When you think about health, you might spend most of your time thinking about how much activity you're getting, what sorts of foods you're choosing to eat (or not), how stressed you typically are, and even how much sleep you're getting each night. One thing you might not think as much about is how hydrated (or not) you are, which actually is pretty important. So you might want to know about eating chicken and six other surprising things that dehydrate you, particularly if you generally think a lot about what you're eating most of the time.
Your body needs plenty of water in order to function effectively and healthily, but if you're not drinking enough water and getting enough hydration from liquids themselves, there are other ways that you can get it. Similarly, however, some of the things that you might be eating or drinking can have a negative effect on your hydration levels, causing you to lose that water that actually might be beneficial to your body. Knowing which foods and beverages might have a dehydrating effect on you can also help you determine when to eat and drink these things and when you should maybe choose to eat something else instead. Though you might not think that much about it, the foods and drinks that might dehydrate you are certainly important to know.
It might seem odd that sugary drinks can cause dehydration (if you drink too much), but they actually can. CBS News reported that drinks high in sugar can dehydrate you because the sugar interferes with how much water your body holds onto. If you're looking for a drink that'll hydrate, you might be better off with plain old water.
Diets that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates are gaining in popularity, but you might not realize that they can actually dehydrate you. In an interview with HuffPost, Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS, a licensed nutritionist, said that your body has to use more water to get rid of the nitrogen in the protein, you might lose more water when eating a high-protein diet.
A 2010 study published in the West Indian Medical Journal found that asparagus operates as a diuretic, which makes you pee more. Diuretics can sometimes have a dehydrating effect since you're using water to pass urine, but you have to eat a lot of it. Still, it's something of which you may want to be aware.
There's some disagreement about whether or not soda really does dehydrate you, with some experts saying that it doesn't, but a 2016 article published in the American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology noted that drinking soda in an effort to rehydrate can make dehydration worse, as Science Daily noted. This study was done in rats, but it still might be worth keeping in mind. Reaching for a glass of water or a piece of fruit might be a better bet.
Alcohol's another no-go if you're focused on staying hydrated. The aforementioned CBS News article noted that, like sugary drinks, beer can cause dehydration. Water doesn't just help you keep from overdoing it when you're drinking alcohol, it can also help keep you from dehydrating yourself. Drink up.
Salty snacks are typically high in sodium and eating too many can cause all sorts of potential issues. Popular Science reported that when you eat too much sodium, your body holds onto water to try to maintain a balance of mineral concentrations. That being said, if you weren't exactly hydrated when you started eating these snacks, your body may pull water to dilute all the salt you're eating, as North Ohio Heart and Ohio Medical Group posted in their website. It's tricky, so make sure you're keeping yourself hydrated if you're eating a lot of salty foods.
The amount that you'd eat with sushi, rice, or noodle dishes isn't a big deal, but if you eat a significant amount of it, soy sauce can, in fact, very severely dehydrate you — and even cause a life-threatening condition called hypernatremia. A different CBS News article reported that too much salt in someone's blood makes your body pull water from other parts of your body tissues, and it can even cause water to leave your brain, which is bad. You would have to essentially drink an extremely large amount of soy sauce in order for something like this to potentially happen immediately, but knowing what sorts of effects too much salt in your body can have is still very important.