OSMO Nutrition sports hydration and recovery drinks from Dr Stacy Sims

Ready to geek out on some nutrition science?

OSMO Nutrition is a new sports nutrition company based on the research of Dr. Stacy Sims, an exercise physiologist and sport nutritionist at Stanford University from 2007-2012 with an impressive resume of consulting Lance Armstrong and other top athletes over the years. She’s also a Cat 1 roadie and elite XTerra triathlete.

The name Osmo is a play on Osmolality, the measure of how many solutes (solids) are in a solution. The key with sports drinks is to have the osmalality lower than that of your blood in order to be absorbed quickly. Otherwise, you’re stomach has to work to dilute it.

Sims says most sports drinks are designed to be a fuel source and pack in lots and lots of calories. By packing all that in, it increases the osmolality too high, which hurts absorption. This causes water to be pulled to the digestive system to dilute it, which means it’s being pulled away from your muscles.

Her guideline for athletes is “food in your pocket, hydration in your bottle. If you’re relying on fuel from your liquids, you’re not optimizing your hydration.”

Sims actually doesn’t recommend gels at all, a theory shared with another former Armstrong support member, Dr. Allen Lim. She says for every one gel, you should probably consume 8-12 ounces of water, but even then it’s a concentrated source in the stomach that requires time to mix with the water before it can digest. It also causes heat storage because most gels are comprised of fructose or maltodextrin, which require an extra step for digestion. This extra step produces heat, which is just added to the heat already being produced by your muscles. This decreases the time to fatigue.

Food’s a little different, surprisingly. She recommends simple carbs like white bread or new potatoes with some salt or peanut butter on them. Nothing that’s going to spike the blood sugar too much or cause stomach distress.

OK, with all that in mind, just what sort of drinks did they develop?

Dr. Sims is joined by Ben Capron, a former Specialized product and marketing manager and decorated mountain biker, and Paul Pilliteri, whose background is in motorsports team management, technology and inline skating. Osmo’s formulations are based on Dr. Sim’s peer reviewed research and field experience, and they’re broken down into four types developed for a specific point in the exercise/recovery sequence: Pre-hydration, Active hydration, Recovery and Sleep/Recovery.


OSMO Nutrition sports hydration and recovery drinks from Dr Stacy Sims

OSMO PreLoad – Is designed to help your body hold more water for particularly hot or intense events where you can’t take in water fast enough to counter sweat losses. It creates a buffer against aerobic and anaerobic lactic acid production, too, to help you perform harder for longer. This is done via their specific sodium compounds (retention) and bicarbonates (buffering). Citrates in particular have been shown to improve athletic performance by regulating pH (also buffering).

The other effect is an increase in blood plasma volume, which helps keep the body cooler for longer (slows core temperature increase), and it helps prevent cramping.

OSMO Nutrition sports hydration and recovery drinks from Dr Stacy Sims

OSMO Active Hydration – Designed to be the most rapid way to get water into your body, which is critical for performance.

“When you start to feel thirsty, you’re already about 2% down on your body water,” says Capron. “That translates to roughly 11% reduction in mass power you could put out. Every person is different, of course, but these are pretty close figures for most.”

There’s also an optimized electrolyte profile to prevent cramping, all of which are Citrates.

Why glucose and sucrose? Because they’re easily recognized by the digestive system, and Sims says that particular combo is the best for speeding usage and gastric emptying.


OSMO Nutrition sports hydration and recovery drinks from Dr Stacy Sims

OSMO Acute Recovery – Designed to be consumed in that golden 30 minute window immediately following exercise. Sims and Capron say recovery is one of the most overlooked parts of training. This product helps transition your body from activity to recovery.

“During exercise, you produce a lot of cortisol and adrenaline,” says Sims. “And if you don’t stop that process quickly afterward, it’s hard for your body to recover properly. Introducing protein stops the catabolic state by signaling that there’s fuel available for the body to replenish itself. The longer you have those proteins (amino acids) available, the better job your body can do.

