Caffeine: Is it dehydrating or not?

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Caffeine: Is it dehydrating or not?

Question

I've been seeing ads that say cola and coffee drinks hydrate you as well as water does. Is this true?

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Answer

It is true. Researchers used to believe that caffeinated drinks had a diuretic effect. This means that you would urinate more after drinking them, which could increase your risk of becoming dehydrated. Recent research shows that this is not true and that caffeine has a diuretic effect only if you consume large amounts of it — more than 500 to 600 milligrams (the equivalent of 5 to 7 cups of coffee) a day.

Still, caffeinated drinks can make you jittery, sleepless or anxious. Water is probably your best bet to stay hydrated. It's calorie-free, caffeine-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Last Updated: 2011-08-20
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