Is Coffee As Dehydrating As People Say? The Studies Are In


Can’t live without your morning cup of coffee? Neither can we. It may live rent-free in our heads, but the catchy jingle, “the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup,” holds some truth. Coffee, regardless of the brand, is a staple for many that get them through the day.

Even with the brew’s huge fanbase, it has been repeatedly maligned and associated with health issues. But should we stop picking on coffee? In the past, we discussed how coffee may reduce dementia and stroke risk, in addition to its positive effect on cardiovascular health and life expectancy.

Still, there’s a widespread belief that coffee has a negative effect on our health. In particular, due to its caffeine content, which many believe to be a diuretic that causes dehydration. However, it turns out that’s not necessarily the case.

The Truth Of Coffee Being Dehydrating

The myth that coffee is dehydrating started with a nearly-100-year-old study that has been extensively challenged over the years. More recent studies have shown that drinking coffee and tea (and even low-alcohol beer) isn’t that different from drinking water.

RELATED: The Shocking Reason You Should Never Drink Coffee Or Tea On A Flight 

Until recently, caffeinated beverages were thought to dehydrate the body rather than hydrate it. You’ve probably heard the saying that for every cup of coffee or two cups of black tea, you should drink one cup of water to counteract the diuretic effects. However, research indicates that moderate consumption of caffeinated drinks provides the same amount of hydration as non-caffeinated drinks.

Multiple studies dating from 1966 to a 2014 clinical trial revealed that caffeine leads to minimal fluid loss. In a 2003 research review, the authors determined that there is no evidence that drinking caffeinated beverages causes fluid loss or poor hydration. 

A 2014 study comparing caffeine with water ingestion in 50 men showed that caffeine could cause a minor increase in urination when consumed in large amounts if the drinker isn’t accustomed to it. But tolerance is easily developed and when consumed in moderation, caffeine was no different than non-caffeinated drinks when it came to hydration. 

So, coffee lovers, you’re off the hook. That morning cup of Joe (and the second) counts towards your daily requirement of eight glasses of water. Coffee doesn’t dehydrate you, consider that myth debunked! 

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