Caffeine and Effects on Hydration

The Effect of Caffeinated, Non-Caffeinated, Caloric and Non-Caloric Beverages on Hydration

Ann C. Grandjean, EdD, FACN, CNS, Kristin J. Reimers, RD, MS, Karen E. Bannick, MA, and Mary C. Haven, MS

The Center for Human Nutrition, (A.C.G., K.J.R.), School of Allied Health Professions, University of Nebraska Medical Center (M.C.H.), Omaha, Nebraska, Bannick Consulting, Isle, Minnesota (K.E.B.) E-mail:

Objective: To examine the effect of various combinations of beverages on hydration status in healthy free-living adult males.

Methods: In a counterbalanced, crossover manner, 18 healthy adult males ages 24 to 39, on four separate occasions, consumed water or water plus varying combinations of beverages. Clinical guidelines were used to determine the fluid allowance for each subject. The beverages were carbonated, caffeinated caloric and non-caloric colas and coffee. Ten of the 18 subjects consumed water and carbonated, non-caffeinated, citrus soft drink during a fifth trial. Body weight, urine and blood assays were measured before and after each treatment.

Results: Slight body weight loss was observed on all treatments, with an average of 0.30% for all treatments. No differences (p>0.05) among treatments were found for body weight changes or any of the biochemical assays. Biochemical assays conducted on first voids and 24-hour urines included electrolytes, creatine, osmolality and specific gravity. Blood samples were analyzed for hemoglobin, hematocrit, electrolytes, osmolality, urea nitrogen, creatinine and protein.

Conclusions: This preliminary study found no significant differences in the effect of various combinations of beverages on hydration status of healthy adult males. Advising people to disregard caffeinated beverages as part of the daily fluid intake is not substantiated by the results of this study. The across-treatment weight loss observed, when combined with data on fluid-disease relationships, suggests that optimal fluid intake may be higher than common recommendations. Further research is needed to confirm these results and to explore optimal fluid intake for healthy individuals.

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