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Does Drinking Soda Cause Water Retention?

by
author image Jessica Lewis
Jessica Lewis has published professionally since 2005 and is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Her work is regularly found in the "National Post" and "Oxygen Magazine." She holds degrees from the University of Guelph and McMaster University. A marathon runner and yoga enthusiast, she is also interested in alternative medicine.
Does Drinking Soda Cause Water Retention?
Three bottles of soda and a forth bottle being poured into a glass. Photo Credit jupiter55/iStock/Getty Images

Puffiness in your feet, legs and ankles, as well as your face and hands, can be a sign of water retention, also known as edema. Water retention can occur for a number of reasons, but high caffeine and sodium consumption are two of the more common causes. Sodas can contain both sodium and caffeine, and regular consumption of soda, especially in high quantities, could lead to water retention.

Water Retention

Water retention occurs from behavioral, environmental or dietary factors, such as sitting or standing for a long time, hot weather, or a diet high in caffeine and sodium. While most cases of water retention can be treated at home, severe cases or regular instances of water retention should receive medical care.

Caffeine in Soda

Caffeine is a natural diuretic, which causes your body to release fluids. This can actually lead to water retention, as your body tries to hold onto the remaining water in you system as an attempt to reduce the risk of dehydration. According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, popular name-brand sodas, such as Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola, can contain between 35 and 47 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving.

Sodium Content

Despite their sweet taste, sodas contain a surprising amount of sodium. Sodium makes you feel thirstier, and after one soda, it may be difficult to stop. Sodas can contain between 40 to 70 milligrams of sodium per 12 ounce can. A single can of soda will provide only a small percentage of the recommended upper limit of sodium consumption, but this percentage is quite high considering the small size of a can of soda. The recommended upper limit for sodium is 2,400 milligrams, or 1,500 milligrams for those over 50, who have a history of heart disease or who are African American.

Preventing Water Retention

While a single can of soda is unlikely to cause water retention, drinking a lot of soda regularly, or in combination with other factors such as hot weather, can lead to puffiness. To prevent or reduce the symptoms of water retention, make sure you stay well-hydrated. According to MedlinePlus, the general recommendation is to drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, and more if you are feeling dehydrated, are exposed to hot weather or have participated in hard physical activity. Choose low-sodium, caffeine-free drinks, ideally water, although beverages such as herbal teas can also be healthy choices.

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