Fun Fact #1:
As it turns out, coffee doesn’t actually dehydrate you.
I’ll admit, I have helped perpetuate this rumor throughout past years. I recall learning this over, and over, and over. I learned it in school at some point…I learned it in the military…etc. However, what most current, reputable, research shows is that caffeinated coffee does not act as a diuretic when consumed in modest amounts. The increased urination that most people experience as a result of coffee intake happens as a result of – wait for it – the fact that you just drank 10 (or 20?) ounces of fluid. The fact that the fluid was coffee would most likely be no different a result than if it was an equal amount of plain ol’ water. If you are a coffee drinker, and you are dehydrated, it is quite likely due to simply an overall fluid deficit.
WAIT a second! Here me out before you go suck down a pot of Folgers: excessive caffeine intake (more than 3 cups of coffee for most people) is not without risk, even if it isn’t necessarily dehydrating you. Excessive caffeine can cause an inappropriate increase your heart rate; reduced intestinal calcium absorption (this is bad); increased blood pressure; acid reflux; etc.
Drink your coffee guilt-free (hopefully without sugar), but limit it to 1-3 cups a day and drink lots and lots of water! Although not discussed today (stay tuned for later posts), coffee does have some health benefits when consumed in moderation.
Fun Fact #2:
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) isn’t as different from “regular sugar” as you think.
If I had a dollar for every person whom I’ve heard say “I got the regular sugar version because the other one had HFCS!” Rolls eyes… First of all, HFCS and “regular sugar” are both things we can do quite well without. I mean, I love sugar. I really, really do. However, added sugar is one of the biggest contributors to the wild fluctuations in blood sugar that contribute to insulin resistance (aka prediabetes). Added sugar also is one of the leading contributors toward high triglycerides, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and obesity. Let’s be real here, the more we eat [of sugar], the longer we will be on that rollercoaster of cravings that often could be called an addiction. Furthermore, the metabolism of fructose has it’s own little dark secrets with regard to the fact that it doesn’t activate our bodies’ “fullness” hormone (leptin), which allows us to just keep eating (or drinking) without much regulation to stop.
Anyway, back to the topic. HFCS is about 55% fructose and about 45% glucose, molecularly speaking. Interestingly, table sugar is about 50% fructose and 50% glucose. GASP! They’re practically the same! HFCS starts out as regular corn syrup, a liquid extracted from corn. The corn syrup is pumped with more fructose to make it taste better. HFCS is much cheaper than cane sugar, so that’s why it started showing up in our food a few decades ago. Additionally, corn and sugar are typically genetically modified in the US; but that [GMOs] is another debatable topic for another day.
Added sugar from table sugar is no better or worse than HFCS. Try to do whatever you can do to a) wean yourself off of the “need for sweet,” and b) reduce added sugar intake any way you can.
Ps – On a separate note, I have embarked on a treacherous journey to review current, published literature as it relates to saturated fat and heart disease (not completely for fun — it’s the last nail in the coffin to complete my Master’s degree). Stay tuned for some cool insight on this topic in the late Spring/early Summer!