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Salty-Fruity, ‘High-Absorption’ Drink Mix is something Different

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Drink to hydrate, not to fuel. That’s a message of OSMO Nutrition, a low-calorie, low-carb sport drink mix new last year.

In May of 2012, the brand entered the market with a simple message: Hydration only. The simplicity passed over me at first and I was tempted to write them off as another company selling sugar water.

Osmo touts a new take on hydration

But Osmo is something different from the sports drinks I’d been using. Like Nuun, ZYM, and other electrolyte drinks Osmo focuses only on hydration, not calorie intake.

The company is bold, calling its mix “the most effective during-exercise drink you can consume.”

Why the big claim? Osmo cites its namesake: The process of “osmolality.” Big word, but it means basically that what you drink needs to have the same or less number of solutes than blood to most effectively absorb in your gut.

When you throw in excess carbohydrates (like many sports drinks add) your body pulls water from your blood to dilute the “higher osmolality” fluid, the brand cites.

Osmo products

Solid foods, energy gels, or “drinkable calorie” sport mixes like Perpetuem or Tailwind Endurance Fuel take body water “out of circulation” to process the fuel, Osmo notes. This does not help with electrolyte balance and other goals of hydration at high aerobic output.

We’ve long used Perpetuem and similar products in long endurance events. We love the convenience of calories you can drink, and for many scenarios that theme is still valid.

Diagram from Osmo brand video

Osmo markets that for bike races, running, and other high-output sports you want to focus on calories and hydration independently (not in one drink).

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