Coffee is one of the world’s favorite beverages. In fact, in the USA, coffee is second only to water in terms of total consumption. Americans drink an average of nearly 89 gallons of coffee per capita, which is more than juice, soda, and tea combined. It is something that millions of people enjoy multiple times a day. Many would call it a focal point of their day. Some get it from stores and coffee shops, some drink it at work, and others make it at home with their best coffee maker.
But despite its popularity, a lot of questions hover around coffee’s role in your hydration. Some believe coffee dehydrates you. Others say there is plenty of water to be had from drinking coffee. So which is it? Does drinking coffee count towards your daily water intake? Or is it actually dehydrating you? Let’s find out.
Does Drinking Coffee Dehydrate You?
If you enjoy coffee from time to time, you have likely heard that it can contribute to dehydration and that it should be avoided if you want to maintain an optimal balance of fluids and electrolytes. Some point to coffee as a diuretic and conclude that it must dehydrate the body. But numerous studies have shown that coffee may not have nearly as much of a dehydrating effect as some people seem to believe.
This coffee dehydration myth is a pervasive one.
In a study published in 2014 it was shown that there is no significant difference in hydration between males who just drink water and those who have been habituated to caffeine and enjoy it in moderation. Now, if you are a relatively new coffee drinker, the diuretic effects will be greater, but once you build up a little bit of tolerance to caffeine and coffee, you should notice any difference when it comes to dehydration.
In fact, coffee is not a terrible substitute for water when it comes to hydrating yourself. The same 2014 study referenced above concluded that coffee can provide similar hydrating qualities to water. While this doesn’t mean that we should be abandoning our daily drinking water in favor of coffee, drinking a moderate amount of coffee is completely fine for most healthy individuals.
Avoiding coffee because of a fear of dehydrating yourself simply isn’t something you need to be worried about. No matter what your dietary habits happen to be, maintaining proper hydration is essential. Coffee may disguise your thirst, making it harder to know when you should drink water. But other than that, there is nothing inherent in coffee itself which dehydrates you.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle with Coffee
Now that you know that coffee doesn’t cause dehydration, you should also be aware that it can actually be a very integral part of living a healthy lifestyle. A good cup of coffee can improve alertness, promote a positive mood, and give us a boost in our energy and motivation.
It’s good to keep in mind that the mental and physical of coffee have diminishing returns for habitual drinkers, so coffee is best enjoyed in moderation and it couldn’t hurt to cycle off of it every now and then in order to reset the habit. Your morning coffee habit is probably benign, but coffee and caffeine addiction is a real issue some people struggle with. Like any addiction, a caffeine addiction will eventually lead to coffee being required just for you to get through the day, not something that improves your energy and mood like it used to.
Positive Health Benefits of Coffee
Not only can coffee be integrated as part of a healthy diet, but studies have also demonstrated that it may have some health benefits of its own. First of all, whether your coffee is caffeinated or not, it has been linked to a lower chance of an early death. A study analyzed half a million people and found that the more coffee people drank, the lower their risk of dying! While this doesn’t mean go out and drink a gallon of coffee every single day, it should show you that coffee, in moderation, doesn’t hurt.
In addition to the lower risk of death for average people, coffee has also been shown to offer up lower mortality rates among people with colorectal cancer. Coffee has also been linked to lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and respiratory diseases. Of course, if all of your coffees have a ton of sugar or creamer added, any health benefits can probably be written off! Drinking black coffee is always recommended for those seeking the health-conscious cup.
The Importance of Hydration in General
In addition to learning about the truth of the relationship between caffeine and dehydration, you should also know a thing or two about the incredible importance of hydration to everyone’s day-to-day life and bodily functioning. Your hydration is one of the most essential elements of your health. Water is required for every organ and tissue in your body to perform its role in keeping you alive and healthy. Even mild cases of dehydration can leave you feeling less than yourself and your body lagging behind what it could do with just a bit more H2O.
Most of the time, 6-8 glasses of water is recommended per day, but the actual amount you should drink will vary from person to person and depend on climate and activity levels. Always listen to your body and don’t deny yourself a drink when you get thirsty!
Tips for making sure you stay hydrated are:
- Make sure to keep a water bottle with you at your desk, in your car, and where ever you go.
- If you dislike the “plain” taste of water, try adding some lemon or lime for flavor and experimenting with other infused water ideas.
- If you have trouble remembering to drink water, set alerts on your phone every hour to have a few sips. You can also check out “smart” water bottles with timers that digitally track how much you drink throughout the day. These bottles can even sync up to your smart phone and give you notifications when it’s time to drink more water.
Always watch out for signs of dehydration, especially during exercise, while playing sports, enjoying the sun, or when the weather heats up. Dry mouth, darker urine, fatigue, headache, and dizziness, are a few of the common symptoms of dehydration to look out for.
That Cup of Coffee WON’T Dehydrate You!
The coffee dehydration myth has been longstanding. People continue to believe that coffee, caffeine, or some combination of the two contribute to dehydrating your body. But that simply isn’t the case. The various studies and statistics referenced within this article demonstrate that coffee can not only be a part of a healthy lifestyle and diet, but can actually help us stay hydrated!
The real risk with coffee is replacing water with it. While the water content in coffee does help you stay hydrated, you wouldn’t want this to be your main source of water! Take your daily hydration needs seriously and enjoy a few glasses of water in the morning, aside from just having your coffee. Remember to stay properly hydrated throughout the day. Then you can just enjoy your coffee as you please!
Thanks for reading and remember to stay hydrated!
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Can coffee really dehydrate you? Does drinking coffee contribute towards your daily water intake? Or does it have a negative impact for your overall hydration? We find out in this article.