7 Foods and Drinks That Can Dehydrate You

7 Foods and Drinks That Can Dehydrate You

Don't let these common snacks and beverages sabotage your hydration efforts this summer and beyond!

With summer in full swing and temperatures soaring across the United States, ensuring you are adequately hydrated is more important than ever, especially if you plan on being outdoors for extended periods. Here, we shed light on seven foods and beverages that might be sabotaging your hydration efforts.

1. Pizza

Hate to say this to all you pizza lovers out there, but pizza is a high-sodium food that can dehydrate you. Just one slice of pepperoni pizza can contain a significant portion of your daily recommended sodium intake. The salty toppings and cheese contribute to this high sodium content, making pizza a less ideal choice if you're trying to stay hydrated. If you have to have your pizza fix, opt for more vegetables and less processed meats to reduce sodium.

2. Alcohol

You should already know this, but alcohol is a major dehydrator. Total bummer during summer fun, we know. Alas, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production, which can lead to significant fluid loss. Alcohol also affects your body's ability to regulate temperature, which can exacerbate dehydration, especially if you're out in the sun. To stay hydrated, try alternating alcoholic drinks with water or opt for some refreshing mocktail options.

3. Fast Food

Fast food items like French fries, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, and quesadillas are often loaded with excess salt. In fact, that tasty burger and fries combo you love so much could contain more than your entire daily sodium intake! High sodium levels make your kidneys work overtime to balance the excess salt. All that salt can lead to dehydration, making you feel parched after indulging.

4. Sugary Sodas

Do you find yourself substituting water for a bubbly soda, thinking you're still drinking liquid, so that's good, right? Wrong. Sugary sodas can increase the risk of dehydration for several reasons. One, the high sugar content can cause an osmotic effect, drawing water into the gastrointestinal tract to help digest the sugar. Two, the high sugar can strain the kidneys, increasing urine output. Three, the sweet taste of the soda can trick the brain into thinking it is hydrated, potentially leading to a reduced intake of water and an increased risk of dehydration. And lastly, the high calorie content can raise metabolic rate and body heat, resulting in increased sweating and fluid loss. Let's skip the sugary soda altogether, shall we?

woman drinking a soda

5. Energy Drinks

Energy drinks present a double whammy because not only are they brimming with sugar, but they are loaded with high amounts of caffeine, a known diuretic. The high sugar content can slow fluid absorption in your body and increase the risk of dehydration, especially if you're active in hot weather. Meanwhile, caffeine can increase urine production and reduce water reabsorption in the kidneys, leading to a greater loss of fluids from your body. Plus, it can raise your metabolic rate, which can make you sweat more in the heat. If you rely on energy drinks for a boost, try to balance them with plenty of water. Or, consider supplementing with an electrolyte formula like SaltHead

6. Processed Meats

Processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausages are often preserved with salt, making them high in sodium. Consuming these meats can contribute to dehydration by increasing your body's need to expel excess salt through urine. Limiting your intake of processed meats and choosing fresh, less salty options can help you stay better hydrated.

7. Chips and Pretzels

These ultra-processed salty snacks might be a popular go-to, but they're a big source of sodium in the diet. As we've already said over and over, high sodium intake can lead to increased water loss through urine, making you feel thirsty and potentially dehydrated. Instead of reaching for chips or pretzels, consider hydrating snacks like fruits and vegetables to help maintain your fluid balance.


Of course, everything in moderation, right? We're not saying you should never eat these foods or drink these beverages. But if you're trying to keep your hydration levels at optimum levels this summer, maybe don't slam a 32 oz. soda with that burger and fry meal after noshing on pretzels all day then ordering your favorite pizza for dinner. Ya know?

Remember, staying hydrated is not just about drinking water; it's also about being mindful of the foods and drinks you consume. By making smarter choices, you can enjoy your summer while keeping dehydration at bay.