FlipFact of the Day: For many people, starting their mornings with a cup of coffee is an absolute must, as it helps them stay alert and at the top of their game throughout the day. That’s because of caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, sodas, and other similar products. It’s the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, and it’s legal and unregulated almost everywhere. That’s also why its most avid drinkers are often told about coffee’s supposed dehydrating properties: a warning that, while well-intended, isn’t entirely accurate.
Caffeine has been said to have diuretic properties, which means it can increase your urine production. In a 1928 study, researchers noted that subjects who consumed caffeinated beverages urinated more. In reality, though, it would take 500 mg of caffeine per day, or about 1.2 liters (five 40-ounce cups) of brewed coffee, for you to start feeling an increased urge to pee.
Furthermore, drinking a few cups per day can actually help you meet your daily fluid requirements. (Unless you just eat dry spoonfuls of the stuff. Which would not only be a bit strange, but could also lead to some interesting—and unpleasant—bathroom adventures.) As Prof. Lawrence Armstrong of the University of Connecticut put it: “If you drink a liter of water, [urination] will increase. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink water.”
That’s not to say, of course, that ingesting too much caffeine won’t harm your system. The key phrase there, though, is “too much.” According to Prof. Armstrong, a lethal dose of caffeine would be 10,000 mg per day, or about a hundred cups of coffee.
So don’t be afraid to enjoy a cup of coffee or two. Just keep your consumption moderate, and make sure to drink some water, too.
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Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco
Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.