What is Caffeinated Water?

M.C. Huguelet

As its name suggests, caffeinated water is a beverage consisting of water to which caffeine has been added. It is intended as a healthier alternative to common caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soda, and sports drinks. While many researchers once believed that caffeine had a dehydrating effect, this theory has largely been called into question, thus lending support to caffeinated water manufacturers’ claims that the product simultaneously hydrates and boosts energy. It is important to note, however, that as with any caffeinated product, consuming too much caffeinated water can cause unwanted side effects.

Most caffeinated water products used spring water or purified tap water to which a tasteless caffeine extract is added.
Most caffeinated water products used spring water or purified tap water to which a tasteless caffeine extract is added.

Most caffeinated water products contain purified tap water or spring water to which a tasteless caffeine extract, often derived from coffee beans, has been added. Their caffeine content generally falls around 3 to 6 milligrams per ounce (29.57 ml), which is around the same amount found in cola or black tea. The thing that sets most caffeinated waters apart from many other popular caffeinated beverages is that they have no additional additives such as corn syrup, sugar, colorings, or artificial flavorings. As a result, this type of water is frequently touted by its manufacturers as a healthier, calorie-free alternative to other caffeinated beverages.

Consumption of excessive amounts of caffeinated water can cause unwanted side effects, such as restlessness.
Consumption of excessive amounts of caffeinated water can cause unwanted side effects, such as restlessness.

Many health experts once shared the belief that caffeine was a potent diuretic, or a substance which increased urine output, potentially causing dehydration. As of the early 2000s, however, this belief has been challenged by a number of studies which have suggested that, when consumed in small to moderate quantities, caffeine does not demonstrate notable diuretic properties. While significant caffeine consumption may indeed lead to dehydration, it is estimated that this effect occurs only when daily intake exceeds 500 milligrams of caffeine. Such research appears to lend credence to caffeinated water manufacturers’ claims that their products simultaneously boost hydration and energy levels.

It should be noted that, as with any caffeinated product, consumption of excessive amounts of caffeinated water can cause unwanted side effects, such as restlessness, sleeplessness, heart palpitations, nausea, and irritability. In addition, those who consume large amounts of caffeinated water on a daily basis may find that they enter a period of withdrawal if they reduce their intake of the product. This type of withdrawal is often characterized by headaches, sluggishness, and difficulty concentrating. While caffeinated water may be a healthier option than sugary sodas or artificially flavored sports drinks, consumers should avoid overusing the product to prevent caffeine-related side effects.

Consumption of caffeinated water can cause unwanted side effects.
Consumption of caffeinated water can cause unwanted side effects.

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