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Contrary to Popular Belief, Drinking This Every Day Doesn’t Cause Dehydration


My love for my daily cup of java (or two or three) knows no bounds. In fact, it’s the first thing I sip in the morning before water. Because of this, I’ve often wondered, “Does coffee dehydrate you over time?” if you drink it daily like I do. New research offers some reassuring news for us coffee lovers that’s not likely to be the cause of dehydration!

Is coffee dehydrating or hydrating?

A study published in PLOS One looked at whether daily coffee consumption impacted hydration levels. Participants included 50 coffee drinkers between the ages of 18 and 46 years old, all of whom regularly drank three to six cups of coffee a day. (Note: The participants in this study were all men.) They took part in two study trials, each lasting three consecutive days. Groups were asked to consume four mugs of either black coffee or water per day. Urine and blood samples were collected during the trials to measure each participant’s hydration status.

By the end of the study period, researchers couldn’t find any significant differences in hydration levels between the group who drank water and the coffee-drinkers. Thus, they concluded that drinking coffee isn’t directly associated with dehydration.

Registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD, notes that drinking a caffeine-rich beverage like coffee has a mild diuretic effect on your body, which causes you to go to the bathroom more often. But, she confirms that it’s unlikely moderate coffee consumption can increase the risk of dehydration overall.

What drinks cause dehydration?

With coffee getting the green light as a safe beverage to drink that won’t dehydrate you, you might be wondering — which ones might? Emily Senay, MD, MPH, warns that alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks can lower the amount of fluids your body retains. Symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, fatigue, and dizziness. If you’re experiencing any of those, speak with your doctor to learn how to reverse and prevent them in the future.

One easy way to avoid dehydration? Follow Dr. Senay’s suggestion to limit your intake of those drinks and make water your go-to beverage. Not only will you stay hydrated, but drinking six or more glasses of water a day has been shown to increase happiness and energy.

I can definitely breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that drinking coffee should be the least of my worries when it comes to hydration. And I’ll definitely have extra glass or two of water each day to ensure that I’m getting enough!

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