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Do energy drinks make you dehydrated? (Find Out)

Yes, you may feel dehydrated after consuming an energy drink.

Many people use energy drinks for a quick energy boost or as a pre-workout daily. Energy drinks are becoming more and more popular among students, athletes, and teens. But as a “drink”, is it really helpful or just a quick fix to our low energy levels?

Although it has become quite a questionable issue. Whether energy drinks hydrate or dehydrate you? Most of their marketing is targeted toward sports persons and Gym freaks, for whom hydration is vital.

Energy drinks may seem perfect for hydration with caffeine, and sugar. They are actually making you more dehydrated.

The sugar in energy drinks dehydrates you, and caffeine is a diuretic, causing frequent urination. Hence, a combination of these two ingredients can never be hydrating.

Read on for more knowledge about energy drinks and dehydration and what are the ingredients responsible for it?

What is in an Energy Drink?

Mostly, energy drink brands have a similar convoy of sugar, caffeine, B vitamins, and herbs such as guarana and ginseng.

Some companies add some additional ingredients like taurine and gluconolactone for their synergistic effects with caffeine. The energy boost is the consequence of the mix of all these ingredients

Caffeine

Energy drinks are not energy drinks without caffeine. It promotes alertness, enhances cognitive functions, and makes you more concentrated.

Caffeine is the most socially acknowledged drug in the world, obtained from coffee fruits and tea leaves. It has become the savior of late-night study sessions or an early morning energy boost.

Caffeine is well-known for its ability to combat exhaustion and boost energy. Caffeine works by blocking the neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine is a hormone that signals your body when it is feeling tired.

As a result, caffeine raises the levels of other chemicals such as dopamine in your brain that control your energy levels, and masks fatigue.

But because of this masking effect, it is easy to become over-caffeinated. The FDA recommends that a healthy adult should not consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.

A can of energy drink contains about 150-300 milligrams of caffeine in it. So, make sure you are drinking only one can of energy drink so that you don’t experience the following side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney problems

Sugar in Energy drinks

Energy drinks have ample sugar to add flavor as well as to amplify the energizing effects of caffeine in it. Energy drinks can contain up to 41 grams of sugar per 16 fluid ounces.

The American Heart Association advises that women should not consume more than 24 g of added sugar per day and males should not consume more than 36 g of added sugar per day. So one energy drink can easily exceed that amount.

Added sugars in any food product do more harm than good to you. Added sugar in any form such as sucrose or high fructose corn syrups is linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Also, there are other, lesser-known risks associated with excessive sugar consumption. Such as acne, stomach cancer, and poor oral health.

B vitamins In energy Drinks

B vitamins are necessary for the normal functioning of the body’s cells. They aid the body in the conversion of food into energy (metabolism), the formation of new blood cells, and the maintenance of healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other bodily components.

The kinds of B vitamins included in energy drinks are given below:

Types of B VitaminsFunctions in the Body
Vitamin B3 (niacin)Aids in the release of energy and the maintenance of skin health.
Vitamin B6Necessary for appropriate brain development and the functioning of the nervous and immune systems
Vitamin B12The function and development of various body organs, including the brain, nerves, and blood cells
A table explaining the functions of B vitamins present in energy drinks

Does sugar dehydrate you?

Consuming too much sugar might exacerbate dehydration and other symptoms. This is most likely due to the interplay of sugar and water within cells.

When you drink a sugary beverage, high sugar levels in the body stimulate the cells in the body to transport more water out of your system. All this results in lowering the water levels in the body and reduced cell volume, which might affect blood sugar levels.

White Sugar Cubes on Blue Surface
White Sugar Cubes on Blue Surface

When you drink a sugary beverage, your blood sugar spikes, and your body may borrow water from other regions to balance out the cell volume. This can affect cellular hydration.

Higher blood sugar levels may also lead the body to excess urination to eliminate the extra sugar, which can contribute to dehydration.

How can Caffeine cause Dehydration?

Because Caffeine is a diuretic which means you’ll urinate more often after consuming energy drinks high in caffeine. So, if you are exercising or are thirsty, caffeine will dehydrate you more.

Caffeine in energy drinks or any other form cannot replenish your body fluids the same way water does. People, who are more prone to dehydration, such as athletes, those exposed to extreme heat, or anybody who sweats heavily should be careful with their caffeine intake.

A video about caffeine’s effect on our body

Are energy drinks the same as water?

No, not at all!

Energy drinks contain calories, flavors, colors, and chemicals whereas water in its purest form has no calories and has no smell, color, or odor.

Water acts as a transporting medium in our body and helps maintain the body’s cell volumes and organ function. Whereas energy drinks give you the energy to wake your body and instant energy to perform your daily activities. There is nothing common about them.

In short, you should not replace the water in your diet with energy drinks or any other sugary beverage. You can lead a healthy life without energy drinks but you cannot remain healthy without water.

Side effects of energy drinks

Many folks who chose energy drinks will frequently substitute them for water or electrolyte-rich beverages. To make matter worse, energy drinks induce the heart to beat quicker.

As the heart beats quicker, blood pressure rises, increasing a person’s risk of heat stress. This impact is only exacerbated if a person is currently exercising and elevating his heart rate. During the activity, a person should instead drink water or sports drinks.

The high sugar and caffeine content of the beverages may lead to nerve and heart diseases, as well as obesity and hyperactivity. Furthermore, these beverages may produce excessive blood pressure in teenagers, promoting bad health at a young age.

Finally, the high caffeine content of energy beverages may result in caffeine overdose. People taking too many energy drinks at once may experience dizziness or nausea, excessive perspiration, anxiousness, a high heart rate, and even palpitations.

Healthy alternatives to Energy drinks

Water

Water is both inexpensive and beneficial. And for most individuals, drinking water is an efficient strategy to remain hydrated. Adult women and men should drink at least 91 and 125 ounces of water each day, according to the National Academy of Medicine. (For reference, one gallon equals 128 fluid ounces.)

Smoothies

Smoothies hydrate the body, not only because of the milk but the fruits and vegetables they are made with. Fruits (and vegetables) have a high water content about their weight.

Apples, mangoes, kale, lemon juice, ginger, cucumbers, and hemp hearts are some healthy ingredients for smoothies. It’s an excellent way to hydrate while also including fruits and veggies in your diet!

Coconut water

Coconut water is great for rehydrating after exercise or while suffering from an electrolyte imbalance.

Coconut water contains electrolytes. It is high in potassium, sodium, and magnesium, making it an excellent choice for hydration. It is also low in calories and fat.

woman with a coconut cocktail
Coconut water

Fruit-infused Water

Slice Lemon Beside Glass Pitcher on Wooden Table
Lemon water

Fruit Infused Water also known as fruit water, has a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, while also keeping you hydrated. 

For example, Pineapple-infused water contains anti-inflammatory and detoxifies your body. It also aids in the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It is also a wonderful diet drink because it’s low in calories and helps keep electrolytes balanced.

Final Verdict

Avoiding energy drinks and alcoholic beverages is a simple strategy to avoid dehydration. To keep hydrated, combine the suggested beverages with lots of water throughout the day.

Most standards recommend a total fluid consumption of 11.5 cups (2.7 L) for women and 15.5 cups (3.7 L) for men, including water from both foods and beverages.

People are at risk of dehydration more quickly in the heat because energy drinks contain sugars and caffeine both dehydrating. Never underestimate the impact caffeine and stimulants in energy drinks may have on your body.

You might suffer from severe dehydration, high blood pressure, and jitters, especially in the summer heat. Instead, limit your energy drinks intake and replace it with water and electrolyte-replacing liquids.

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