Coffee, Thirst, Dehydration, Energy and Life


Dehydration can cause problems that go well beyond the nagging feeling of thirst. Yesterday I posted on the Eating Is The Answer Facebook Page that prolonged dehydration can lead to the debilitatingly painful condition known as sciatica. To the extreme, a lack of water in the body will render entire organs and systems helpless as the oxygen carried through water to our cells for energy is cut off. The answer to dehydration is, of course, to rehydrate. But, as many of us already realize, not all liquids have equal hydrating effects on the body.

I am a big believer that the body sends us undeniable signals to do the things needed to keep us in perfect health. The sensation of thirst is one of these signals. It is often said that our sense of thirst diminishes as we age. I have observed, even in my youth, that my sense of thirst is diminished by things other than age. Coffee is one of them.

I have had an on again / off again relationship with coffee through the years that has enabled me to observe that my water intake dramatically changes depending on whether I consume coffee during the day or not. When I go for weeks enjoying herbal tea in place of coffee I find myself drinking several glasses of water per day, simply answering my body’s call for water through the thirst mechanism. But a late night out followed by a coffee in the morning and I suddenly may realize at 4pm that I’ve had not even a single glass of water all day. I just haven’t wanted it. Do you find that you don’t drink as much water when you’re drinking coffee during the day?

Even though I’ve had little or no water I seem to make as many, if not more, visits to the bathroom. If I’m not drinking as much water, but I’m going to the bathroom more, then where does this water come from? My cells. All of them.  All the body’s systems function less than perfectly when the cells that make up our tissues lack the energy they should be getting from the oxygen in the water that is now left behind in the bathroom. Not only do our internal systems start to founder and struggle, but we look older as our skin becomes devoid of water. Wrinkles are more pronounced. Our thoughts may be foggy, making us reach for another coffee. Our ability to deal with stress is impaired as the cells of the endocrine system thirst for oxygen. A lack of water deprives you of life from the cellular level on up.

It’s not an easy thing to do, reducing or giving up coffee. But it costs nothing. In our efforts to look and feel great we go to the gym, purchase diet plans, apply makeup, and do many other expensive things that use up our valuable time so we can mask the fact that we really are just missing out on water. We’re beautiful the way we are when we stay out of the way of our body’s signals to keep us looking great.

Switch to antioxidant-rich green tea if you want the caffeine without the diuretic effect. That’s usually how I wean myself off the product that tastes so addictive in the morning.

If you find that your need for coffee and other diuretics is unbreakable then we need to look at your whole health and lifestyle picture to get to the root of things. You can control these cravings through exploration of what’s missing in your life. What hole are you trying to fill with products that excite the senses and block the body’s signals to keep you feeling great? The answer is inside and is ready to come out so you can be the most vibrant and energetic you.



Chris Carlone, CNP

I help people transform their health and their finances. Anything else? EVERYTHING comes next.

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1 response

  1. July 31, 2014

    […] debilitating effects of dehydration (which go way beyond just being thirsty – see my previous article on the relationship between dehydration and the painful back condition sciatica). We won’t […]

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