We study the effect of osmotic stress, exerted by salts, on carbohydrate binding to the sugar-specific bacterial channel maltoporin. When the channel is reconstituted into planar lipid bilayers, single events of its occlusion by sugar are seen as transient interruptions in the flow of small ions. We find that, for most salts, changes in the free energy of maltoporin-sugar binding vary linearly with solution osmotic pressure. Such a change in binding with solution osmolarity indicates that for each salt a constant number of salt-excluding water molecules is released upon sugar-maltoporin association at all salt concentrations. We find that larger numbers of water molecules are released upon binding of the cyclic carbohydrate β-cyclodextrin (CD) than upon binding of the corresponding linear homologue maltoheptaose (m7). Remarkably, the extent to which salts affect the binding constants and rates depends sensitively on the type of salt; dehydration in solutions of different anions corresponds to the Hofmeister series. In sodium sulfate solutions, CD and m7 respectively release about 120 and 35 salt-excluding water molecules; in sodium chloride solutions, 35 and 15 waters. No water release is observed with sodium bromide. Finally, by adding adamantane, known to form an inclusion complex with CD, we can infer that CD not only dehydrates but also undergoes a conformational change upon binding to the channel. As a practical outcome, our results also demonstrate how osmotic stress can improve single-molecule detection of different solutes using protein-based nanopores.