We were very excited to learn that this color scale validly reflects body hydration status. Our initial publication, for example, demonstrated that Ucol can be used in field settings where close estimates of urine osmolality and specific gravity are acceptable, or when laboratory measurements are not practical. Recognizing the limitations of color names the meaning of yellow is different for each person, we recommend that athletes seek to consume water and other fluids to the point that urine is either very pale yellow, pale yellow, or straw colored. These terms correspond to the numbers, andrespectively, on the Ucol scale. If this is accomplished, athletes will be well hydrated and urine specific gravity will be less than Our initial publication provided two additional insights. First, some individuals may require more than verbal instructions before they learn how much fluid must be drunk to produce dilute urine. This became obvious when a few subjects arrived at the laboratory in a hypohydrated state, despite instructions to drink additional water. Second, the day-to-day reliability of Ucol measurements is enhanced if meals, fluid consumption during exercise, the time of urine collection, and training are consistent.
Our second publication was prompted by a field study in which our urine color chart was used by members of the British swimming team that competed in Atlanta at the Summer Olympic Games. Neal Pollock, then affiliated with Florida State University in Tallahassee, followed these athletes for up to days prior to competition. Professor Pollock’s observations unpublished, suggested that Ucol, urine specific gravity, and urine osmolality were not as strongly correlated with dehydration as our initial observations had indicated. We believed that periods of heavy physical training and large water turnover were responsible, and designed a study to test this hypothesis. Its purpose was to evaluate the sensitivity with which urine properties reflected body water changes during marked dehydration – of body weight, a strenuous exercise trial in a hot environment C, .F, and a period of oral rehydration. The change in body mass weight expressed in kilograms was used as the gold standard by which all hydration indices were evaluated, because it represented body water fluctuations.
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Figurepresents four graphs that compare changes in body mass, Ucol, urine specific gravity, and urine osmolality for highly trained cyclists, across the five phases of this study: B, baseline state, before testing; D, dehydration; E, exercise to exhaustion; h, hours of ad libitum rehydration; and h, hours of ad libitum rehydration. Each point represents the average value of nine test subjects; the vertical bars represent the amount of variability standard deviation that occurred at each time point. These graphs clearly show that Ucol, specific gravity, and osmolality followed a pattern similar to that of fluid loss. The minor exceptions to this pattern, in urine specific gravity and urine osmolality at phase D, indicate that Ucol measured with our eight- color scale mimics body water loss as effectively as, or more effectively than, urine specific gravity or osmolality. And, although it is widely acknowledged that Ucol changes in response to illness, medications, some vitamin supplements, and food pigments, such effects
Changes of body mass, urine color, urine specific gravity, and urine osmolality during the baseline period B, dehydration D, exercise E, and rehydration of hoursand hours were minimal in this study. We concluded that a dehydration and lengthy, sometimes rapid, rehydration had little effect on the ability of Ucol to mimic changes in body water. It also was interesting that Ucol tracked body water fluctuations better than urine volume not shown in figure One exception was noted, however. This involves the times when dehydrated athletes rapidly rehydrate with a large quantity of pure water or dilute fluid, resulting in one or two urine specimens with a low Ucol, specific gravity, or osmolality, before the body water deficit has been replaced completely. In cases such as this, especially when no food is consumed, whole-body rehydration can be monitored by observing three or more consecutive samples that indicate that urine is dilute, during a period of –
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