The Truth About Beer and Dehydration

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Whenever I’m out enjoying a nice cold beer on a hot day, I can’t help but wonder: does beer really dehydrate you? It’s a common belief that alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes your body to lose more fluids than it takes in. But is this true for beer specifically? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind beer and dehydration to find out.

The Science of Beer and Dehydration

It’s true that alcohol is a diuretic—but not all alcoholic beverages are created equal. In fact, studies have shown that beer actually helps you retain more fluids than other alcoholic drinks like wine or spirits. One study found that participants who drank beer had higher levels of plasma and urine osmolality (a measure of fluid concentration) than those who drank wine or vodka.

So why does beer have this seemingly magical power to prevent dehydration? Well, it turns out that the carbohydrates in beer help to offset the diuretic effects of the alcohol. Carbohydrates are essential for proper hydration because they help your body absorb and retain water. In other words, the carbs in beer help to keep you from peeing out all the fluids you’re taking in.

So, the next time you’re enjoying a cold one on a hot day, rest assured knowing that you’re not doing your body any harm by dehydrating yourself. In fact, thanks to the hydrating power of carbohydrates, beer can actually help you stay properly hydrated—just be sure to drink responsibly!

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Carla Lauter was the founder of The Beer Babe and has been a beer blogger and expert for several decades. She's been interviewed in beer publications and podcasts about her favorite brews and the craft brewing scene. While she's ceased her involvement with The Beer Babe, her legacy remains in the various reviews and articles she has written.