If you enjoy a few cups of coffee every day, but have been struggling to get in all that extra water on top of that, you aren’t alone!
But it turns out, you might not have to…
But doesn’t coffee make you dehydrated?
Starting with a study in the 20’s, that found that drinking coffee caused an increase in urine output (it was a diuretic), it was since assumed that coffee had a dehydrating effect. As a result, we were told things like- “drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee you have” or “coffee dehydrates you, it doesn’t count towards your 8 glasses of water a day.”
Recent research has shown that it’s much more complicated than that. It would appear that caffeine intake actually doesn’t affect hydration status compared to drinking plain water, that although yes caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, that our body is quite good at developing a tolerance to this. That’s based on 400mg or less a day, go over 500mg a day and our body doesn’t manage quite so well.
But that’s pretty good, as a standard cup of instant coffee has around 70-80mg of caffeine, a cup or brewed/filter coffee is closer to 100-120mg. So around 3-5 cups a day appears to be just fine in terms of your hydration.
I heard coffee is good for you, should I start drinking more?
When taking into account coffee itself, there’s plenty of research showing a moderate amount has some health benefits, protecting against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, liver cancer, and heart disease, but there are some good reasons to limit intake as well.
Some individuals experience anxiety or the jitters as a result of having caffeine, plus it can make heartburn or certain digestive issues such as in Crohn’s disease worse, and cause some instabilities in blood sugar levels.
The take home message here is that everyone will react to coffee differently, and if you tolerate it well, feel free to enjoy a few cups a day, and count them towards your fluid allowance too!