“We have two proteins, fast releasing whey isolate (20g) and slower micellar casein (10g), to extend the amount of time the fuel is available to a couple hours. The effective amount of protein is between 15g and 30g within the 30 minute window as that’s the most your body can absorb in that time frame.”

Sims says the addition of caffeine (25-30mg per serving, from Green Tea Extract) improves glycogen storage by 66% over just using a carb/protein blend.

Sims: “We intentionally didn’t add antioxidants because when taken immediately after exercise, they stop the adaptation that the mitochondria go into on their own, which helps naturally rid the body of free radicals.

“The body’s natural response to exercise is inflammation and recognition of free radicals, and you want this. If you don’t let the body see this reaction and adapt to it, it never learns to adapt to the stresses of exercise. The adaptation is how you get stronger, and it carries all the way down to the cellular level with the mitochondria. If they’re allowed to adapt, it can increase performance by improving aerobic metabolism – turning glucose and oxygen into ATP, which is used by the muscle for fuel.”

Side note: Sims also said this means taking NSAID (ibuprofen, etc.) immediately after has the same detrimental effect and can stress or damage the kidneys.

OSMO Nutrition sports hydration and recovery drinks from Dr Stacy Sims

OSMO Goodnight Recovery – Sleep is where you grow and really recover. This one’s designed to help you relax and get deep sleep with the inclusion of Valerian Root, and the cherries provide antioxidant support.

Sims: “After a particularly hard or long workout, sometimes it’s hard to come down. We’ve all been there, so tired that we’re restless and can’t get to sleep, which is why we designed Goodnight the way we did.”


OSMO’s products will retail for $24.99 each for Preload (10 servings) and Active (20 servings), and recovery products are $39.95 for Acute (10 servings) and Goodnight (8 servings).

Yes, that’s expensive, and they admit it. Why?

“The science that goes into these formulas isn’t free,” Capron said. “And there are a whole range of grades you can select for ingredients. We’re using the very best available, and the cost can be many multiples more. Once you get under the hood and look at what separates the grades, it’s hard in good conscious to use lower grade products. We know some of our athletes are going to be vegan or just otherwise meticulous about what they eat and drink.

“For example, sugar seems simple enough, but most refined sugar is filtered through bone char (charred cow bones) to make it white. It’s effective, but it’s not something we wanted to use. Ours is sourced from a Virginia company and is filtered through charcoal (wood). This is just one example, and it’s a small thing, but it helps explain the premium pricing.

“Whey protein is imported from Holland and is hormone- and GMO-free. There’s no guarantee for either of those from US protein sources.”

The Micellar Casein is an ultra filtered casein which, like whey isolate, means you’re getting virtually all protein and little or no milk sugars (lactose) or fat. The product itself is not lactose free, though, and it’s not recommended for those with lactose allergies.

“We believe our customers are those that’ll recognize the value of OSMO. The biggest upgrade you can make is to your body.”

Made exclusively from organic and natural ingredients. Nothing comes from anything that didn’t grow in the ground or minerals from the earth. The freeze dried fruit powders not only provide flavor, but they contain antioxidants ideal for the particular exercise period. They’re produced in California and sold direct (for now, they’re talking to dealers), and as of this post going live you can buy it. We’ll be testing it soon, stay tuned.


  1. Measuring and designing drink mixes based on osmality, or osmolarity, isn’t new. Niether is using sucrose as a carb source. Gatorade started doing this a long time ago.

  2. what he ^ said, I remember when the owner of the gym I used to work at had this friend who created these “new” products! and he was trying to get us all to be so pumped behind the product and learn all about them, push it to members, etc.

    the products were based off of this same idea, osmolarity and your body being able to utlize the ingredients better, on paper it sounds great but the math just doesn’t add up when you see how much you get for the amount you pay, same with these products listed above in my opinion…..NOT to mention I love how the little pre-article kinda rips fructose because it takes longer to digest, and then look to the second product being promoted and the first ingredient listed (which also means it’s the must abundant ingredient listed for those that may not know) is sucros i.e. common table sugar which is a combo of glucose and what??? fructose….I honetly think these would be great products to use but unfortunately cost to benefit ratio for most will be too high.

