Tea and Coffee vs Water

>> Mar 16, 2009

There has been some debate about how much water one should drink each day, and whether or not beverages like coffee and tea count towards that amount. As most of us know, coffee and tea contain caffeine, which is a diuretic, and diuretics do the opposite of hydrating you.

A cup of coffee has about 200mg of caffeine. A cup of tea has quite a bit less (40-100mg), depending on the strength of the tea. However, the general consensus as of late is that, despite the caffeine, these beverages still count towards your fluid intake for the day. The reason is that, although caffeine is a diuretic, the amount in a strong cup of coffee or tea is simply not enough to dehydrate, and there will still be a net gain of fluid.

Although coffee and tea may be equal in their hydration factor, tea still gets the upper hand for your health. A recent sutdy in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that drinking tea is not only as good as drinking water, but possibly better, as it may carry extra health benefits in protecting against heart disease and some cancers.

The beneficial ingredients in tea are flavinoids, polyphenol antioxidants that are found in many plants (including tea leaves) that protect against oxidative cell damage. Other benefits were found to be bone strengthening and protection against tooth plaque, due to the flouride content. Researchers from this study recommend 3-4 cups of tea per day to help reduce the risk of heart attack.

One thing not mentioned in this article is the difference between types of tea. Different teas have different amounts of processing and, therefore, have different degrees of health benefits, with green tea found to be the strongest. More on that in another post...

*This particular study was funded by the Tea Council, which usually leaves me extremely skeptical of a study's results. However, this is not new evidence nor is it the first time these findings have been reported.*



heidi anah October 19, 2010 at 11:54 PM  

where did you get your info from? mainly the coffee not dehydrating part. trying to trace find the research on that topic.

Janine Bolton October 20, 2010 at 8:19 AM  

Hi Heidi,

This is really a consensus among most dietitians these days. Although coffee will increase urine output, the amount of water is more than enough to make up for this.

"unless additional evidence becomes available indicating cumulative total water deficits in individuals with habitual intakes of significant amounts of caffeine, caffeinated beverages appear to contribute to the daily total water intake similar to that contributed by noncaffeinated beverages."



Hope that helps!

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