Healthy Drinks

A Registered Dietitian Sets the Record Straight on Whether Iced Coffee Is *Actually* Hydrating

Emily Laurence

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For the majority of the country, it’s sweltering hot right now; the type of hot that causes a pool of sweat to form under your boobs while you wait in-line for your to-go order. Considering that temps are likely to remain high until Labor Day, staying properly hydrated is uber important right now, right up there with wearing your mask and washing your hands.

While there’s no substitute for good ol’ H20, I keep a pretty consistent glass of iced coffee on a coaster right behind my Swell bottle—and I don’t plan on removing it anytime soon. (Except to, you know, refill the glass for more.) Here’s the thing though: I’ve often heard that coffee is dehydrating because it makes you pee so much, so now I’m worried my iced coffee drinking is completely canceling out my water drinking. A trip down the Google hole showed me that there’s some definite confusion around if coffee is hydrating or not, so I decided to find out for sure.

According to registered dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD, iced coffee drinkers—and coffee drinkers in general—are in the clear. “Coffee is a diuretic, which means it forces water to be excreted through the urine,” she says. Basically, the caffeine in coffee increases blood flow to the kidneys, which in turn causes them to release water through urine. Despite this, Rifkin says coffee typically isn’t dehydrating “because the body isn’t losing the liquids that were ingested.” In fact, moderate coffee drinking can be as hydrating as drinking water.

Iced coffee is even more hydrating because of the ice, which ups the water content as it melts into your brew. If you add milk (or alt-milk) to your iced coffee, Rifkin says that increases the hydration factor even more because milk and alt-milk are both 91 percent water.

Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of coffee:

She does offer up one caveat: “If you drink more than five cups of coffee a day, it will be dehydrating,” she says. At that point, the diuretic effects of coffee will be greater than the hydrating effects.

Iced coffee isn’t the only unexpected breakfast hydrator. Here, Rifkin reveals three more:

1. Eggs

“Eggs are 75 percent water,” Rifkin says. The majority of this water is found in the egg whites, so that’s really the part you want to eat up. That’s just an added benefit to their existing nutritional goldmine status, since they’re loaded with protein, healthy fats, iron, and vitamin D.

2. Cottage cheese

Rifkin says cottage cheese is a full 80 percent water. Like eggs, it’s another stellar source of protein too, with eight grams per serving. (You want to aim to get 75 grams a day.)

3. Yogurt

Yogurt is also primarily made of water, Rifkin says, adding that drinkable yogurt especially has a high H20 content between 75 and 88 percent. It’s also a good way to get probiotics, aka the good bacteria that keeps your gut happy.

While water still should be MVP in your best, well-hydrated life, there are many other supportive players you can add to your hydration team. And fortunately, your iced coffee habit will only work in your favor. As long as it’s enjoyed, like most things in life, in moderation.

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