Coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks. Most of us depend on a daily dose of coffee for the energy boost for the day. However, if you’ve experienced thirst soon after drinking coffee, you might want to find out if it’s responsible.
Coffee makes you thirsty due to its caffeine content. Caffeine could make your kidneys produce more urine to remove more water. This water loss prompts your body to tell you to drink water by causing you to feel thirsty. Caffeine may not cause dehydration, but other adverse effects are possible.
You might want to stick around because, in the rest of the article, we’ll be explaining how caffeine makes us thirsty, the caffeine content of coffee, other adverse effects of excessive caffeine intake, and why we get thirsty.
Can You Get Thirsty From Coffee?
You can get thirsty from coffee, and that’s because of caffeine. If you’re a daily coffee drinker, you might appreciate its psychoactive properties, which might help alertness.
When you take coffee or other caffeine drinks, it enters the bloodstream and can affect brain function and mental and physical performance.
The effects of caffeine on the body go beyond brain function. Scientists have observed that caffeine is a mild diuretic. That means it can affect your body’s water content by influencing the kidneys. This urine-producing effect could be related to the thirst you might notice after drinking coffee.
How Does Caffeine Make You Thirsty?
Thirst is an innate sign at the back of your throat telling you that your body’s water content is low and needs replacing. When we’re in a state of increased water loss, we might experience thirst more often, and that’s how caffeine makes us thirsty.
When you take coffee and other caffeinated products, caffeine in the bloodstream might influence the kidneys causing them to eliminate more water by producing more urine. It does this by pushing more blood to flow through the kidneys, causing more urine formation.
You might have observed that your daily coffee boost might precede a few quick trips to the restroom.
How Much Caffeine Is in Coffee?
Caffeine is the main component responsible for the psychoactive and diuretic properties of coffee. The caffeine content of coffee depends on several factors such as:
- Type of coffee beans
- Type of coffee drink
- Serving size
The USDA says that 100 g (3.53 ounces) of coffee contains 40 mg (0.00141 ounces) of caffeine. However, the amount of caffeine you consume with each coffee cup depends on each of the other factors outlined above. Let’s see how the caffeine content varies with the coffee drinks.
Brewed coffee is the standard coffee cup that you make by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans. You might add cream or sugar to help with taste, and it’s the most popular coffee type. A standard 8 oz (237 ml) coffee cup contains anywhere between 70-140 mg (0.0027-0.0049 oz) of caffeine.
Espresso contains more caffeine than a typical coffee brew per volume. However, since the serving size is smaller, every 50 ml (1.75 oz) shot would have about 63 mg (0.0022 ounces) of caffeine. The process of making your espresso shot involves forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee. If you choose a double espresso shot, it might contain as much as 125 mg (0.0045 ounces) of caffeine.
Espresso-based drinks such as americanos, lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos contain varying amounts of milk. However, their caffeine content remains similar to a regular espresso because the added milk doesn’t have any caffeine.
You don’t need to brew to prepare instant coffee. You need only to pour hot water on some coffee powder, and it dissolves. This coffee type contains less caffeine, between 30-90 mg (0.0011 – 0.0032 oz) per serving. The average US value is about 60mg (0.0021 ounces).
Your decaf coffee isn’t caffeine-free though it contains far less caffeine than other drinks. The caffeine content of decaf coffee could be anywhere between 0-7 mg (0.00024 ounces) per serving, but the US’s average value is 3mg (0.00011 ounces) per cup.
Can Coffee Cause Dehydration?
We’ve established that coffee intake could affect your water balance and induce a thirst sensation. If caffeine in coffee could cause water loss as urine and thirst, does it mean that it could lead to dehydration?
That’s an interesting question. The effects of coffee don’t seem to be long-lasting. The amount of water eliminated as urine from coffee consumption isn’t more than the fluid intake, so coffee won’t make you dehydrated.
Drinking low caffeine coffee could have hydrating effects. So, while your cup of coffee might send you to the restroom more frequently, it shouldn’t dehydrate you because you don’t lose all the fluid you drank.
Other Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine, the active constituent of coffee, has other effects on the human body. These effects vary from person to person. For instance, it might take longer for caffeine to be metabolized in infants, pregnant women, and individuals on a specific medication or liver disease.
Caffeine Addiction and Withdrawal
Due to its neurological effects, it’s possible to develop caffeine dependence. Usually, reduced consumption might then result in the development of withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Low mood
- Trouble concentrating
Excessive caffeine consumption might lead to pronounced anxiety or nervousness. That’s because caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the emergency hormone, and too high caffeine consumption might lead to higher adrenaline release and higher anxiety.
Moderate caffeine intake might also produce these symptoms in caffeine-sensitive people.
Do you know how a cup of coffee helps you stay awake? Well, It can backfire. Too much caffeine could deprive you of restorative sleep. If you take too much caffeine, it could cause you to take longer to fall asleep.
However, moderate or low caffeine intake might not affect your sleep patterns.
Coffee helps to improve bowel movement because it encourages the stomach to release gastrin. Caffeine also has bowel movement stimulating effects by increasing peristalsis.
Excessive caffeine intake is related to digestive issues such as diarrhea and acid reflux.
Other Health Challenges
Caffeine might influence cardiovascular health. Excessive caffeine consumption could cause an abnormal increase in the heart rate and blood pressure. These factors might put people at risk of strokes and other health issues.
These cardiovascular effects might not affect everyone and might not be permanent, but a doctor’s appointment might be best if you observe increased heart rate after taking coffee.
Why Do We Get Thirsty?
We’ve all felt it, thirst—that dry sensation at the back of our throat. We usually respond by gulping down a glass of water without any thought, but what does it mean?
The human body has several regulatory systems that monitor bodily function, report to the brain, and make adjustments to restore normalcy.
We depend on water for survival. Lots of body processes need an aqueous medium to occur. So, water imbalance is treated with utmost priority by our bodies.
A section of the forebrain not limited by the blood-brain barrier is in direct contact with the bloodstream. This brain section detects sodium concentration or saltiness of the blood.
If the blood seems more concentrated than usual, a combination of hormonal and nervous factors makes adjustments to restore water balance. These efforts influence kidney function, blood pressure, heart rate, and thirst sensation.
In caffeine consumption, the increased urine production results in a decrease in blood water content or increased saltiness.
Drinking coffee can cause you to become thirsty because it might influence urine production. However, coffee isn’t enough to lead to dehydration.
Moderate coffee intake might be best because excessive coffee consumption might be related to addiction, anxiety, cardiovascular troubles, and insomnia.
- Mayoclinic: Nutrition and healthy eating
- Healthline: Does Coffee Dehydrate You?
- Healthline: 9 Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine
- Medical News Today: Is caffeine bad for you?
- Harvard: The Neuroscience of Thirst: How your brain tells you to look for water
- Medical News Today: How do our brains tell us we are thirsty?
- USDA: Caffeine Content of Commonly Purchased Weight Loss and Sports Performance Enhancing Dietary Supplements
- Pubmed: Caffeine consumption
- Pubmed: The influence of different types of preparation (espresso and brew) on coffee aroma and main bioactive constituents
- Pubmed: Coffee with High but Not Low Caffeine Content Augments Fluid and Electrolyte Excretion at Rest
- USDA: Coffee brewed
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