1. Alcohol contributes to dehydration through its action on anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH decreases with alcohol consumption so it has a diuretic effect. You will generate about 4 oz. of urine for every serving of alcohol you consume. A serving of alcohol equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ½ ounces of spirits (such as rum, vodka or whisky).
2. Caffeine in excess ( one 8 oz. cup of coffee won’t cause dehydration) of 500 mg or about 24 oz. or more can cause dehydration, so careful with the Starbucks Venti (20 oz. is 415 mg). If you start the day with 415 mg of caffeine, remember you still have the rest of the day where caffeine can work its way in like soda (47 mg caffeine in 12 oz.) and energy drinks (caffeine varies depending on brand and serving size so check the label; but I have seen ranges from 240-500 mg).
3. Salt & 4. Sugar can mess with body fluid because of osmosis (in attempts to equalize fluid concentration, water moves from cell membranes with higher amounts of fluid to areas of less fluid). Think of what happens to a strawberry dipped in sugar. The sugar draws fluid outside the fruit.
Miscellaneous foods that have salt or sugar include: juice (has just as much sugar as soda), chips/pretzels, sauces (especially soy) and salad dressings, frozen dinners, soups, packaged meats like hot dogs or deli meat, so here is another good reason to read labels.
5. Dairy and commercially made starches (bread, cereal) have higher amounts of sodium than other food groups, so if you eat them minimize the total quantity, or just like with caffeine, it will add up quickly.
Try avoiding these “villains” and select foods that will not steal your water. There are foods and beverages that will support hydration.
Maintain Fluid Balance
Which foods and beverages should you consume to support good hydration?
Drink the liquids I mention in “5 Top Sizzling Thirst Quenchers”. I explain why these beverages, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/5-top-sizzling-summer-thirst-quenchers/, are good picks.
Vegetables and fruits have more electrolytes and water with less sodium and sugar. Here’s a list, http://www2.ca.uky.edu/enri/pubs/enri129.pdf. Interestingly enough, the percent water in many vegetables are higher than fruit. Starchy vegetables have less water content. Some of the produce that have higher water content are:
Vegetables: cucumber, celery, tomato, spinach, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant
Fruits: watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, orange, kiwi
The electrolytes from produce sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium are important to maintaining fluid levels.
Select foods that fuel hydration from the inside out. Avoid the “villains” that rob your body of the fluid and electrolytes that keep it working right. So when you get hungry, pick foods that contain water and other nutrients that fuel instead of foods and beverages that increase your thirst.
What will you consume this summer to fuel water balance?