Health & Fitness.

Diet Coke Might Have Not Been All Bad For Me…

I had TWO bad episodes of dehydration this weekend. The first was after an hour+ bike ride in 93 degree temps. We’ve had a relatively mild summer here and I do most of my workouts in the morning, so I hadn’t done a workout in that heat since last year. I felt so bad Saturday night I drank THREE glasses of water at dinner (I never drink water at meals) and barely finished one beer (I typically drink two when we go out on Saturday nights because we go to a restaurant that sells local beer). I was nauseous and dizzy and just all around feeling crappy.

Then, on Sunday, I went out in 72 degree temps for a 3-hour run. It was humid (93%) which I knew would suck, but I didn’t know how or why. Since I had re-hydrated so much the night before, and I was chugging 20oz of water ever 3-miles that morning, I didn’t think I’d have to worry about dehydration. Unfortunately, when I was feeling sick AGAIN later, I found out I was very wrong.

Humidity is not your friend The rate of sweating is higher in humid conditions but the cooling is less. The reason is that because the air is already very saturated with water, sweat can’t evaporate. Sweat that beads up and rolls off doesn’t function in the cooling process. However, this “futile sweat” does deplete the body of vital water and salt. As dehydration progresses cooling becomes more difficult. Performance drops and heat injury becomes a real threat. Deaths have occurred when the air temperature was less than 75 degrees F (24 degrees C) but the relative humidity was above 95%.


SO! This is the conclusion I’ve come to. Two bad boughts of dehydration indicates more than just tough workouts. It indicates that I’m not hydrating well in general. Now, I’m not a water person. I don’t drink water unless I’m working out. I’ve never focused on hydrating before a race or the days before an endurance event. Yet, I’ve always been fine. I’ve never even had ONE bad episode of dehydration and this weekend I had TWO. But here’s the thing: I WAS ALWAYS DRINKING TONS OF DIET COKE.

Now, obviously the salt and caffeine in Diet Coke keep your body from using every bit of the fluid in the soda, but – a study on the effects of soda and hydration did determine that soda CAN have a hydration effect. So, if I was drinking 50-100 ounces of Diet Coke a day (easy) and then just STOPPED drinking ANYTHING, I severely cut off hydration in my body.

So, the sudden decrease in daily hydration coupled with two workouts in unfavorable conditions led to some nasty dehydration.

SO! Lesson learned. Now that I’m drinking much less soda during the day, I need to replace that with something. And I need to be aware of humidity, not just temperature, when I’m going out for a run. I need to do more pre-hydrating and not retire entirely on hydrating during the workout.

Also? I need to talk to someone about how we’ve had more 90+ degree days in AUGUST than we did in June and July combined. BAH. I NEED AUTUMN ALREADY.

4 thoughts on “Diet Coke Might Have Not Been All Bad For Me…”

  1. Have you tried NUUN tablets? I use them after really hard workouts and really like the results. Also, if you have access to Trader Joe’s, they sell an electrolyte enhanced water that I’ve had success with.

  2. Ditto on needing autumn. Also, I don’t know what dew point is exactly, but I thought it had something to do with humidity. Something to do with temperature and humidity, and math isn’t my strong point, but a high dew point also means your sweat can’t evaporate. Or something like that. (I’m sorry, I’m really terrible at this.)(It really needs to be fall already so I can stop trying to learn all the different ways the weather is making us miserable.)

  3. Oh! Side note: Have you tried those La Croix waters? I know you said you don’t like regular Coke because it’s too sweet, but I’ve found those aren’t very sweet at all. A little flavor and fizz, if you like that?

  4. I really avoid all forms of artificial sweeteners, but get really bored with drinking plain water. Over the past few months I have been adding 1 tablespoon of pink or yellow powdered lemonade to a 20 oz bottle of water here and there, and have found that I really like it. It’s not as tart as plane lemon juice, but is sweetened with plane old sugar. It takes me forever to get through a jar of it because I’m only using a little, but it really makes the water go down faster.

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