Why Does Coffee Make You Pee

Why does coffee make you feel like you have to pee? Does caffeine make you dehydrated? What if it’s caffeine from tea? From an energy drink? This is the second in a three-part series on caffeine and hydration. In this series, we answer the most commonly asked questions including:

  • Does caffeine make you dehydrated?
  • If water makes you hydrated but caffeine makes you dehydrated, what about caffeinated water?
  • Is caffeinated water better than energy drinks?
  • Why does coffee make you pee?
  • How does caffeine affect urine output?

In This Series:

Caffeine, Urine Output, and Hydration – A Summary of the Science

Short on time? This blog post is available in podcast form! The Caffeine at Midnight Podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts.

Read more

Why Caffeine Sensitivity is like Quidditch

Is caffeine sensitivity like Quidditch ability? While reading Science Meets Food’s article, “Does Caffeine Work on You” it dawned on me how well someone handles their caffeine is like how well someone plays Quidditch.

infographic explaining Quidditch
SOURCE: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/21/sport/quidditch-mudbloods/index.html

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AGE

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Harry Potter is the youngest seeker in a century. Quidditch is dangerous for everyone but if you’re too young, it’s too hard to be successful. Same thing with caffeine. It’s dangerous for everyone (Bludger to the head = 1 gram of pure caffeine). But if you’re too young, it’s too hard for your body to metabolize the caffeine effectively, meaning more side effects (headache, nausea, jitters, irritability).

[We talked about caffeine and kids here on GreenEyedGuide]

harry potter trio young and old
SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/entertainment-arts-14049090/harry-potter-stars-through-the-years

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GENES

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Hermione points out that Harry will be good at Quidditch because it’s in his blood. His dad was good at Quidditch, ergo, Harry has good Quidditch genes. At least 3 genes make you good at handling caffeine: one is for the liver enzyme that metabolizes caffeine; one gene is an on/off switch for that liver enzyme gene, and one is for the adenosine receptors caffeine snuggles into to keep you awake.

[if you find genetics interesting, there’s much more detail in this article on caffeine sensitivity by Caffeine Informer]

KEEPER pun harry potter with Quidditch rings
SOURCE: https://www.teepublic.com/sticker/1464469-im-a-keeper

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one more thing…

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Okay, but how come Ron sucks at Quidditch? Ginny, Fred, and George all seem to have good Quidditch genes, how come Ron is such a mental wreck when he plays? Because SENSITIVITY is different than TOLERANCE.

Tolerance is acquired over time, while caffeine sensitivity is more hard-wired. Ron’s tolerance for the attention and pressure that comes with playing Quidditch conflicts with his Quidditch ability. As Ron gets more tolerant of this attention and pressure, he’s only limited by his Quidditch ability. As we build a tolerance for caffeine, we’re then only limited by our caffeine sensitivity. But watch out for those over-caffeinated drinks and bludgers!

 

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Danielle Robertson Rath is a food scientist, consultant, speaker, and the founder of GreenEyedGuide.com. Her book “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks – How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” is widely considered the ultimate resource for caffeine drinkers everywhere. Danielle aka “GreenEyedGuide” started studying energy drinks while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and master’s degree in food science. She has been fascinated by caffeinated beverages and their ingredients ever since.

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Book GreenEyedGuide as a guest speaker – here

Get your copy of MY BOOK: “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” on Amazon and NOW ON AUDIBLE

EHT and Caffeine – Brain Protection Duo

Drinking coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s Disease, but scientists didn’t know exactly how or why. UNTIL NOW! A study by Rutgers University scientists discovered that caffeine and something in the waxy coating of coffee beans (let’s just call it “EHT” for short) work as a dynamic duo to protect the brain. Read more

