By nature, people love to rationalize their behavior. We minimize or over-exaggerate when it’s to our benefit. When it was discovered that dark chocolate was rich with antioxidants, if a little was good for you, then eating a pound at a time had to be better.
Coffee drinkers are like that. Not the one cup-a-day-of-convenience-store-coffee people. I’m talking about serious coffee drinkers.
For many years, we felt under attack.
- Coffee is bad for you.
- You shouldn’t drink coffee.
- Coffee is the root of all physical evils.
Everywhere we turned, we heard warnings about drinking coffee. News reports cited study after study, showing the negative impacts of drinking coffee. “Caffeine blah blah blah.”
But something started happening a few years ago. We began hearing about the positive benefits of drinking coffee. At first, the naysayers dismissed the new information as desperate attempts by coffee lovers to justify their habits. Eventually, however, the information became so overwhelming even the skeptics had to admit there was something good about drinking coffee.
One by one, the early objections to coffee drinking began to get peeled away. It doesn’t grow hair on your chest or stunt your growth (unless you never progress beyond drinking Folgers coffee; then your growth has been stunted).
One objection to coffee drinking had to do with the fact that caffeine is a diuretic. Without getting too juvenile, a diuretic is something that produces an increase in the passing of urine. In other words, it makes you pee more. The rap on coffee was that drinking coffee made you lose more water than you gained. Due to the diuretic effect, drinking coffee resulted in a net loss of hydration.
New research is challenging that.
Marie Barone is a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator at UC Davis Medical Center in California. In an article in Men’s Journal, Ms. Barone had this to say about drinking coffee:
“Drinking a moderate amount of coffee (1–3 cups) is not going cause dehydration and the water used to make the coffee absolutely counts toward fluid intake.”
In layman's terms, moderate coffee drinking isn't going to make you pee more than water would Click To Tweet … and you get to count the water towards your daily intake requirements.
Can we hold hands and join in singing the Hallelujah Chorus!
What a study published in PLUS One Journal found is that if a person is not a regular consumer of coffee and begins drinking coffee, the diuretic effect is more pronounced. It does dehydrate you. However — and this is a BIG however — for people who regularly drink coffee, they build up a tolerance to the diuretic impulses and their bodies actually absorb the water.
The researchers also point out that coffee includes many other chemicals besides just caffeine and can’t be compared to other caffeinated beverages such as sodas. So, their research doesn’t mean you can drink a gallon of Diet Coke and expect it to be beneficial.
I wouldn’t recommend taking a steaming hot cup of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to the gym. It might not dehydrate you but you might encounter other problems. But I also wouldn’t live in fear of dehydration. Stop apologizing. Drink good coffee and celebrate your hydration.