4 Unexpected Foods That Dehydrate You (and How to Avoid Them)

Wheeler del Torro
5 min readSep 28, 2018


Photo Credit: www.health24.com

Dehydration is tricky business. It is experienced in stages, from the annoying nature of mild dehydration to having your life threatened by severe dehydration. The symptoms range from dry mouth and fatigue to vomiting and muscle spasms. It can be due to insufficient water consumption after working out, warm weather, increased stress level, or a medication you are taking.

You might still find yourself dehydrated even if the factors above do not apply to you. The answer might lie in your eating or drinking habits. Some foods require your organs to utilizes a significant amount of water as they process it, causing you to become dehydrated without your realizing it. As such, they require more time to process and extra water to stay fully functioning. Here are the top 4 foods and beverages that lead to dehydration and how to avoid them.

1) Sugary Drinks

The average person drinks quite a bit of sugar every a day in the form of soda, tea, and coffee. What most people don’t realize is that sugar creates an acidic substance in your body that prevents proper enzyme functioning and requires copious amounts of water to process properly, causing your body to crash. While the helping of sugar may satisfy your brain in the moment, you will start experiencing its less desirable impact later in the day. People who realize this about sugar often turn to artificial sugars, but they are not much better. Artificial sugars are difficult to process, making your organs work harder than usual. As such, your organs will utilize large amounts of water during the process, causing dehydration if you are not drinking enough non-sugary drinks.

How to avoid Sugary Drinks?

The best way to avoid sugary drink is finding an alternative. Unfortunately for most people, sugary drinks are addictive. If you try to force yourself to stop, your brain might resist it. One way of weaning yourself off sugar is to begin by replacing it with 100% fruit juice. Whenever you feel thirsty, get your fruit juice pack out and pour it into a glass. Drink it slowly. In a few days, you will develop the habit of drinking fruit juice, which will reduce the unhealthy sugary drink consumption. Once this has happened, begin watering down your juice with half of a glass of juice and half of a glass of water. After a week of this, drink one glass of water with lemon or lime for every glass of watered down juice you drink. Soon enough, you will be ready to replace your fruit juice with 100% water. Congratulations! You did it.

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2) Fried Foods

We all know that fried foods are high in cholesterol and fat, but not many are aware that it causes dehydration. The majority of the fried foods contain large amounts of salt. Salt causes your body dehydrate because it requires large amounts of water to process. The more salt you eat, the more water it requires.

How to avoid Fried Foods?

We most often turn to fried foods in the form of fast food when we are too hungry to find a satisfying, high-carb alternative. The best way to avoid fried food is to plan your daily healthy meals. When you are full or know when your next meal is, you will not look for instant fast foods. Over a period of time, you will drop the fried foods completely because you have developed a healthy eating habit.

3) Popcorn

We all love to watch movies, and we can all admit that the salty, buttery popcorn is our favorite movie-watching indulgence. At this point, you can probably guess why this might cause dehydration: the salt! The theater popcorns contain roughly 550 milligrams of sodium. But take it one step further. Have you ever noticed why your throat become dry during the movie while eating the popcorn? Even if you are drinking soda, you body starts demanding more liquid to satisfy your thirst. Can you guess why? It’s a sugary drink (see above!).

How to avoid Popcorn?

If you are planning to see a movie, prepare yourself for when you will go to the counter to purchase something to eat. Instead of popcorn, look for a salad or sandwich, which are significantly more healthy than popcorn.

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4) Coffee

You might think coffee mostly contains liquid, so how it can be the reason for your dehydration? Even if you don’t use sugar in your coffee because of its impact on your hydration, you’re not fully covered yet. Like sugar, the caffeine in your coffee speeds up the dehydration process, causing your body use more water than usual to keep it fully functional.

How to avoid Coffee?

You do not need to give up your coffee completely right away. The first step is to simply cut back. Then, when you’re down to one cup, begin blending decaf coffee in with your regular until you are 100% decaf. And, of course, make sure you are getting your recommended 8 hours of sleep every night!

Dehydration can lead to serious health problems if you are not taking care of your body. Your body needs sufficient amount of water to run its internal functions. Each organ in your body uses a certain amount of water as it processes the food and drinks you consume. A lack of the water may result in slowing down their functioning, along with the other even more concerning symptoms of dehydration. Your best bet is to cut down on the four items above that are the biggest culprits of dehydration, and by drinking plenty of water every day.


This article was written by Wheeler del Torro, Nutritional Anthropologist & Founder of Seasonality Spices.