  3. Active hydration has 70 calories/serving. At that rate they should have said, “Designed to be the most rapid way to get water into your body, and $$ out of your wallet.”

  4. Ben’s quote in BRAIN is so star-ey eyed optimistic…’the opportunity is huge’. Classic misguided mentality of yeah, all we need is 1% of the (insert name) market and we’ll be rich. Bike shop distribution, yeah you’ll be on the path to riches in no time guys!

    That said, never underestimate the naivety and stupidity of the typical American consumer willing to fork over hard earned bucks instead of just, gasp, eating a banana or drinking some juice.

  5. Allen Lim has been marketing his stuff for about 4-6 months now, and it appears to be just about the same thing (GENERALIZATION). His stuff is nearly the same price, but 2x the amount.

    I’m trying allen lim’s/Skratch lab’s stuff now, and also attempting to play around and just water down gatorade, and see how it compares. I am fine in terms of mineral and nutrients with my diet, and I’m sure the difference in my rides 3-4 days a week aren’t going to be significantly changed by a drink mix used during rides, as compared to my eating and drinking behaviors off the bike.

    If I was an athlete who relied on marginal gains for wins, then yes, I would rely more on these products.

    That and I’m not a dentist with a Cervelo. Just a grad student with a 6.5kg bike who loves to ride. ;P

  6. Looks like a good drink for hydration, but there is some definite BS. Citrate studies are lacking (compared to Bicarbonate) and the amount needed FAR exceeds what this stuff gives you. Also their post-workout nutrition, leaves a lot to be desired (1.2 grams/kg/ per hour of CHO). More studies show CHO ingestion is more important post-workout than PRO. Their ratio is wrong. Other than that, it’s a decent product. William Thomas, MS, CSCS, CSN Professor of Exercise Physiology.

  7. As for Lim’s product… sound EXCEPT if you look at the amount of citric acid it contains… it is extraordinarily high. While this may promote drinking (think soda)… a reduction in pH will SLOW gastric emptying compromising the rate up fluid uptake. it’s kinda a catch 22… but if you regularly drink (at set intervals) an non-acidic drink, you will rehydrate faster. William Thomas MS, CSCS, CSN, Professor of Exercise Physiology

  8. I’ve been using lims secret drink mix for a few months and it’s amazing. Has anyone tried this stuff? It seems like way too many science claims. Has anyone heard of dr. sims? maybe she was actually lances coach or maybe she is full of BS

  9. Hi all. Ben Capron from Osmo here. Glad to see that you have energy and opinions around our brand and products. Wanted to correct a few things and encourage further exploration on your parts.
    “bem”, thanks for your comment “Measuring and designing drink mixes based on osmality, or osmolarity, isn’t new. …”
    You are correct, but Gatorade’s osmolality is higher than blood. Also, the type of sugars used, the ratios of those sugars and the types of and ratios of salts are critical for fluid absorption. Check out our site for more info, particularly the science section (osmonutrition.com/science) and archive of peer-reviewed research that our products are based on.
    “jow”, Appreciate your comment about the cost of the product. Important for us to hear. In our opinion there’s little more important to invest in than what you put in your body. Wanted to correct one thing regarding your comment: “pre-article kinda rips fructose because it takes longer to digest, and then look to the second product being promoted and the first ingredient listed… is sucrose”. There is no fructose in any Osmo product. Glucose and Sucrose are the two types of sugars we use, in a ratio that’s proven to be optimal for fluid absorption.
    “Topmounter” if you’d like more on the hard science behind Osmo products, please check out our science archives. Osmonutrition.com/science
    “Jerad”, Dr. Sims is the nutritional scientists who worked with Allen Lim. She has also worked in the nutritional science field for over a decade before working with Allen. The Skratch formula is very good. But the Osmo products represent Dr Sims’ most current science. Give our products a try and you will experience the benefits.
    Anyhow, our goal is to elevate the discourse about sports nutrition and to provide athletes with the products that can help them feel and perform their best. Please take a deeper dive into the science behind our products and let us know what you think. Best to all. Ben

  10. Doing some back ground searching, evidently Dr. Sims was the scientist behind secretdrinkmix… interesting. wonder what happened??!

