They think that caffeine, which is a diuretic, makes you have to pee more, which means that you will lose more water than you’re actually taking in.
But here’s the truth, according to Dr. Douglas Casa, a professor at the University of Connecticut, you’re actually going to retain a lot of fluid from drinking soda. By all means, water is your best choice when you need to stay hydrated.
But if you are thirsty, and you choose to drink a diet soda instead of water, you shouldn’t worry that it’s going to worsen the effects of dehydration.
The same goes true for other caffeinated drinks that people think will dehydrate you.
Both Coffee and Tea well contribute to your daily fluid requirement.
The general rule of thumb that you can apply to caffeinated drinks is a two-thirds rule. If you drink 16 oz. of soda, then that is roughly equivalent to drinking 12 oz. of water.
So as you can see, you are still hydrating yourself, just not as effective as if you were to drink 16 oz. of water.
So, Why Did My Mom/Sister/Best Friend Say Diet Soda Dehydrates?
So why do people think that diet soda will dehydrate you?
That’s because at first, scientists thought that things like coffee and tea were diuretics, in that they caused you to go to the bathroom more than normal.
So initial studies, and some anecdotal evidence lead people to believe that when you drink things with caffeine in them, you pee more. And this is true.
See, caffeine can affect the production of a specific antidiuretic hormone.
This antidiuretic hormone is produced by the pituitary gland in your brain.
Normally this hormone travels to the kidneys and it causes you to retain water to keep you hydrated.
It makes you pee less when you haven’t had enough water.
Caffeine, however, causes this hormone to not be released. Then your kidney is no longer retaining water and you end up peeing a little bit more.
However, the amount of caffeine that you drink is extremely important in calculating its diuretic effect.
When you consider that a single can of diet soda contains roughly 29 mg of caffeine, it’s not going to inhibit the production of the antidiuretic hormone.
In fact, according to a study done in 2003 titled “Caffeine Ingestion and Fluid Balance: A Review” published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, they found out that 250mg is roughly the breakpoint for the diuretic effect.
Lower than that much caffeine and there is no significant diuretic effect.
If you ingest more than that then you are going to the bathroom more than you usually do.
So considering that your diet soda has 29 mg of caffeine per 12 oz. can, to hit 250mg, you would need to drink about 9 to 10 cans of soda at once to cause a significant impact on your hydration.
Compare that to the 95 mg in a single 8 oz. cup of coffee, and you can see where the misinformation started.
Drink 2 and one-half cups of coffee and you’re hitting that diuretic break point. Even black tea has 47 mg per cup, so five cups of tea and you’re there.
So in the long run, having the occasional bottle of diet soda isn’t going to make you dehydrated.
A good bunch of grapes or a handful of grape tomatoes will go a long way toward getting some much needed hydration into your body.
And you’ll also be getting fiber, vitamins, and minerals along with it. Try to go for fruits that aren’t starchy, like apples or stone fruit.
You can also quench your thirst and your craving to nibble on something by munching on lettuce. It might sound strange, but one cup of lettuce can provide up to a quarter cup of water and a gram of fiber.
And watermelon is nearly 92% water, so a cup of watermelon is nearly equivalent to 8 oz. of water.
So go crazy and mix it up. Grab some mint and a cucumber and throw a few slices and a couple of sprigs into your water jug.
Add some strawberries and a few slices of orange in for a fruity refreshing drink. Heck, even just two lemons quartered and added to a gallon of water can make all the difference when it comes to making getting your 8 glasses of water every day more pleasant.
Don’t be shy when it comes to trying out flavor combinations either.
Chopped raisins and blackberries add a sweet summer taste that seems strange, but is subtle and refreshing.
It’s hard to know if you should be drinking water now, or later.
Thankfully, there’s an app for that.
You can find numerous health and nutrition apps that are more than happy to help you track your water intake. And by pressing the little buttons and getting a notification, you’re also tapping into the positive feedback portion of your brain that releases a little dopamine, your natural feel good hormone.
I'm Chris Watson, the chap that brings you Soda Pop Craft.
Like many, I'm a HUGE soda drinks fan and have an obsession with making, testing, and trying the myriad of flavors and brands from across the world. As well as brewing my own homemade soda concoctions.
This blog aims to bring you everything soda-related - so whether that’s burning questions, tips, recipes, and even in-depth tutorials for making your own healthy soft drinks at home. Pop a bottle and have a browse…
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