On a hot summer’s day in the sun you might rather reach for a nice cold pint of beer instead of a glass of water, but is that really the best thing for you?
You might consider that any fluid will actually contribute to your hydration levels, but it’s more complicated than that.
Things we do not actually realize; drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol actually dehydrate us!
But, what we want to know is if beer is good for hydration, and if alcohol dehydrates us, which drink is best to be the most hydrated, or least dehydrated?
Alcohol & Hydration
Alcohol has a lot of ways that it affects the way our bodies can function, not just in the drunkenness. It affects mood, balance, speech, cognition, and more. Of course, also consider the long-term impacts as well.
However, it also has an effect on our hydration levels and balance of fluid. Despite how popular it is, many of us still question why. Have you ever noticed that you tend to pee more when you drink?
Well, this is because alcohol is a diuretic, this means it makes you pee more. And, if you are peeing out more fluids than you take in, it’s going to start to dehydrate you.
Can Beer Hydrate You?
Many drinks are able to hydrate you, and there are many alcoholic beverages that will have varying effects on your hydration levels too.
If we consider the ABV of alcohol content, beer usually has fairly low ABV, unless it is a high percentage beer.
The amount of alcohol in a beer will dictate how much it will make you go to the bathroom, and thus, how much it will dehydrate you.
If you compare a beer that is 5%, with a wine that is 12.5 or 13% and a spirit which is at 25%, and their non-alcoholic versions you will find that the alcoholic versions do make you pee more.
However, typical beer tends to not be much different from a non-alcoholic beer, or even water, in terms of its diuretic properties.
It is possible that beer may hydrate us equally, however, it is unlikely, as beers, especially the strong ones can be more dehydrating, and if you need to hydrate, then you want something with electrolytes in it.
You know those hangovers you get? Yeah, that is mostly due to dehydration, and that is why water helps you get over a hangover, and why you’re so thirsty after a heavy night out.
You get hungover because you’re dehydrated. Obviously people can still get hangovers from beer, so this speaks for itself in that it does dehydrate you.
Of course, science wants to fix the issue between beer and hydration, and some scientists are looking at the possibility of making a beer that might be good for hydration.
Alcohol & Dehydration: The Science Of It
Scientists believe that alcohol causes dehydration as it suppresses vasopressin which is a hormone that asks your kidneys to save the water you drink instead of passing it.
Alcohol inhibits this, so your body can lose too much water.
However, what we do know for sure is that alcohol does increase the amount we go to the restroom. Some studies say that alcohol suppresses vasopressin, others say it does not.
What we do know for sure is that alcohol does dehydrate you, and it makes you urinate more frequently.
We also know that dehydration plays a part in hangovers, as well as low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalances and poor quality of sleep.
When your head is banging after a night of partying, you will probably find yourself quite dehydrated and urged to chug water by the gallon.
Which Alcohols Dehydrate You The Least?
So, which alcohols will have the least dehydrating effect on you? Well, no alcohol will hydrate you sadly, but the lower the alcohol content in your drink the less dehydrated you will be.
Most beers are quite low in their alcohol % and so beer is typically seen as the least dehydrating drink there is.
That being said, if you drink a lot of it, it will still be really dehydrating, but if we are comparing you drinking a pint of beer, to a glass of wine and spirit, then beer is definitely the best option.
If you drink too many beers, they will dehydrate you just as much as doing a shot at the bar.
Which Alcohols Dehydrate You The Most?
What about wine? Well, as a slowly consumed beer is the least hydrating, we might consider a high % liquor to be the most dehydrating, however this is not the truth.
Mixed drinks can actually be less dehydrating than if you do a shot. If you drink a vodka soda you may find yourself to be more hydrated than if you were to do a shot of vodka. It will take you longer to drink and there will be added water in there.
Wine lovers are also due a shocker because if you drink 4 glasses then you will be more dehydrated than if you had one drink with 1.5 oz of vodka in it.
Basically, the less boozy you drink the more hydrated you will be.
Pay attention to percentages and also consider having a glass of water between drinks to stay hydrated if you’re on a night out.
Aside from just drinking beer, you should also consider doing other things when it comes to a night out. Remember to drink plenty of water beforehand, and have at least one or two pints of water before you go to bed to avoid the worst of hangovers.
Consider having water in between drinks too, to keep yourself hydrated.
Smaller portions are also a good idea when you are trying to cut down.
In fact, sometimes it is best to go for a drink you sip instead of a drink that goes down quickly, as the latter will always dehydrate you faster!
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