Drink Right: Why Some Drinks Don’t Quench Your Thirst

Spring has sprung and soon enough summer will be here! During the summer heat, it’s common for people to become dehydrated. If you are dehydrated you may become tired and irritable with dry skin, headaches and dizziness. To combat these unwanted symptoms, it’s crucial to drink up. More importantly, it is vital to drink more water.

 

While you may think iced coffee is a nice refreshing drink, some beverages are actually dehydrating. Namely the drinks high in sugar, caffeine, and/or protein. So why is this the case?

 

Sugar

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Sugars, even if they are fruit sugars, are dangerous to the body in high concentrations. To prevent harm to the body, water is pulled out of the body’s tissues and put towards the sugar where it is diluted. Pulling water from the tissues dehydrates the cells, which will inevitably induce a headache. Following this path of needing to remove sugar from the body, excess sugar is often dumped into one’s urine causing more water loss. All of a sudden that fruit smoothie causes more damage than it did good when keeping you well hydrated.

 

Caffeine

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Similarly, large amounts of caffeine create a diuretic effect. This diuretic effect means your body will produce and remove urine more frequently. It goes without saying that this greatly increases water loss and can cause dehydration. Rest assured, one iced coffee does not contain enough caffeine to serve as a major dehydrator. While there is a lot of controversy on the amount of caffeine that creates a diuretic effect, studies show one must consume 500 mg of caffeine before the effect is prevalent.

 

Protein

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Protein too produces the same kind of effect. When protein enters the body, it is broken down in urea. The urea is the nitrogenous component of the protein. As the body encounters this imbalance of nitrogen in the body, it goes to work to remove any excess and return to homeostasis. Once again, this nitrogen is excreted in the urine. Athletes are no exception. If rigorous workout and long hours training creates a need for excess protein, it is imperative for increase water intake of these athletes. A 2014 study shows Americans are consuming more protein than they need; 1.5 times they need to be more specific. Vegans probably have the lowest chance of consuming too much protein as the bulk of protein is animal based, but it is still important to be aware of the risks that can come from too much protein.

 

When it comes down to it, pure water remains the most effective drink in rehydrating the body. As always, moderation is key. Coffee, black tea, and other caffeinated beverages are not likely to cause serious dehydration unless they are consumed in a great abundance.

 

It is important to be conscientious of these following beverages:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Caffeinated Tea
  • Protein Shakes

 

Looking for ways to make your water a little more interesting?

Water infused with fruit is a great balance of flavor and hydration!

Image Credit: Green Blender
Alaina Carstensen

Gastronomy Content Contributor

Alaina Carstensen is a high school senior at Milton High School. Alaina is a dog lover and a tea fanatic who absolutely loves being in the kitchen. She takes every possible opportunity to cook a fresh meal.