Coffee is basically the life-saver of most college students. It gives us that energy we need to get through the day filled with classes and other activities. Coffee has tons of health benefits like helping to lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, cancer and can help burn calories but is also gets a bad rep for being dehydrating because they are a diuretic (they make you pee!)

Photo by Kelly Logan

But is coffee actually dehydrating? And if so, how much water do we need to drink to offset the coffee we intake? If the old rule of eight glasses a day of water is true, then we might have to really start upping our water intake.

Luckily, it turns out coffee isn’t doing as much damage as we think. Our hydration levels because of coffee can actually differ in the short term and long term. In the short term, yes you probably need to be drinking more water. If you drink a lot of coffee in a short amount of time then you will need to pee more, thus losing hydration. This means that for every cup of coffee or two cups of black tea, you should drink one cup of water to make up for the diuretic effect.

Photo by Abby Reisinger

However, in the long term you may not need to make up for coffee’s effects at all. After a while of drinking coffee your body actually adjusts and can actually become less dehydrating. But if you stop drinking coffee for a period of time and then start drinking it again, you lose that tolerance to coffee and you should drink water, in the 1 to 1 ratio, until your body adjusts again.

Photo by Caroline Liu

It is not always easy to tell if you are dehydrated but the pee check usually is a good indicator. If your pee is too dark yellow, then you definitely need to be drinking more water. Also, if you are feeling thirsty, sweating excessively, exposed to heat, weakness or dizzy you may be dehydrated.

Luckily, you can get rehydrated in fun ways if you are not a fan of water. Like these fun ideas to get you drink more water and foods that help dehydration.

So keep on caffeinating, Spoonies!