When you drink tea, you have to pee. Aside from the fact that it rhymes, there is a truth to this statement that tea drinkers are all too familiar with. But what is the science behind this phenomenon that we have all experienced? Why does tea make you pee?
There are two main reasons why tea will make you pee. The first is the most obvious: If you drink tea, you are consuming liquid. The more liquid you consume, the more you will need to get rid of once your body has used and processed it.
The second reason is a little bit more complex and contributes to the fact that tea makes you pee a little bit more than just drinking water does. Black tea, green tea, and all the teas that come from the camellia sinensis plant (as well as some tisanes like maté and guayusa) contain caffeine. Caffeine is known for being a diuretic, which means it speeds up the process that leads to urination. Here’s where the science kicks in.
Caffeine works as a diuretic by blocking the body’s reabsorption of salts, which means that those salts must be dissolved in water and expelled. This can have both a positive and a negative effect. The whole purpose of urination is to keep the body clean and prevent buildup of substances that will impede regular functions.
However, when the diuretic effect goes too far, it can deprive the body of necessary compounds and, more notably, fluids, leaving it dehydrated.
Due to a study performed in 1928, many people have believed that the diuretic effect of the caffeine in tea and coffee cancels out the hydration. However, more recent studies have confirmed that the ratio of caffeine to water in coffee and tea still results in a net gain when it comes to hydration.
If you are concerned that the tea you are drinking is making you pee too much, you may want to consider cutting back on the caffeine. To learn more about the caffeine content in different types of teas and tisanes, read about it on our blog. Don’t forget to consult your physician for advice on frequent urination or other health concerns.
While the answer to “why does tea make you pee” usually lies in the caffeine serving as a diuretic, there are also some non-caffeinated herbal blends that can increase urination. Potassium-rich herbs like dandelion also have a diuretic effect on the body.
Especially during the colder parts of the year, you may find teas like our hot cinnamon spice black tea, apple cinnamon black tea, and orange spice black tea playing a more prominent role in your daily routine. If you also find that your trips to the restroom are becoming more frequent, your tea consumption is probably partially to blame that.
However, as long as you are staying properly hydrated and taking in the necessary amounts of vitamins and minerals, this should not pose a health risk to you whatsoever. Keep drinking tea, and maybe find a good book to keep toilet-side for when you have to go.
photos by McKenna Marek