Dehydration is a major concern, especially during summer, and many people end up in hospital or bed-ridden, mainly because they are unaware about what could cause severe dehydration. Dr Jagmeet Madan, Nutritionist & National Vice President, Indian Dietetic Association and Principal, Professor Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science (Autonomous), SNDTWU, Mumbai, says these eight food items and habits can leave you severely dehydrated.
Energy drinks: Many gym-goers invest in expensive energy drinks assuming that it will help in improving their performance, while keeping them hydrated. However, guzzling on energy drinks can actually end up dehydrating you. ‘Energy drinks have high sugar content that creates a high osmotic pressure in your gut and promotes water loss. In some cases, it can also cause osmotic diarrhea,’ says Dr Madan.
Low carbohydrate diet: The first thing we’re told while trying to lose weight is to go on a low carbohydrate diet. However, not many people are aware that this ‘healthy diet’ can actually cause dehydration. If your diet mainly consists of low carbohydrate foods and vegetables, it actually promotes water loss from your body, because low-carb foods is usually high in potassium. Remember to increase your daily water intake if you have cut down on your carbohydrate consumption.
High protein diet: Another common cause of dehydration is switching to a high protein diet. Remember that your protein intake should be increased with appropriate carbohydrate to protein ratio if you want to avoid dehydration. ‘Concentrated protein drinks should be completely avoided,’ says Dr Madan.
Lemon juice: Lemon juice has several health benefits; however, if you overdo it on a daily basis, it could have a diuretic effect on your body, which basically means frequent urination, which could lead to dehydration. While adding lemon juice to warm water or your cup of green tea, remember that moderation is key.
Coffee: Coffee is another liquid that we often consume and also has a diuretic effect. Excessive coffee consumption only promotes water loss and causes severe dehydration, headaches and other symptoms. Ideally, your caffeine consumption shouldn’t exceed 110 mg per day.
Salty foods: High sodium intake can disturb the body's water balance and also lead to dehydration. This is because salt is hygroscopic in nature or in simpler words, absorbs water in your body and could also lead to water retention and bloating. Go easy on your intake of junk food, which usually has extremely high sodium levels.
Deep fried foods: Have you noticed how your throat feels dry and you feel a lot thirstier after eating deep fried food? While it’s no surprise that consuming too much deep fried is not good for you, another reason to cut down on it is that it can also cause severe dehydration.