Is Coffee diuretic or not?

Posted on April 17, 2010 in Health and Life

Chandramohan Garg:

Coffee is a beverage that is savored by people the world over. However, something that many people are worried about is whether coffee is a diuretic or not. Diuretics are drugs or compounds that increase the rate of urination. Diuretics also increase the excretion of water from the body along with other waste products. This is the reason why people are worried and anxious to know whether coffee is a diuretic, as they believe that excess amounts of coffee can lead to increased urinary output, which could culminate in dehydration and electrolyte imbalance due to its effect as a diuretic. Coffee effects have been explained below in detail, which will put all such doubts that you may have in your mind to rest regarding the diuretic effects of coffee.

Caffeine is a chemical substance found in coffee and has been considered to be a diuretic by experts and consumers for years now. Some people believe that drinking caffeinated beverages will make them lose fluids so they can’t be counted as part of their daily intake. Others say that caffeinated beverages do not lead to increased fluid losses. To get a clear final picture of these contradictory statements is by seeing the results of research studies.

Water is lost from our body through respiration from lungs, skin, renal, and the gastrointestinal tract. Many factors such as age, activity level, health, diet, and environment can affect the water balance in our bodies. Some research has shown that caffeine intake can also be an important factor that can affect our fluid balance. In one study, 12 regular caffeine consumers were told to abstain from caffeine for five days at a stretch and they were then given 642 mg of caffeine in the form of coffee. The urine output of these individuals increased when the caffeine was given. Another separate study done on eight men tested the effect of 45, 90, 180, or 360 mg of caffeine on urine volume output, so as to see its effect as a diuretic. Coffee containing caffeine at 360 mg dose led to a substantial increase in the urine output. One limitation to these studies is that they did not evaluate the impact of caffeine when it was consumed on a regular basis. A onetime dose may affect the body differently when compared to daily consumption.
Initially it was said that caffeine had no significant impact on final urine output. Subsequent studies have also shown that diuretic effects of caffeine are dubious in nature, as caffeine containing beverages did not impact urinary output any differently when compared to other beverages. However, this does not mean that caffeine does not increase your need to urinate, as it is a mild diuretic. Coffee consumption levels are what will dictate your reaction and your tolerance level. Thus, the eventual effect of caffeine and coffee will vary person to person and you will need to monitor your reaction and tolerance to caffeine to determine how you are affected by it. Water was, is and always will be the recommended choice for optimal hydration, so be sure to include it as part of your daily fluid consumption.

This was all about answering the question ‘Is coffee a diuretic?’ The fact is that coffee and almost any beverage in fact, does lead to mild effects as a diuretic. Coffee consumers however, have a higher tolerance to the mild diuretic effect of coffee. On the contrary, coffee is said to be a powerful stimulant of the bowel, which in turn is responsible for preventing constipation. However, excess of coffee can also lead to very loose bowel movements.