Moderate caffeine intake count toward fluid needs

Published 9:44 pm Monday, May 15, 2006

By Staff
Janet Peterman – Personal trainer
Like most people, many athletes enjoy a caffeine fix - either as a morning eye-opener, a midday indulgence or before training and competitions.
But some people question the use of daily caffeine consumption as a way to enhance athletic performance.
Since this popular stimulant is often found in energy gels and drinks that are specifically used for endurance activities, it's important to understand the effects of caffeine since they vary from person to person.  
We've all heard the warnings - coffee has a diuretic effect, it dehydrates, and doesn't count as a fluid replacer.  
While once deemed true, we now know differently.  
The truth is, a moderate intake of coffee, cola and other caffeinated beverages do count toward fluid needs - particularly if you are accustomed to consuming caffeine as part of your daily diet.
About 80 percent of Americans drink coffee.  
So how did the &#8220coffee is dehydrating” myth start?  
Initially, studies looked at urine collection just two to four hours after caffeine consumption - not in a 25-hour period - and did not compare coffee to water or use very high doses of caffeine.  
We now know that people have similar urine volumes whether thy consume caffeinated beverages or plain water.
Caffeine is one of the best-tested ergonenic aids known to help athletes train harder and longer.  
It stimulates the brain and contributes to clearer thinking and greater concentration.  Because each person responds differently to caffeine, do not assume you will perform better with a caffeine boost.  
You might just end up feeling nauseous, coping with an upset stomach or suffering from caffeine jitters at a time when you are already nervous and anxious.  
Clearly, you have to learn through trial and error what works best for your body.
So joyfully drive over to &#8220Book and Bean” today and enjoy your favorite cup of java.
Janet Peterman is a personal trainer at the Brewton YMCA. She can be reached at 867-9622 (YMCA).

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