The truth is – it doesn`t – and now we`re going to kill the caffeine dehydration myth once and for all. I`m more than willing to say my word on this topic and here´s why: Its totally useless that a myth shall abound that prevents people from having a cup of good coffee when they´re hangover when actually it would help. I`m an avid coffee drinker and have been since “i was born”, it hasn`t harmed me at any time. I`m writing now about caffeine and coffee because the misbelief that caffeine causes dehydration during hangovers needs to be corrected. It has been a myth for long and a myth is just that – a myth.
I`m talking about a normal coffee consumption which is what? well, to me its not that much, its about 2 cups a day. To others i`ve heard them say 16 cups is “normal”, well i would say up to 5 cups (which has been scientifically proven) as stated in Darcy`s article about this topic which is also the reason i`m taking it up here. Because as i said, there is no reason in the world that people should not drink coffee when they have a hangover when it would actually help them feel so much better.
Now – if you head over to Darcy`s blog “Art of Drink” you will be enlightened as to why it is that the belief that caffeine causes dehydration during hangovers is so widespread while the truth is just the opposite – that coffee does not cause dehydration during hangovers.
Luckily i rarely get any bad hangovers (unless i`m at the Tales in New Orleans- where i btw had some of the best coffee ever) because i drink moderately – but when it happens i know for sure that coffee really helps. And coffee is good, it smells good, tastes good, makes you feel good and i believe strongly that a moderate amount of caffeine isn´t bad for you (unless you suffer from ulcer problems for example, but that`s another topic of discussion)
Headache can be caused by a zillion of things but one of the most common is dehydration and that`s why you get a headache in the first place when you`re hangover as alcohol causes dehydration. Caffeine now has the ability to cure that by hydrating you. A healthy amount of caffeine to wake you up and lift your mood – isn`t that exactly what we need the day after?
Further on there has been some serious research done on this topic which you can read about here:
The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration.
Grandjean AC, Reimers KJ, Bannick KE, Haven MC. The Center for Human Nutrition, Omaha
(Journal of the American College of Nutrition, October 2000)
Conclusion: This preliminary study found no significant differences in the effect of various combinations of beverages on hydration status of healthy adult males. Advising people to disregard caffeinated beverages as part of the daily fluid intake is not substantiated by the results of this study.
Urinary caffeine after coffee consumption and heat dehydration.
Chambaz A, Meirim I, Décombaz J. Nestlé Research Centre, Nestec Ltd, Lausanne, Switzerland.
(International journal of sport Medicine, July 2001)
Conclusion: These results suggest that the rise in circulating caffeine due to delayed metabolic clearance was partly opposed by a sizeable elimination in sweat. Therefore, heat dehydration did not lead to higher concentration of caffeine in urine after coffee ingestion.
Caffeine, body fluid-electrolyte balance, and exercise performance.
Armstrong LE. Departments of Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, and Physiology & Neurobiology, University of Connecticut (International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, June 2002)
Conclusion: The scientific literature suggests that athletes and recreational enthusiasts will not incur detrimental fluid-electrolyte imbalances if they consume coffee beverages in moderation and eat a typical U.S. diet. Sedentary members of the general public should be at less risk than athletes because their fluid losses via sweating are smaller.
Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review.
Maughan RJ, Griffin J. School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK
(Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, December 2003)
Conclusion: The most ecologically valid of the published studies offers no support for the suggestion that consumption of caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle leads to fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested or is associated with poor hydration status. Therefore, there would appear to be no clear basis for refraining from caffeine containing drinks in situations where fluid balance might be compromised.
Rehydration with a caffeinated beverage during the nonexercise periods of 3 consecutive days of 2-a-day practices.
Fiala KA, Casa DJ, Roti MW. Department of Kinesiology in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut (International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, August 2004)
Conclusion: In summary, there is little evidence to suggest that the use of beverages containing caffeine during nonexercise might hinder hydration status.