Dehydration at a glance: things worth knowing, types of drinks and tips (2023)

Hydration is the process of making sure the body has enough water. Hydration is important to every cell in the body that uses water for a variety of functions, such as waste removal and nutrient absorption.

Although the liquid component of manydrinks, it is includedGroceries, can help hydrate the body, some liquids can have the opposite effect.

Beverages and ingredients that act as diuretics, which are substances that increase urine production, can have a dehydrating effect if a person is not careful to balance them with adequate fluid intake from other sources.

Drinks with large amounts ofAlcohol,Caffeine, zZuckerthey act more like diuretics in the body and promote dehydration. Below is a list of drink types that fall into these categories.

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Alcohol acts as a diuretic in the body. This means that it encourages the body to excrete more fluid than normal through the urine. As the body processes alcohol, it encourages additional urination to quickly remove alcohol and its waste products from the body.

While drinking extra fluids usually leads to more frequent urination, a diuretic fluid like alcohol will encourage the body to excrete even more fluids.

If a person does not get enough hydration along with drinking alcohol, the alcohol can cause dehydration. In general, the higher the alcohol content of a drink, the more dehydrating it can be.

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For example surveys2017found that older men are at riskdehydration, the moderate consumption of beverages with a high alcoholic content, such as wine and spirits, caused a diuretic effect. Low-alcohol drinks such as beer do not appear to have this effect.

also oneStudy 2018notes that alcohol can reduce a compound namedvasopressinin the body. Vasopressin is an antidiuretic that helps the body retain water. The decrease in vasopressin can prevent the body from retaining the water it needs, which promotes dehydration.

beer and cider

Beer and cider have a lower alcohol content than other alcoholic beverages and are less dehydrating. EITHERalcoholic contentBeer can vary widely, but is typically between 2-8% alcohol by volume (ABV). Cider or fermented apple juice has an ABV of around 5%.

The bodycan toleratea moderate intake of beer without dehydration.


Wine generally has a higher alcohol content than beer and cider, which can contribute to more frequent urination and dehydration. The alcohol content of wine can range from approx.10–20 %ABV.

Wine also tends to have higher levels of sugar, which can further contribute to its dehydrating effects.


Spirits tend to be much higher in alcohol content and significantly less fluid than other alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration. Spiritus ABV varies widely and can be as high as95%.

Some people may also combine alcoholic beverages with other beverages and ingredients in mixed drinks. Drinks that are high in sugar or caffeine combined with alcohol in mixed drinks can make symptoms worse for some people.

caffeinated drinks

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Caffeine can act as a mild diuretic in some cases. A small amount of caffeine may not be a problem for most people, although increasing caffeinated beverages may increase your overall caffeine intake.

look for2017notes that low caffeine intake does not cause dehydration. Participants who consumed more than 500 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day exhibited fluid imbalance due to the diuretic effects of caffeineCoffee shop.

Significantly high caffeine intake can contribute to dehydration by stimulating the body to release more fluid than normal.

Coffee shop

The cafe usually has about95-165 mgCaffeine per 8 ounce (oz) cup.

Drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee a daypossiblyacceptable practice to maintain moderate coffee consumption. Increased coffee consumption can have a diuretic effect that promotes dehydration.


Although tea tends to contain less caffeine than coffee, higher tea consumption can still increase the total amount of caffeine a person consumes daily and lead to dehydration.

In addition, many teas may also contain high levels of sweetened lactose, sugar, or syrup, which may not be particularly hydrating or thirst-quenching.


Soft drinks often contain caffeine and large amounts of sugar. Consuming an ice cold soda may seem refreshing at first, but it probably won't quench a person's thirst in the long run.

look for2016found that the sensation of a cold, fizzy drink made people believe that the drink was better at quenching thirst. This can cause you to decrease your intake of extra fluids after a drink like soda, which can worsen the effects of dehydration.

energy drinks

energy drinksMay contain a combination of draining ingredients. They are often high in caffeine and sugar, and may contain other added ingredients that stimulate the kidneys and act as diuretics.

Experts believe that too much sugar can worsen dehydration and other symptoms. This is probably due to the interaction of sugar and water in the cells. A higher intake of sugar causes the cells of the body to transfer more water and increases urination.

Lower fluid levels in the body decrease cell volume, which can affect a person's performance.glycemia.

When a person has very high blood sugar levels, their body can draw water from other areas to balance the volume of cells. This can affect cell hydration. Higher blood sugar can also cause the body to urinate more to get rid of excess sugar, which can affect dehydration. The magnitude of these effects and their duration may vary.

A2020Study finds dehydration can increaseglucagon, a hormone used to maintain blood sugar or blood sugar levels. This can be an indicator of elevated blood sugar levels.

Dehydration can also affect the blood sugar response in some, e.g.Type 2 diabetes. look for2017found that people with diabetes who drank little water for 3 days had an altered blood sugar response.

Another study of2018found that this altered response does not occur in healthy individuals, but that mild dehydration causes some blood sugar responses similar to those of diabetes.

It is important to note that the increase in blood sugar from the consumption of high-sugar beverages can stimulate the body to eliminate excess sugar, but does not necessarily lead to dehydration.

Those who want to reduce their consumption of sugary drinks should avoid the following:

  • sweetened fruit juice
  • fruit cocktails
  • tea and sweetened soft drinks
  • energy drinks
  • Coffee and tea drinks with added sugar or syrup
  • mixed drinks
  • high sugar sports drinks
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The following general tips can help a person stay hydrated and avoid consuming too many dehydrating drinks:

  • Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of hydrating fluids, such as water, per day.
  • Carry a bottle of water and drink regularly throughout the day.
  • Eat additional foods that are high in water content, such as soups, stews, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Cut back on alcoholic, high-caffeinated, and sugary drinks when you feel thirsty
  • Ensure that the body is adequately hydrated before and during alcohol consumption.
  • Understanding personal tolerance to alcohol and caffeine to avoid excessive consumption
  • Dilute sugary drinks with extra water for a bit of flavor with more hydration

Making dietary changes to replace dehydrating drinks can also be helpful. Over time, these changes can become habits and help resolve dehydration issues.

Some examples of hydrating drinks are:

  • Agua
  • infused water, made with the addition of ingredients such as basil,lemon, ocucumberswater a while
  • coconut water
  • sports drinks that contain electrolytes
  • decaffeinated infusions and herbal teas
  • soda water
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Proper hydration is essential for the proper functioning of the body. While most fluid-rich foods and beverages provide the body with water to use and stay hydrated, some beverages can act as diuretics with the opposite effect. This can make problems like dehydration worse.

Taking steps to avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic, caffeinated, and sugary beverages can help a person avoid dehydration. Water, electrolyte sports drinks, and certain herbal teas are better options for staying hydrated.


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