Many people try to quench their thirst with the first soft drink they find on hand. Although it seems that any option is good to replace the lost liquid, certain drinks cause dehydration.
It is important not to abuse them, since they do not quench thirst, nor do they serve to hydrate cells, especially in summer when fluid loss is greatest. Which are? We present them below.
The importance of being well hydrated
About 60% of the weight of the human body corresponds to the water content. This varies according to age but is greater in infants and young children, and less during old age. In any case, this percentage gives us an idea of how important hydration is for the body.
Cells and organs need this fluid to function optimally. When the amount drops, whether, through sweat, urine, feces, or breathing, dehydration occurs. The main negative effects derived from the lack of water are the following:
- Low physical performance and feeling of fatigue.
- Alterations in mood and cognitive ability.
- Worst gastrointestinal function.
- Greater difficulty in kidney function.
- Confusion and dizziness
- Infrequent and dark urine.
- The strong feeling of thirst.
Drinks that cause dehydration
Thirst is one of the first signals the body sends to indicate that it is necessary to hydrate. You have to trust it, as some studies suggest that fluid needs are variable, and you can’t set a quantity for everyone.
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However, there is more consensus on the strategy to hydrate. Drinking water is the best option, apart from eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, or broths, which have a large percentage of liquid in their composition.
Beyond water, it is essential to pay attention to how we hydrate since there are drinks that cause dehydration. This becomes more relevant in the summer season since high temperatures further increase fluid loss.
Alcoholic beverages are not a good option to hydrate the body. The reason is that they have a marked diuretic effect on the body, which can vary according to the graduation of the type of drink.
It has also been observed that it can affect in different ways, especially if people were in a state of good hydration or with a small water deficit.
In any case, and due to its negative effects, it is not positive to recommend alcohol intake. It is also not good to use it as a fluid replacement drink.
2. Sugary drinks
This group includes a large number of different products. They all have in common that they provide a large amount of sugar in their composition, and few or no nutrients. Some examples are commercial lemonades, oranges, soda, or cola.
Its main problem stems, precisely, from its abundant sugar content. Some data highlight and warn that sugary drinks are not a good method to replace liquids once dehydration has occurred. Its effect may be contrary.
According to the evidence, they can also cause overhydration and an excessive burden on the kidney. This added to its relationship with metabolic problems, such as diabetes and obesity.
3. Drinks for sport
The data shows that most sports drinks are hydrating, as they provide the liquid and electrolytes that are lost with excessive heat. Despite this, considering them an option for hydration is a mistake.
Its composition is designed for athletes or people with an intense load of activity. Ingesting them excessively carries the risk of negative health effects. Of these, the following stand out:
- Some are formulated with ingredients like caffeine, which causes an exciting and diuretic effect on the body.
- They can have taurine and other substances with a stimulating capacity.
- Those rich in sugar can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea.
- They provide a large number of calories without nutrients.
Coffee is a drink that has a diuretic effect. For this reason, there is controversy about whether it can be classified as one of the drinks that cause dehydration.
Although there is variability between people, the data shows that this effect appears with high doses of caffeine. On the other hand, it does not occur at lower or moderate doses.
Studies conclude that coffee, consumed within normal life guidelines, does not induce a greater loss of liquids than those ingested.
But what is considered a high dose? According to the Administration Food and Drug Administration US (FDA), the limit would be 400 mg of caffeine for a healthy adult.
The best option to stay hydrated.
Given the importance of water balance, especially during the summer, here are some tips to ensure optimal hydration.
- Drink a variety of liquids among the most suitable to hydrate the body: water, sparkling water, homemade fruit water, infusions, or broths.
- Eat many fruits and vegetables.
- Always have a bottle of liquid on hand, especially for children and the elderly, as it seems that thirst signals are not as effective at these ages.
- Avoid making great efforts and outdoor activities in the central hours of the day.
In summer, it is better to avoid drinks that cause dehydration.
Dehydration can cause health problems in the summer. Therefore, it is best to avoid those drinks that can cause this state. Instead, it’s best to choose varieties that help provide your body with fluids and mineral salts.