Is it possible to get dehydrated while drinking?

When it comes to human survival, the importance of maintaining body fluid is second only to breathing. So why are the majority of people in developed countries mildly dehydrated most of the time?

Water Molecule

Walking Water Tanks

The average adult body is made up of 60% water. Our brain is 80% water!

Every part of the body, from our cells to our bowels, relies heavily on water to work properly.

Even a small decrease in body fluid (less than 2%) can immediately affect our concentration, digestion, mood and energy levels.

Habitual dehydration causes many problems including headaches, weight gain, joint issues (arthritis), constipation and premature ageing (both inside and out).

Drinks that Dehydrate

Fluids that are high in sugar (sweetened juice, soft/energy drinks), or contain caffeine (tea/coffee/cola) or alcohol, are diuretic, which means they can actually make dehydration worse.

Our body has a mechanism to make sure our essential organs and cellular processes always have enough fluid.

When our clever Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH) detects dehydration, it takes fluid away from less important areas, like our joints, skin and eyes. ADH also slows down urine production to keep precious fluid inside our body.

Fun Fact - Water

Have you ever noticed that drinking sugary drinks, coffee or alcohol makes you pee? That is because diuretic drinks switch off your ADH and also trick your kidneys into producing extra urine. This means there is a LOT more fluid going out than coming in.

When that mid-afternoon energy slump hits, it is most likely dehydration. Rather than reaching for food, or a caffeinated drink, give your depleted body what it really needs – blessed water!

Liquid Disaster

Non-diet energy and cola drinks are in a diuretic class of their own as they contain sugar, caffeine and salt.

In addition to causing dehydration, the large dose of sugar ‘spikes’ the blood Glucose level, brings in excess kilojoules and overwhelms the liver with Fructose – all without even quenching your thirst!

If you really need a caffeine boost, you are better off just having a cup of coffee with a water chaser!

Energy drinks also contain a range of exotic ingredients that sound interesting but are rarely present in large enough quantities to deliver any health benefits.

Try to drink 8 glasses of water each day. If you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, you will only need to drink 6 glasses!

Download the ‘Water is Best’ activity for 6 – 10 year olds and the ‘What Am I Drinking’ activity for 11 years and over, which includes information about natural and artificial sweeteners and the exotic ingredients added to energy and soft drinks.