Take That Water: Science Says Man Can Survive On Coffee Alone

Keep it in mind before your next jog.

by Mike Pomranz
Originally Published: 

Coffee really does fuel America, with the average person drinking 2.1 cups of it (or its crazy Starbucks frappu-whatever equivalent) a day. But if you find yourself feeling some sort of caffeine-addled guilt about your addiction to America’s favorite drug, the Wall Street Journal says chill out. They spoke with Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who says drinking coffee is about as good for you as drinking water.

When it comes to beverages, Rimm argues that your biggest enemy is calories, so if you take your coffee black “it is almost without calories,” he says. That means the bulk of every cup isn’t much different from colored water — with that added boost of brain fuel, of course — making it perfectly suitable for keeping you hydrated. But doesn’t coffee cause dehydration? Turns out that may be be a bit myth. Rimm cites a study of 100 men that found no difference in water retention between men who drank moderate amounts of coffee and those who didn’t. Added bonus: Heavy coffee drinkers can even build up a tolerance to coffee’s diuretic effects, so a “moderate amount” is relative to how you condition your tolerance.

“There is no reason to think that someone who solely drank coffee would have any issues.”

Rimm’s conclusion: As long as the rest of your diet is high in vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats — which hydrate the body among other healthy purposes— “there is no reason to think that someone who solely drank coffee would have any issues,” outside of the possibility of all that caffeine making you a bit edgy. Add that to recent research claiming you’re probably not drinking enough coffee, as well as the newfangled, energy-boosting “coffee nap,” and it’s safe to say you’ve been going about your daily cuppa all wrong.

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