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Does coffee dehydrate you? This is a big question for all the coffee lovers out there who can’t survive without coffee even for a single day.
Quoted by someone, ” Coffee makes us severe, and grave, and philosophical,” it is a very popular beverage worldwide with a million fans worldwide, especially in America.
From espresso packs to decaf coffee to cappuccinos to brew coffee to latte coffee, there is a large variety of coffee made available for coffee drinkers who are madly in love with coffee.
1. Why is Coffee so Popular?
If someone is having a headache after a long day or needs to defeat fatigue or refresh, then, undoubtedly, instant coffee is what you need. A single cup of coffee keeps you fresh for the next couple of hours.
Not only does it serve as a delicious beverage, but it also has several other benefits. It effectively treats headaches, boosting energy levels and increasing alertness. Coffee is good for the skin and heart as well.
Coffee consumption can also be beneficial for fitness freaks. It has been proved that coffee increases a person’s performance during endurance exercise as he can work out for a longer duration without getting tired.
Students who want to sit continuously for long hours to study can also try sipping a cup of coffee, and then they can feel the difference. Drinking coffee helps you to avoid sleep for the next few hours.
Coffee is also rich in antioxidants1, and if drunk in limited amounts, it can be healthy for a person helping him to avoid sluggishness.
2. Does Coffee Dehydrate You?
Coffee is a well-desired beverage; many people even prefer to start their morning with a cup of coffee. But have you ever wondered how coffee affects you? What is the effect of drinking coffee on your hydration status? Does coffee dehydrate you, and if yes, then does coffee dehydrate you completely or only up to some extent?
It is very obvious that more is the more fluid intake more the urge to use the washroom but what needs to be figured out is that a cup of coffee affects a person’s hydration status.
No doubt, moderate daily coffee intake has health benefits. Still, the question arises Can high coffee consumption harm you, or does coffee dehydrate you, or what are the possible side effects of caffeine intake on a person?
As we all know, coffee is primarily made of caffeine, and caffeine intake is good till the time it is consumed in moderation. If consumed in excess amounts, it will harm you directly and indirectly.
For example, caffeine has a diuretic effect on the kidney if consumed in high amounts, which increases a person’s urine output which ultimately makes us think does coffee dehydrate you?
Different types of coffee have different amounts of caffeine present in them. Coffee like espresso and brewed coffee have a very high percentage of caffeine2.
On the other hand, decaffeinated coffee has the least caffeine content. So decaf coffee is mostly recommended by experts to maintain the hydration level in the body.
2.1. What Exactly is the Diuretic Effect?
Caffeine, when consumed, passes through the bloodstream and affects the functioning of various body parts, including the brain. The diuretic effect refers to the condition where after the consumption of caffeinated beverages, the body prevents the reabsorption of water into the kidney3, which as a result, increases urine production. So, to maintain your fluid balance, try to drink less caffeinated beverages.
Through various research and studies conducted to find the effect of coffee on hydration levels or whether coffee is dehydrating, it was observed that a moderate coffee intake wouldn’t affect urine production in the body, and it will have similar hydrating qualities as other liquids.
This was proved by research in which men were first given coffee to drink for a few days and then water for the next few days. In the study, there weren’t any significant differences in both cases, and the water level was replenished by both coffee and water.
Another counterbalanced cross-over study has revealed that a moderate intake of coffee, like drinking 2-3 cups of coffee, won’t affect your hydration status, but expecting the same when you drink more coffee isn’t insightful.
Drinking large amounts of coffee, such as more than 4-5 cups daily, can increase urine production. Thus we can infer that moderate caffeine consumption won’t affect your hydration status and will not dehydrate you.
2.2. Does Coffee Dehydrate You Completely?
Further studies have revealed that though coffee has a diuretic effect, it can’t dehydrate you completely. It has also been observed that regular coffee drinkers show fewer diuretic effects as their bodies have adapted to coffee.
To minimize the diuretic effect, try adding more water or milk to the coffee to neutralize the effects of caffeine.
An increase in urine production doesn’t necessarily indicate fluid loss or dehydration. Dehydration is the condition when fluid intake is less than fluid loss.
If you are a coffee aficionado and avoiding coffee4 is not possible, try to decrease your caffeine intake. This might not occur in one day, but if you are consistent, you can decrease your coffee and be wise when deciding your coffee consumption.
In some cases, coffee alone isn’t the main cause of dehydration, which can be one of the factors causing dehydration.
For example, drinking coffee on an empty stomach in the morning or consuming coffee after heavy workouts makes you prone to urinate more.
Similarly, drinking coffee on a cold day can also cause a person to pee more. One more conclusion that can be drawn from various research is that caffeine affects people differently. It depends on how much your body is tolerant of caffeinated coffee.
