Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Does drinking tea produce a diuretic effect?


If you thought that drinking  a gallon of water each day was the only way to keep properly hydrated, I have great news!

As I've said in previous posts, tea is almost 99% water. It is an important source of fluid and can count towards your daily intake of eight cups of fluid. Now the British Dietetic Association advises that tea can help you meet those daily requirements.  Here are the latest findings—

Tea consumption does not produce a negative diuretic effect unless the amount of tea consumed at one sitting contains more than 300mg of caffeine. At an average 50mg of caffeine per cup, this is equivalent to six cups of tea at one sitting. 

Single servings of caffeine at doses exceeding 300mg may have a diuretic effect. But there's a catch for those of us who don't count cups — a tolerance to caffeine develops so any diuretic effect is diminished in people who regularly drink tea.

A clinical study from the British Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) has proved that a cup of tea can be just as good as a glass of water at keeping your body hydrated. Sticking to the recommended four to eight cups of tea spread throughout the day gives the same quenching effects of water, without any diuretic side effects. 
  
According to Dr. Catherine Hood from TAP, "It’s vital that humans keeps their fluid levels topped up to avoid dehydration. We’re particularly pleased that the myth that caffeinated drinks dehydrate the body has been proven false. It was believed that the caffeine in these drinks sped up the body’s need for urination and caused us to lose too much water. However, studies have found that caffeinated drinks don’t have a significant impact on the body’s liquid levels."

Dr. Hood continues, "A growing number of scientific studies have demonstrated that tea can be useful in keeping the body in good condition, thanks to its high polyphenol content. These polyphenols have antioxidant effects and help maintain normal vascular function. This is why many studies have linked regular tea consumption with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke."

Dr. Jeffrey Blumenthal, Tufts University
This finding has been supported by Dr. Jeffrey Blumenthal, Director of Antioxidant Research at Tufts University in Boston. Speaking at the 2012 International Tea & Health Symposium at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, Dr. Blumenthal had this to say about the subject.

"We now have more than sufficient data to get over the myth that somehow tea is a diuretic and dehydrating. It is not."

All this is more good news about tea's healthy profile. Just be sure you leave out the sugar

Further reading -

Can I decaffeinate my tea at home?