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Is Coffee Dehydrating? (Unveiling The Truth)

Is Coffee Dehydrating? (Unveiling The Truth)

Brief Answer: It’s very unlikely coffee can make you dehydrate.

Coffee is not only a delight to your taste buds but it offers you a quick energy fix and a variety of health benefits.

If you are going through a grumpy afternoon slump or thinking about pulling an all-nighter, the first route of help that might cross your mind is a freshly prepared cup of coffee.

Caffeine is one of the main constituents present in coffee. It serves as a psychoactive stimulant.

But as the food regulators suggest, the caffeine intake should not exceed the recommended guidelines if you do not want to experience any irregular physiological issues.

Also, many people might conceive the idea that over-consumption of the beverage may lead to dehydration due to its diuretic effect.

If you are concerned about the diuretic effect, this article will help you understand whether your favorite drink is affecting the hydration level of your body or not.

Let’s dig deeper then!

Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

Coffee is unlikely to dehydrate you.

As suggested by Mayo Clinic, the caffeine present in the drink has diuretic effects but drinking caffeine-containing beverages regularly won’t cause fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested.

Along with stimulating the neurotransmitters in the brain, caffeine may also increase the blood flow to your kidneys, which would cause them to release more water through urine.

Thus the drink won’t necessarily dehydrate you but the caffeine supplement might encourage urination if a higher concentration of it is consumed, leading to a change in your hydration status.

How Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

It is true that caffeinated drinks including coffee can contribute to your daily fluid requirement but remember that there is a limit to the quantity the caffeine can be ingested into a body.

As mentioned earlier, caffeine is a mild diuretic, which means that it causes your kidneys to flush extra sodium and water from the body through urine immediately after its consumption.

As the experts suggest, you are not likely to get dehydrated by the consumption of coffee if you are not overdoing it.

Coffee will cause dehydration only when you are having a very strong cup of joe on daily basis and when you exceed the recommended caffeine quantity. If you are sipping over too many cups, then you may rush to the washroom more often. But this situation is not something to worry about.

The diuretic effect is generally prevalent among people who seldomly drink coffee.

Those who drink coffee on regular basis, tend to increase their caffeine tolerance and eventually do not experience any dehydrating effects.

Caffeine Content In Some Types of Coffee

Different types of coffee contain different amounts of caffeine.

As a result, the diuretic effect from the drink will depend on the type of coffee you are having and the roast style of the beans. So, this will eventually affect your hydration status differently.

Briefly look at this table to see the caffeine content of some types of coffee:

Type of CoffeeCaffeine Content
Brewed Coffee (240 ml cup)70 to 140 mg or around 95 mg on average per serving
Instant Coffee 30 to 90 mg per 8 oz cup
Latte128 mg caffeine (depends on the espresso shot)
Mocha12.67 mg per 100 ml
Espresso63 mg per shot at 30 to 50 ml
Decaf0 to 7 mg or around 3 mg per 8 oz
Caffeine Content of Different Coffee Variants

Does Morning Coffee Have An Effect on Dehydration?

The morning coffee will serve some fluid essentials to your body.

The effect of coffee on your dehydration depends on how much you have ingested.

Coffee acts as a quick energy fix and makes you prepared for a lively day. Many people opt for drinking the caffeinated source for refreshment.

However, medical reviews suggest not to drink coffee the first thing in the morning. This is because the drink can be harmful to your stomach as it may injure the stomach linings and cause the release of hydrochloric acid in the digestive system.

Also, if you ever had problems with gastritis, you already know how bad it feels for your body.

If you are thinking of drinking your morning coffee immediately after waking up, be mindful of your biological clock and hormone balance.

Even if it may serve your hydration levels, still your body may not fully decompose the proteins from the drink and lead to inflammation later on.

Do take your daily dose of caffeine only after eating a healthy breakfast or with a balanced meal containing fruits and fibers.

Read this article to learn more about whether coffee is enough for breakfast.

Can You Drink Coffee When You Are Dehydrated?

If you are already feeling dehydrated, then the best fluid serving will be just plain water. But if you cannot go without your cup of joe, just keep your intake under check and you are good to go.

Yes, you can drink coffee when you are dehydrated.

Just to be on the safer side, do not over-consume. If you consume more than four cups of coffee per day, the body will show short-term diuretic effects leading to a jittery feeling.

Other symptoms of diuretic effects may include:

  • dizziness
  • muscle cramps
  • joint disorders
  • light headedness
  • bowel changes

Healthline also suggests that coffee drinking is as hydrating as drinking water. So don’t worry if you are having it on daily basis to hydrate yourself.

Just be sure you are not sensitive to caffeine and drink in moderation.

Does Coffee Count As Water Intake?

According to multiple reviews and registered dietitians, coffee counts toward your daily fluid intake.

Thus, even the caffeine in coffee may have a diuretic effect, it’s unlikely to dehydrate you. The caffeine intake may cause you to flush fluids frequently from your body, but since it is mild it doesn’t really offset the normal hydration process.

Bear in mind caffeine consumption quantity exceeds the healthy intake quantity or in general over 500 mg per day to have significant diuretic effects.

