How Much Coffee Is Actually Dehydrating?

Coffee Dehydrate You

If you’re like most of us, you’re probably starting your day with a piping hot cup of java. Mornings are incomplete and the day doesn’t start until the savoring of the delicious beverage is done right. You may even take a few more coffee breaks throughout the day, which obviously raises concerns around ‘if coffee is dehydrating you?’. We have the research and answers for you in this edit. 

Does Coffee Really Dehydrate You?

Coffee is considered to be dehydrating because it’s a mild diuretic. Simply put, a diuretic is a substance that makes you pee more. Diuretics, like caffeine, makes your body expel water and sodium more. While the scientific world isn’t yet clear why, here are two possible reasons:

  • Caffeine affects the sodium absorption in kidneys, so there’s more salt in your blood to be excreted. Sodium pulls water out too as it’s expelled leading to dehydration. 
  • Second, caffeine can activate receptors on neurotransmitter adenosine in a way that it affects the body’s sodium and water balance. 

So, if you are taking more bathroom trips than usual after having a lot of coffee, it’s normal. The effect is different on every person though. According to some research, the diuretic effect is more in people who aren’t used to caffeine. 

Does research attest to the same?

Coffee Dehydrate You

In 1928, a small but influential study proved that the participants pee 50% more urine when they had caffeinated beverages as compared to water. And since then, caffeine has gained a bad rep for dehydrating your body. But it isn’t quite so, but first, let’s look at another recent research that has proven caffeine’s diuretic effects. 

A 2015 research study calculated the urine volumes of participants 2 hours after drinking a variety of beverages and found the fluid loss from coffee to be the highest. 

While this may have raised red sirens in your mind, hold on! When you drink a lot of water, it makes you pee more too, but does that make water dehydrating? Of course not. Same goes with coffee. In moderation, caffeine shows no signs of dehydration or any other ill-effects on the human body. 

Coffee Dehydrate You

A 2005 research established and put an end to the dehydration myth once and for all. The study controlled diets of 59 healthy males for 11 days. They were all supplemented with average BMI appropriate doses of caffeine twice a day. A total of 20 different hydration biomarkers were put in place, like fluid-electrolyte balance and urine volume, to measure hydration levels. 

The unique point of the research was it investigated hydration in a longer time frame. All studies done before didn’t evaluate caffeine’s effects for a period longer than 24 hours. 

Results: There were no differences in the hydration indicators between treatment groups including urine volume. The findings are clear and demonstrate that coffee doesn’t dehydrate your body when compared to those who don’t consume caffeine. 

Another 2014 study done in 50 male coffee drinkers over three consecutive days concluded with similar results. All the participants were given 4 cups of 200 ml of coffee with 4 mg/kg caffeine content daily and then only water for another 3 days. After calculating different hydration markers, both the groups had similar hydration levels at the end of the trial. 

So, coffee isn’t inherently dehydrating

Coffee Dehydrate You

When you’re having coffee, you are also having the water or the milk with it. The fluids balance out any dehydrating effects of the caffeine. More so, it can end up as a hydrating drink more than a dehydrating one. Unless you are having many cups of strong coffee throughout the day, the caffeine is highly unlikely to even moderately dehydrate you. 

How much coffee can we drink in a day? 

You can safely consume 400 mg of caffeine daily. That’s equivalent to: 

  • 1 Starbucks Venti Brewed Coffee
  • 4 Cups of Brewed Coffee
  • 8 Cans of Coca Cola
  • 5 Shots of Espresso
  • 5 Cans of Mainstream Energy Drink

Other Drinks That Can Hydrate You: 

Coffee Dehydrate You

Just because we have given a green signal to your morning pick-me-up, doesn’t mean you should rely on it to hydrate you. Here are some drinks that are great hydrating choices: 

  • Water: There’s no replacing water to maintain your hydration levels. Drink 3-4 liters of water to hydrate yourself every day. 
  • Milk: It’s not just for the kids. Milk has been shown to hydrate our bodies much better than water. All thanks to its unique blend of nutrients that slows the emptying of fluid from the stomach. 
  • Lemon Water: Water with a splash of lemon can do a lot of good to our bodies, and one of them is to keep us hydrated. Have lemon water first thing in the morning to experience its many perks. 
  • Fruit Juice: All kinds of fruit juices are quite rich in water and up the body’s water balance. Be mindful of the sugar content though, and have your fruit juices with pulp to inhibit any side-effects of sugar content. 
  • Watermelon: We know this isn’t a drink. But the fruit packs 92% water and nutrients that immediately hydrate and nourish the body from the inside. 
  • Herbal Tea: Teas like chamomile, mint, and rose can not only help you hydrate but also calm your nerves. They are caffeine-free and are only full of benefits for your body.  

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