Can supplements really help you focus? Science Behind FocusAid

To say it was difficult getting good grades in high school while balancing competitive sports, family obligations etc. feels as silly as admitting I cried over a difficult physics exam. Now I laugh at my previous concept of “difficult” with the context of college, grad school, and adulthood. But balancing everything in high school was hard, and I was in high school during the early 2000s, before energy drinks and Starbucks took over the world. Then energy drinks came along, and I balanced two jobs while I was a full-time student in college, then two different jobs while I was in grad school. Caffeine changed my life in more ways than one, and I’ve been studying the science behind energy drinks since the day I declared myself a biochemistry major back in 2003. Read more

Caffeinated Water 101

-updated 7/9/2019

Caffeinated water can be a great alternative to the stereotypical energy drink, but there are some important details to consider before trying it.  This is the first of a three-part series on caffeinated water. In this series, we’ll answer the most commonly asked questions including:

  • Is caffeinated water safe?
  • Is caffeinated water healthy?
  • How does caffeinated water compare to energy drinks?
  • Does caffeine make you dehydrated?
  • How does caffeine affect urine output?

I’ve been researching energy drinks for several years now and I’m always amazed at how far we’ve come from the days when Red Bull and Monster were your only alternatives to coffee and caffeinated soda. Caffeinated waters are another way energy drinks have evolved to meet the desires of consumers. In this case, that desire is for an energy drink with simple ingredients and minimal side-effects.

In This Series:

Caffeinated Water 101

Don’t have time to watch the full video? No worries! The key details are below.

What is Caffeinated Water?

Caffeinated waters lie on a spectrum. Some brands of caffeinated water are literally just caffeine and water; other brands of caffeinated water contain caffeine, water, and other ingredients like flavor, colors, and sweetener.

Where does the FDA stand on this?

The FDA’s definition of water includes the fact it’s zero Calorie. The FDA has issued warning letters to companies for using the word “water” to market/label drinks with added sugars because these drinks are not Calorie-free, and therefore can’t be called “water”.

How to Say Leviosa

Hello, Loophole: If it’s not Zero Calorie, it’s “water BEVERAGE”, not “water”.

For the rest of this discussion, I’m going to define Caffeinated Water as a non-carbonated beverage with caffeine and few other ingredients: no vitamins or electrolytes, no added sugars or juice, maybe some flavor or non-calorie sweetener and some citric acid for flavor and freshness.

Is Caffeinated Water Healthy?

In general, caffeinated waters will have less complicated formulas than the stereotypical energy drink. There (probably) won’t be any taurine, carnitine, glucuronolactone, or guarana in caffeinated water. This is good news for those who think energy drink ingredients interact and make energy drinks more dangerous than coffee. For caffeinated water, that concern is a moot point.

Some caffeinated water does have artificial ingredients.

If you’re trying to avoid this, read the label!

“Healthy” is a relative term but, with the simpler formula, caffeinated water is healthier than sugar-free Red Bull (for example). But being a healthy drink depends on the caffeine content, which brings us to the next big question.

Is Caffeinated Water Safe?

Don’t assume caffeinated water is safer than energy drinks because some brands of caffeinated waters have more caffeine per can than some brands of energy drinks. To be safe, it’s up to you to check the label and confirm the caffeine content is something you can handle. People have overdosed on pure caffeine powder – just because there’s no taurine or ingredients you can’t pronounce doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to drink.

For reference, the max amount of caffeine adults can have in one day is 400 mg caffeine total. The max per serving is 200 mg caffeine. [EFSA Guidelines]

Should You Drink Caffeinated Water?

If you’re looking for something that tastes more like water (meaning flavor is really weak, like cucumber or lemon in your water), caffeinated water is a good alternative to the stereotypical energy drink.

If you’re looking at a specific brand, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Is the caffeine a good amount for me
  2. Does this contain any ingredients I’m trying to limit in my diet?
  3. Am I thirsty / Would a non-caffeinated water mix-in work just as well?

Now on to Part Two: Caffeine and Hydration

Love this info? Want to learn more?

I’ve researched the science and safety behind energy drinks and their ingredients since 2003. This book is the culmination of my research:

Need help with quitting caffeine?