A study conducted on 10 casual coffee drinkers showed the impact of drinking 6.8 oz (200 ml) of water, lower caffeine coffee (269 mg of caffeine), and high caffeine coffee (537 mg of caffeine) on the change of hydration status of the body.

It was found that drinkers of high caffeine coffee experienced short-term diuretic effects while the drinker of water and low caffeine coffee showed no changes in the body’s hydration. In fact, both the fluids were hydrating.

So, even if you feel that coffee is making you urinate more frequently, it doesn’t dehydrate you.

In fact, it hydrates you just as much water and you do not lose fluid as much you put in your body!

Does Coffee Quench Your Thirst?

It does for a short period!

Though coffee helps with your dehydration issue, it is not wise to drink it if you are thirsty and need quick fluid influx in your body.

If you drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage when you’re thirsty, it may feel like the drink quenches your thirst quickly at the moment. It does quench your thirst at the moment since it moistens and hydrates your inner mouth and fills up your stomach with liquid fluids.

On the contrary, this might not be a healthy option since the sensation of feeling thirsty indicates the lack of water in your body as shown by Healthfully.

The academic journal “Psychopharmacology” reviews that the caffeinated beverage may even increase your thirst if you are not a regular drinker.

A cup of coffee, a glass of water and a plate of cookies.
Coffee is a fluid source but it does not necessarily quench your thirst as water does.

Moreover, health experts do not recommend drinking coffee or any other caffeinated source to quench your thirst.

Even though coffee might quench your desire for fluids temporarily, only water will be the fruitful option since you can drink it as much as you want without having thoughts regarding any side effects.

Why Coffee Is Not Dehydrating?

For caffeine to have a significant diuretic effect, studies show that you need to consume more than 500 mg per day or the equivalent of 5 cups of brewed coffee.

If you think about this in a general way then the diuretic effect may lead to more visits to toilets, expelling more fluid from your body.

Fortunately, your body doesn’t work in that way.

When you prepare coffee, you brew it with water and add other fluids into it like syrups or milk. So eventually coffee balances out the diuretic effects from the stimulant and keeps your hydration level.

Your body will absorb only the amount of fluid it needs and flush the rest.

Nevertheless, for better functionality of your body, there is no second option to water.

So, drink lots of it and your cup of joe won’t have any impact on your hydration levels!

How Long Does Coffee Act As A Diuretic?

The caffeine present in the coffee begins to affect your body very quickly.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine explains that the effects of the stimulant reach a peak level in your blood within 30 to 60 minutes of consumption. The stimulant is estimated to have a half-life of three to five hours.

That means the body will take three to five hours of time to eliminate half of the drug. The next half-life will eliminate another half of the remaining drug but the time period may be more than 5 hours in this case.

You tend to experience the best-enhanced feeling during the peak level and as it approaches the half-life, the refreshing sensation gradually dwindles.

During this period, you may feel the urgency to visit the washroom frequently, if you have over-consumed the amount or if you are not a regular drinker.

The jittery feeling may persist in people for several days if they have a caffeine sensitivity.

How Do You Stop The Diuretic Effect of Coffee?

To counter the diuretic effects, adapt the following steps:

  • Pay attention to your body’s caffeine sensitivity.
  • Dilute the caffeinated beverage as per needs.
  • Replace your morning coffee with an alternative source like black tea or green tea.
  • Drink coffee as a complementary.
  • Avoid coffee on an empty stomach.

Take a look at this video to learn more about the diuretic effects of coffee!

WATCH & LEARN: Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

Will Drinking Only Coffee Keep You Hydrated?

Drinking just coffee can’t keep you hydrated.

The body needs water to balance out nutrients and absorb them better. Even if coffee will keep your body hydrated, there are other supplements present in the drink which doesn’t really serve the purpose same as plain water.

Though you may get your daily fluid needs from coffee, caffeine does have a slight diuretic effect depending on the dosage – the reason you cannot over-consume it.

The recommended intake of water is about eight cups of 64 fluid oz for a healthy individual. However, you cannot consume such a high amount of caffeinated drink for a safe hydration level.

So limit your coffee and add it to your fluid intake along with drinking water.

People with low caffeine tolerance are advised to drink more water to keep their hydration levels under check. Again, do not rely fully on coffee just to keep you hydrated.

Also if you are adding cream or sugar to your coffee, this might level up your calorie and sugar intake. So, consider how you make your coffee.

Final Say (Is Coffee Dehydrating?)

Coffee is not dehydrating your body.

Coffee serves as a wonderful energy fix for you, no matter when you are having it.

This article from Johns Hopkins Medicines clearly shows the benefits offered from the regular consumption of coffee. Many people consume it religiously and firmly believe that it improves their productivity.

If you are still wondering if the confusion created on the internet regarding whether your favorite drink is causing your body’s dehydration, then I would say don’t believe it.

Several reviews and studies have been affirmative to the point that coffee is as hydrating as water and serves essential nutrients to your body.

Surely, it’s not something to consume against water since water is superior, right? This is because caffeine stimulants and various additive supplements are present in coffee.

Now, enjoy your coffee and be sure to stay hydrated!