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What is the Connection Between Caffeine and Dehydration?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Caffeine and dehydration are two terms often used together because of the widely held belief that drinks containing caffeine are capable of dehydrating a person. Drinking coffee, sodas, or any other caffeinated beverages seems to have a diuretic effect on some people. This means that they cause the kidneys to produce more fluid, which may cause a person to urinate more. As a result, many people fear that they will become dehydrated because they appear to be losing all of the fluid they are taking in. After lots of research, scientists have finally determined that caffeine and dehydration are likely not connected.

The studies that have been conducted indicate that caffeine is no more a diuretic than water. When a person drinks a caffeinated beverage, such as tea, coffee, or soda, she or he does typically retain some of the fluid. It is true that caffeine has a slight diuretic effect, but likely not enough to be cause for concern. Research has additionally shown that people who consume caffeine regularly do not experience the diuretic effect to as great a degree as people who are not used to drinking a lot of caffeine. This new evidence suggests that because caffeine is no more a diuretic than water, it can be considered a source of hydration rather than a reason to be concerned about dehydration.

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Athletes and other people who regularly participate in sports have often been warned about consuming too much caffeine just before a game or working out. The concern was that the caffeine intake combined with the excess fluid lost from sweating during exercise could lead to dehydration very quickly. Research conducted regarding caffeine and dehydration has shown no reason for a person to be concerned about consuming caffeine during, or just before, exercise or sports participation. The burst of energy that caffeine causes may actually help boost an athlete's performance and endurance level.

Even though caffeine and dehydration are not likely related, there is still reason for most people to use caution when consuming caffeinated beverages. Too much caffeine is not considered healthy because it can cause a person to feel jittery and nervous and can contribute to insomnia. It also tends to be addictive, and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms might result if a person tries to do without it after being used to it for a long time. Caffeine can be hydrating and can help boost mental alertness and energy, but it should probably be consumed in moderation. People who have any serious health problems should additionally speak with their doctors about how much, if any, caffeine is safe for them to consume.

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