If you already have dehydration symptoms, it is best to avoid caffeinated beverages as they will worsen your condition completely.
3. How Much Caffeine is Good for You?
We are well aware of the potential benefits of coffee, and we also know that excess of anything is harmful. The same theory applies to coffee. Coffee mainly consists of caffeine, so coffee drinkers must check their caffeine content.
Not only does the excess amount of coffee cause dehydration, but it can also cause several other disorders, such as anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, or nausea.
For a healthy person, the permissible caffeine content is 400 grams per day. If exceeded, it can be harmful. It is advised to limit your caffeine consumption up to 300gm only.
No matter how hectic your day will be or how long your work will extend, never increase your caffeine intake above the prescribed amount.
For pregnant ladies, the maximum caffeine allowed is 200gm per day. However, you should refrain from giving young children any caffeine.
People suffering from problems such as difficulty in passing stools, heart conditions such as arrhythmias, or ones with sleep disorders should try to avoid caffeine consumption5 as much as possible.
Breastfeeding ladies should also avoid drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages as this may harm the newborn baby.
4. How to Balance Your Coffee Intake?
Since coffee is proven to have a diuretic effect, it is advised to reduce caffeine consumption to avoid complications.
For people who can’t live without coffee, here are a few tips that they might find helpful:
4.1. Switching to Low-Caffeinated Coffees
The first alternative to lowering caffeine intake is switching to low-caffeinated coffees.6 For example, you can switch to coffee types such as decaf coffee or drip coffee with a low caffeine content compared to espresso packs.
By this, you will be able to pursue your coffee love as well as lower your daily caffeine intake and will be able to see significant differences in your daily schedule.
4.2. Don’t Try to Cut Off from Coffee Completely
If you think you can quit coffee consumption within a day, then this isn’t practically possible. Like anything else, quitting coffee within a single day isn’t possible.
Moreover, it is not required to quit coffee completely; you only need to reduce your caffeinated beverages to such an extent that it isn’t harmful to you.
Research shows that the maximum daily caffeine consumption should not increase by 400 grams. Consuming more than this can cause headaches, insomnia, or peevishness.
4.3. Replacement Behaviour
This is one of the most effective techniques to give up any bad habit. In this method, you can try drinking any other healthy fluid which can at the same time relax you and is not even harmful.
Try drinking any other beverage which is healthy and will also hydrate you. For example, you can start your morning with a cup of herbal tea instead of coffee. It will be a healthier alternative for coffee to keep you fresh for the whole day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Which coffee is best for health?
Lighter roasts usually have less caffeine and more antioxidants as compared to darker roasts and hence are better for your health.
2. Which is better black coffee or with milk?
While both of these have antioxidant benefits, black coffee contains the nutrient niacin while milk coffee is packed with vitamins such as B6, B16, Folate, Riboflavin and pantothenic acid.
Coffee is a very popular drink that many people widely consume. No one is unfamiliar with Starbucks, Barista, or Costa coffee. It has become one of the most traded products worldwide because of the craze people hold for coffee.
Coffee is so popular that the love for coffee is also referred to as the “Coffee culture.” Coffee is popular in foreign countries and devoured by a large section of the Indian population.
Though coffee has numerous benefits, we can’t overlook the fact that coffee consists of caffeine, so before consuming a high dose of caffeine, make sure you know all the possible side effects.
Does coffee dehydrate you partially or completely, or does it not? This is still a question for many people out there. Many kinds of research have been carried out to find the answer for the same, and through them, it was concluded that when consumed in fewer amounts, coffee has the same hydration effects as any other beverage. Still, if consumed in higher amounts, it can dehydrate you.
So be a little thoughtful before setting your caffeine limit, as you need to calculate all the aspects beforehand for a better experience.
- Halliwell, Barry, et al. “Antioxidants and human disease: a general introduction.” Nutrition reviews 55.1 (1997): S44. ↩︎
- Barone, J. J., and H. R. Roberts. “Caffeine consumption.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 34.1 (1996): 119-129. ↩︎
- Rehberg, Poul Brandt. “Studies on kidney function: the rate of filtration and reabsorption in the human kidney.” Biochemical Journal 20.3 (1926): 447. ↩︎
- Butt, Masood Sadiq, and M. Tauseef Sultan. “Coffee and its consumption: benefits and risks.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 51.4 (2011): 363-373. ↩︎
- Rodda, Simone, et al. “Mechanisms for the reduction of caffeine consumption: What, how and why.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 212 (2020): 108024. ↩︎
- Bhoo-Pathy, Nirmala, et al. “Coffee and tea consumption and risk of pre-and postmenopausal breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study.” Breast Cancer Research 17.1 (2015): 1-12. ↩︎