  11. I’m always looking for better nutrition options…I’m willing to give this product a try.
    Difficulty with products like this is always taste, with all the nutrients i’ll be curious as to how it goes down. BTW, I’ve been using this mix called HDX and enjoy the flavor and hydration benefits.

  12. > There is no fructose in any Osmo product. Glucose and Sucrose are the two types of sugars we use,

    Earth to Ben, earth Ben, can you say disaccharide? I knew you could.

  13. Congrats on a great nutrition line. Especially the goodnight recovery. However mr Ben Capron I do have a question. Doesn’t calcium block or limit the absorption of Magnesium?

  14. As someone with a bit of inside knowledge on both Allen Lim and Dr. Sims, I can say that Sims was pretty much the brains behind Lim’s entire operation. She just went and did her own thing. Sims is definitely the world’s leading hydration scientist, hearing her talk about her studies and others is awesome.

    The science behind Osmo is pretty cool, and having tried it I love the active hydration. I am looking forward to trying the others but man is the price a killer…hoping to somehow get it for less.

  15. CoachAhmadi-

    THANK you for the kudos as well! RE magnesium and calcium–>> magnesium helps regulate calcium into the soft tissues (muscles) . Too low magnesium can result in cramps, and too much calcium allowed in causes muscle contractions/cramps. So perhaps you can say magnesium inhibits calcium, but in a synergistic mechanism for muscular work.

    Calcium and Iron on the other hand, not a good combination– calcium and iron bind and are excreted.


  16. *Phil- we do not include fructose as it’s own molecule on purpose- it is notorious for causing GI distress, and it does not raise blood sugar levels (key for insulin response– keep reading). YES the oxidation of sucrose yields glucose and fructose– the glucose of the sucrose molecule works with the additional glucose to stimulate protein channels in the intestinal cells to facilitate absorption; and glucose raises insulin levels- which reduces cortisol, which, in turn reduces overall immune stress. Sucrose and glucose have comparable oxidation rates, and the fructose molecule that comes from the sucrose oxidation is transported to the liver for further oxidation- but with the glucose from the sucrose molecule, reducing the change of GI distress.
    ALL that just to say that the ACTIVE is NOT a fuel source- it is NOT designed to supply exogenous carbohydrates. Glucose+Sucrose have been shown (in peer review literature) to maximize FLUID absorption, which is what we’re about. The sodium enhances fluid absorption with these two sugars- if you want the specific mechanisms, email me through the contact on our website –OSMONUTRITION.COM.

    Now, the issue of cost– Yes, we are a few dollars more than Skratch (19.99 vs 24.99 for the same size pack/number of serving sizes). We are looking for ways to bring the cost down; but the ingredients we have included are at a premium. I’ll expand here-
    The sugar we use is hard to source as we do not want to use bone char filters for our sugar- we want carbon or wood char as our sugar’s oxidizing (aka bleaching) agent, not the charred bones of animals.
    The proteins we use are from New Zealand, Holland, or Ireland as these are the only countries that will guarantee the dairy protein is GMO-free and hormone free- you cannot get that with products from the USA unfortunately.
    The fruit powders we use were hard to source as well- we wanted real organic free dried, that wasn’t brown (think of a dried orange peel on the cement in summer)- we wanted the purest, most flavorful organic fruit we could source that also didn’t have added maltodextrin or silicon dioxide. Again, only small choices for this (trust me, we went through many many different samples and analyses to find the best to put in the products!).
    I tell you all this because I don’t want to personally ingest things that have been altered or have additives; esp begin a vegetarian and 9 months pregnant!

