Tea vs. Water: Debunking the Myth of Tea as a Dehydrating Beverage

Tea vs. Water: Debunking the Myth of Tea as a Dehydrating Beverage

In terms of staying hydrated, water is viewed as the ultimate source, while tea, somewhat falsely, has been painted as a dehydrating beverage.

Instead, because water assists with brewing tea, this beverage in both iced and hot forms helps you meet daily recommendations for water intake to stay hydrated. Here’s what to consider:

Assumptions Around Tea and Caffeinated Beverages

We’re not going to tell you that caffeine isn’t a diuretic. Whether in tea, coffee or another source, caffeine provides mild diuretic properties, causing you to release more fluid and sodium through your kidneys.

Due to this process, many assume that tea is a dehydrating beverage, causing you to release more liquid than what you take in. Instead, while your body will release some liquid and sodium, tea’s water content provides a source of hydration.


How Hydration Works

We’ve all heard this advice at some point or another: Drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. In recent years, this amount has come under question, including where we’re getting hydration and how much we actually need.

Understand, too, that hydration isn’t just quenching your thirst and, instead, involves replenishing your body’s water stores. Water is a key component of your cells and blood, helps your body stay cool and assists in the removal of waste. Without enough water, your body experiences dehydration on a broader scale: Not only will you feel parched, but your cells also dry up.

At the same time, your body’s salt content supports its muscles and nervous system and helps regulate fluid levels.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, hydration is based on the size of your body, how active you are, how much you sweat and the temperature you find yourself in. Additionally, thirst relates to how your brain senses the amount of salt present in your blood. Should you notice this taste, your body is telling you it needs more fluids.

Taking these factors into account:

  • Hydration evolves as you age: For older adults, not being able to taste as well and declining water content in the body result in higher dehydration risks.
  • Caffeine doesn’t always act as a diuretic: Instead, individuals who drink coffee and tea less frequently are more likely to experience caffeine’s diuretic effects. For those who consume these beverages in moderation, caffeine doesn’t produce the same result, and the beverages deliver just as much hydration as non-caffeinated ones.
  • Food and drink count toward hydration: In fact, as much as 20 percent of your fluid intake comes from food, including fruits, vegetables, yogurt, soup, oatmeal and milk. In considering this, both tea and coffee help you stay hydrated to some degree.

Tea and Hydration

Beyond debunking a common myth, understand how tea delivers hydration both on a day-to-day basis and before you exercise:

  • Every time you prepare an iced or hot tea, you combine a source containing caffeine with water. While the body may release some liquid due to caffeine’s diuretic effect, your body absorbs the fluid contained in the beverage.
  • Within this relationship, the body draws in more fluid from the tea than it expels from caffeine’s diuretic properties, keeping hydrated in the process.
  • In addition to hydration, tea brings antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which aid in digestion, weight loss and relaxation, support the cardiovascular system and provide anti-inflammatory properties.
  • No matter the beverage consumed, dehydration remains a concern for athletes. To decrease risks, athletes are recommended to drink 16 oz. of a hydrating beverage like water or tea an hour ahead of exercising and to drink four to eight ounces of a hydrating beverage every 15 minutes while working out. This should be followed by another 16 oz. an hour after the athlete finishes exercising. This combination helps counteract the effects of sweating by supplying the body with liquid. Further supplement your water or tea intake with electrolytes or a salty food to replace any salt lost.
  • These factors aren’t to say that tea doesn’t have dehydrating properties. Instead, the diuretic effect surpasses hydration when high quantities of caffeine are consumed. This amount tends to be reached if someone consumes six to 13 cups of tea each day.
  • Individuals who consume the recommended two to three cups per day who experience an elevated heart rate and headaches may simply be sensitive to caffeine or may be engaging in other habits that decrease their overall fluid intake, like exercise without proper hydration.


Stay hydrated with Buddy State. Using Rainforest Alliance certified tea, our liquid tea concentrate is formulated with less sugar and is created with 65 times less plastic and 63 times less carbon dioxide than bottled beverages.

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