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Top Five Summer Hydration Myths

Kim Galeaz, RDN CD 

These five summer-related food and beverage myths are just as relentless and oppressive as the Midwest heat and humidity. They just won’t go away. But I’m persistent, too, so here are the facts.

1. Myth: Only water hydrates.

Fact: All beverages hydrate because they’re all high water content. Milk, juice, regular and diet sodas, sports and energy drinks, tea and coffee all count as hydration.  Even summertime lemonade and sweet tea. In fact, diet soda is 99% water!

2. Myth: Caffeine dehydrates.

Fact: Your morning coffee, latte, and summer peach tea all hydrate. When the IOM (Institute of Medicine) released the 2004 DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) on water needs, they determined caffeine-containing beverages do not negatively affect hydration in people accustomed to consuming caffeine. Not accustomed to consuming caffeine? Your body will adjust in about five days. So go ahead, kick back, and cool off with a big glass of refreshing iced tea.

3. Myth: Eight cups daily.

Fact: You actually need more: Men need at least 13 cups of total fluid daily and women need at least 9 cups. But this is in a temperate climate and without strenuous activity. So when you’re taking your daily exercise run, playing badminton on a humid summer evening or riding your bike in the park, you need to balance accordingly. Which is why it’s good to know all beverages hydrate. Bonus fact: research indicates you’ll drink 45 to 50 percent more if it’s flavored.

4. Myth: Beverages with low-calorie sweeteners are off-limits.

Fact: All no- and low-calorie sweeteners are safe to consume (hundreds of studies confirm) and can be an effective weight loss/management tool. And no, they don’t increase your appetite or cause weight gain either. I’ve been drinking about three diet sodas daily for over 40 years and my weight is optimal.

5. Myth: Sugary beverages and foods are off limits.

Fact: Sugar is okay to enjoy, including summertime popsicles and snow cones (lots of water!) and lemon shake-ups at the State Fair. Paying attention to ALL calories and choices daily is the key, not over-focusing on just sugar. Focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy choices instead and enjoy sugary drinks and foods along with - not instead of - an overall healthy diet.


Kim Galeaz RDN CD is an Indianapolis-based registered dietitian nutritionist and believes in vibrant aging and optimal health by blending and balancing all food/beverage choices with a daily dose of positive attitude and activity. As owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, she’s a recipe creator, writer, speaker, spokesperson and advocacy consultant for the food, beverage and agriculture industry. Find Kim’s nutrition tips & recipes @KimFoodTalk

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