As the weather becomes cooler and the shorter the days get, the more coffee I consume. Especially on gloomy rainy days, coffee is a must. I used to think I needed to drink more water throughout the day when I had more than my usual 1 cup of coffee, but studies have shown for years now, that moderate habitual coffee consumption does not have a dehydrating effect. When I say moderate habitual coffee consumption, I mean 3-6 cups a day. If you need a refresher on the studies done a few years ago, or want to see for yourself, the studies are below.
What does this mean?
Caffeine is a mild diuretic, which means that it activates the kidneys to get rid of excess sodium and water. However, when drinking coffee or tea, you are drinking liquid with the diuretic caffeine, and thus are adding to the liquid so nothing is actually lost.
This doesn’t mean you can replace all water intake with coffee or tea, but it can be counted towards your liquid intake for the day for hydration.
If you are needing to rehydrate after working out, being in the heat for a long period of time, or being sick, water and sports drinks are still the best option. Also, right after waking up, water is still the best option since you are more than likely dehydrated from 6-8+ hours of not having any liquids. So rehydrate before caffeine, but you shouldn’t worry about caffeine dehydrating you in a hydrated state. Did that make sense at all?
And remember, everyone has their limit of caffeine that they can handle. Some can not handle any type of caffeine. Some can take certain types, but not others. And some are tolerant to it and can consume more. Where ever you are in the spectrum, as long as its in moderation, coffee and tea are not dehydrating to your system.
So enjoy your cup of joe in the morning! Mornings are for coffee and hydration or…late morning…afternoon…evening…