    Thanks for your support and I meant this to serve as a bit of education (have you checked out our short video clips on all the products on the website?? explains a bit more indepth about each).


  17. Hi all- This is Stacy Sims (thanks for the kudos John!!),
    I didn’t want to jump in but there seems to be a bit of miscommunication and confusion of facts going on here…

    ***William Thomas-I’m surprised as a “professor of exercise physiology” (at Cal State Fullerton,right…) that you are not more up on your literature.–>
    —>> Citrate studies are lacking (compared to Bicarbonate) and the amount needed FAR exceeds what this stuff gives you.<>> Also their post-workout nutrition, leaves a lot to be desired (1.2 grams/kg/ per hour of CHO). More studies show CHO ingestion is more important post-workout than PRO. Their ratio is wrong.<<–
    I'm not sure where you're getting your information here RE CHO being more important than PRO within the first 30 minutes. You need protein to shut down the cortisol response and to facilitate muscle regeneration; you have up to 4 hours (men), and 90 min (women) to jam in the glycogen. Combining a bit of caffeine with PRO+Carb increases glycogen recovery by 66%; I'd suggest reviewing Beelen, Burke et al. "Nutritional strategies to promote post-exercise recovery", Intl J Sport Nut& Exerc Metab 2010.


  18. What’s up with the new OSMO Packaging / pricing scheme…
    Has any else nticed that when they went to the new packaging, YOU GET LESS PRODUCT BUT PAY THE SAME PRICE!?!?!?

    Retail is $29.99
    Old Packaging (Bag w/ zip lock)
    Net Weight: 17.2 oz (487 G)

    Same price of $29.99, but you get about %30- LESS!?!?!?
    New Packaging (Plastic jar)
    Net Weight: 13.4 OZ (380g)

    This is total BS.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like the product (most all of their products actually) and was the instrumental in getting into a chain of stores where I work.

    But if this is correct, I’m done w/ a company that:
    1st: Acts like big food corp America and attempts to raise they profit by screwing their customers!
    2nd: Goes from more or less Enviro friendly packaging to Plastic jars.

    OSMO / Stac, whats up w/ this?

  19. I just looked on their website and it has 14.1 oz for $20. Not sure where you are seeing this pricing, but doesn’t look like any kind of “screwing” going on.

  20. @ Meghan
    I failed to mention I’m referring to the “Acute Recovery” product.
    You can look at the photo in the top of this article and see you used to get 17.2oz for $29.99 and now on their site 13.4oz is still $29.99. as previously stated.
    As I stated now 13.4oz is the same price.
    I prove my point.

    You’re looking at the pricing for “Active Hydration”.
    Now the consumer is getting a mere .3oz less of that product in the new packaging (14.1oz), old packaging (14.4oz), not that big a deal for this product, but still sucks to pay the same and get less for an already expensive product. I don’t mind spending money for a premium product(s) but I don’t like companies that lack integrity. I hope they adjust their pricing accordingly.

  21. Wow, yeah, they really cut down the sizes big time, OSMO FAIL. I googled the old packaging and pricing. Basically when the started using the plastic small tubs and took on a hot shot ceo, they raised the price by 30%, in a year mind you!

  22. Hey..I have been reading all the snotty comments on this list. I understand other supplement/ brand loyalty and wanting to know more about a product AND questioning the reasons behind the ingredients used. However, has anyone checked into the quality and attention Ben and his company is striving for? Using non-gmo products..no artificial colors and crap (Gatorade) and the selective use of green tea and sugars in his mix indicate care and integrity in product. If you question the product great. If you are interested..then try it. The snotty route is tired a played out it helps NO ONE. I will be looking to try it! If you choose to buy a big name product that doesn’t give a crap about you or the environment..go for it. BUT if you do care, try it… if your performance is enhanced..even better!!

What do you think?