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What Drinks Cause Dehydration?

In general, drinking fluids is essential to support adequate hydration. However, many commercially manufactured beverages contain a variety of elements that can cause symptoms such as dehydration when consumed in excess 3. Knowing which beverages can cause dehydration provides you with vital information that allows you to moderate your consumption and make adjustments to create a balanced diet 3.

Coffee and Dehydration

According to, drinking between two and three cups of coffee each day is considered moderate and safe for healthy individuals. This amount of brewed coffee equates to approximately 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine. Drinking more than this limit for a prolonged period of time can lead to dehydration 3. To avoid become dehydrated, stay within a healthy limit by reducing the number of cups of coffee you drink each day. You can also switch to decaffeinated coffee which contains smaller amounts of caffeine. If you plan to cut caffeine out of your diet, MedlinePlus recommends that you do it gradually 1.

Alcohol and Dehydration

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Barring pregnancy or any other diagnosed medical condition that restricts alcohol, you can consume alcohol each day, as long as it is in moderation. However, excessive alcohol consumption can cause negative symptoms, including dehydration 3. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism confirms that alcohol is a diuretic 2. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol not only creates an electrolyte imbalance, it can also prevent the body from being able to absorb water in support of hydration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that an adult man drinking up to two drinks per day and a woman drinking one drink per day are within the limits of moderation 4.

Soft Drinks

Research varies regarding whether soft drinks cause dehydration 3. However, unless indicated otherwise, soft drinks contain caffeine. The amount of caffeine per serving can vary. However, according to a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, it is generally lower than a serving of brewed coffee 5. While opinions vary, it is evident that caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it can increase urinary excretion. Without replacing the fluids lost through urination, excessive consumption of soft drinks can contribute to dehydration, states 3.