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Stimulation AND Hydration?

posted Jul 24, 2015, 12:28 PM by Rachel Griffin   [ updated Nov 4, 2015, 12:34 PM by Julia Quam ]

Caffeine: everyone has an opinion and everyone has a favorite way to enjoy it. 

According to the National Institute of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine, caffeine is a bitter substance found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, kola nuts, and certain medicines. It has many effects on the body's metabolism, including stimulating the central nervous system. This can make you more alert and give you a boost of energy.” 

American caffeine consumption is primarily through beverages: coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks.  Since this month's wellness theme is all about hydration, we're asking the question:

 'Are these caffeinated fluids helping or hurting our overall hydration status?'  

You may have heard that caffeine is dehydrating due its diuretic effects, however, if you regularly enjoy up to 4 cups of a caffeinated beverage, your hydration status will not likely be affected.  A 2014 study in Plos One demonstrated this notion, refuting the 1928 study conducted by Eddy N Downs A which initiated the "caffeine is dehydrating" school of thought. Two other studies explored these caffeine dehydration theories with mixed results, thus prompting the researchers behind the 2014 study to find answers.  So, until more research is conducted, it remains best practice to limit caffeinated beverage consumption, but you can probably count these beverages to your total fluid intake for the day. 

Numerous news stories tout research about the health benefits of caffeine-containing foods and beverages (most recently, improved memory), but one fact has become commonly accepted, and that is the health benefits of the antioxidants found in coffee, tea, and even chocolate.  

For a complete and concise rundown on caffeine, check out this fact sheet from the International Food Information Council.

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