How Coffee and Water Stack Up Against Each Other for Hydration

We have all heard that healthy people should drink about 8 cups of water per day. However, does coffee count toward that water intake? It turns out it is an excellent beverage choice.

Eric Rimm, a professor at Harvard, says there is no set amount of water all people must consume each day because food itself contains a lot of water, and bodies require different hydration depending on climates and body mass. He says that water isn’t necessarily better than other beverages, except for those high in added sugars, like sports drinks. Coffee is healthier than soda for almost all health reasons, including many of the studies available showing its protective benefits.

Coffee can be a great alternative to water, especially when unsweetened, because it is almost without calories. Coffee drinkers are gulping down nearly all water when drinking black coffee.  Coffee also has an unearned reputation for lowering water levels in the body, Professor Rimm says. A study from England last year found there was no different in water retention between 50 people drinking black coffee vs. 50 who did not. It’s also been documented that heavy coffee drinks can build up a tolerance to the diuretic effects of coffee.

Beyond its hydration benefits, a cup of joe has many other positive attributes, including being high in natural polyphenols, which are micronutrients to which scientists are increasingly attributing a role in the prevention of degenerative illnesses.

As long as a person has a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and healthy fats, there’s no reason that someone who drinks a lot of coffee would have issues. Iced coffee offers slightly more water per serving than hot coffee – the melting ice just dilutes the drink modestly. To read more, check out this Wall Street Journal article.


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