as that of blood cells. It is easier to absorb isotonic beverages.  Electrolytes need to have a specific concentration of solutes for them to be labelled as isotonic. This is why osmolality testing is required to ensure that the sports and energy drinks contain the concentration of solutes which will effectively do what they claim to do. If sports and energy drinks do not have ideal osmolality measurements they will not be successful in preventing dehydration,fatigue due to energy loss and neither will they replenish electrolytes.

Hypertonic and Hypotonic osmolality

Some drinks like soft drinks and other beverages and even fruit juices are termed hypertonic, which means the concentration of solutes in them is higher than that of the blood cell. Hypertonic drinks are not so good at rehydrating the body especially after work-outs and other exercises. They also have the tendency to draw out water from the gut which increases dehydration. On the other hand, hypotonic drinks have lower concentration of solutes and so they are effective in rehydrating the body quickly, like sports and energy drinks. Testing laboratories carry out osmolality testing to determine that solutes are of the right concentration so sports persons can use them for effective hydration.

Requirement for Osmolality

Sports and energy drinks are considered to be indispensable when sportspersons consume them to achieve their daily carbohydrate intake. They also have such drinks as it prevents fatigue and exhaustion when practicing for competitive sports or when participating in them. It is important for sports and energy drinks to have the maximum level of osmolality. Companies that manufacture sports drinks take the services of food testing laboratories to test for osmolality so sportspersons get the benefit they expect. To ensure that osmolality measurements are accurate in sports and energy drinks testing labs carry out analysis so all solvents are at expected levels.

Osmolality testing for labels

If osmolality levels are not at the maximum level then rehydration will not be rapid and sportspersons will not benefit. Also some companies reduce sugar levels in their drinks and if sportspersons are looking to energise themselves besides hydration then it would not work for them. Some commercial sports and energy drinks manufacturers have begun to display osmolality measurements on the labels and for that they use services of food testing labs to estimate the total concentration of solutes in beverages so sportspersons can select the right hydrating solution.


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