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Never Drink This on a Super-Hot Day, Dietitian Says

A Cleveland Clinic nutrition expert shares a few warnings for these extreme, end-of-summer days.

Hydration. It's one of the most critical keys to staying healthy, feeling well, and keeping the body's natural processes functioning normally. To stay hydrated, you know what to do: Drink plenty of fluids, right? Well, yes… but not just any fluids. During these dog days of late summer in a year that's seen record heatwaves in some areas, one Cleveland Clinic dietitian has shared a warning about a few drinks that can actually further deplete your body of the water it needs.

At some point, maybe you've experienced any of the symptoms dehydration can cause—like headache, muscle cramps, fatigue, constipation, or even dizziness from lowered blood pressure. Other times, dehydration is a silent condition that you don't detect until it's grown more serious.

Whatever you're doing to make sure dehydration doesn't creep up on you, Julie Zumpano, RD, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, has shared a list of some of the worst drinks to reach for if you're trying to stay hydrated in the heat. (We also offer a few healthier options!)

1

Alcohol

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Beer, wine, hard seltzer, liquor, cocktails… if you've found a favorite spirited sip this summer, the Cleveland Clinic's blog explains a reason alcohol can be so dehydrating: Alcohol inhibits production of the hormone vasopressin, which helps keep the body's fluid levels in balance. (We also have more on that here.)

The blog goes on to caution: "At the same time, alcohol is also a diuretic which means more urinating and that can lead to dehydration even without the heat."

Zumpano also notes that—because liquor generally has a higher alcohol content than, say, beer or wine—"harder" drinks can threaten to dehydrate you the most.

One caveat: If you're reaching for something like a cold IPA at a picnic or beer garden, Zumpano also suggests you keep a heads-up. Many craft beers have a higher alcohol content than more mainstream beer brands.

2

Caffeine

soda, coffee
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When you're parched and need a little pick-me-up for energy, something like a chilled soda or a cold brew might seem like a brilliant (and flavorful) choice.

However, the Cleveland Clinic suggests, remember that caffeine too can be dehydrating… so make sure you're sipping on water, as well.

RELATED: Secret Side Effects of Drinking Diet Soda, Experts Say

3

Sugary drinks

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Again, a sweet drink like soda, a slushy, or juice might sound refreshing when it's hot. Just consider keeping this in mind: Zumpano says high-sugar and high-calorie drinks can give your body the sensation of being satiated.

One problem with this when it comes to hydration is that if you already feel full, it might seem less appealing to stay disciplined by drinking a good amount of water.

RELATED: One Major Effect of Drinking Seltzer Water, Science Says

4

Make healthier choices to stay hydrated.

athlete drinking cold water on the track
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What are the best drinks to help you stay hydrated? We've got a list of the most hydrating drinks right here. Also, keep reading:

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more
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