Foods That Dehydrate the Body

Staying hydrated is an important aspect of proper health, whether during exercise or while performing daily tasks. Consuming certain types of foods may adversely affect your hydration levels. It is important to know what types of food may cause dehydration in order to be proactive in preventing dehydration.



Diets high in protein are popular in the fitness and weight loss industries. Protein can be obtained through is in food sources such as poultry, beef, fish, eggs, nuts, dairy products and legumes. While proteins supply essential amino acids, which are building blocks of the body, they may also lead to dehydration. According to a study published in the "Journal of the American Diabetic Association" in 2006, as protein consumption rises, hydration rates decrease.


Fiber, another component of the diet essential to maintaining good health, may also lead to dehydration when eaten excessively. According to a 2001 report published by the National Academy of Sciences, males under age 50 should consume 38 grams of fiber per day, while females under the age of 50 should consume 25 daily grams of fiber. Males and females aged 51 or older should consume 30 and 21 grams of fiber a day, respectively. Consuming more than this may attribute to dehydration. Foods rich in fiber include grains and whole grain products, fruits, vegetables and certain legumes and beans.

Simple Sugars

Many types of foods that are high in simple sugars may lead to dehydration, due to the amount of water the body uses to metabolize these sugars. Consuming food or beverages high in simple sugars quickly depletes water reserves within the body. Foods such as candy bars, sweetened pastries and ice cream contain high amounts of simple sugars.


As much as 75 percent of the body's weight consists of water. Consuming foods high in protein, fiber and simple sugars may reduce this percentage and contribute to dehydration, especially in very hot weather or during strenuous exercise. It is essential to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration and to know how to prevent dehydration. Signs of dehydration include nausea, vomiting, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, dry mouth and dark urine that may be accompanied by a foul odor. When considering a diet high in fiber, protein or simple sugars, consume appropriate amounts of water to reduce the risk of dehydration.


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