Coffee to Go
According to an article in Scientific American, U.K. researchers performed a PLOS ONE study on the effects of caffeine prior to endurance sports. What they discovered by examining 50 male coffee drinkers was that those who drink caffeinated coffee in quantities of about four cups daily did not dehydrate them any more than drinking an equivalent amount of water.
Although some people find it surprising, many runners will drink coffee before going on a run. Because of the dehydrating properties associated with caffeine, it doesn’t seem like the best idea. However, many feel that the caffeine in the coffee actually enhances their performance.
It turns out that consuming caffeine actually improves performance in runners and those who participate in other endurance sports, according to previous studies. Those who engage in intense bouts of exercise of up to 20 minutes may benefit from caffeine while those who are not regular coffee drinkers may not experience the same benefits.
Asker Jeukendrup and his U.K. colleagues found that caffeine in the form of coffee produced similar improvements for those who participated in endurance exercise as those who had pure caffeine when taken in higher doses. Previous studies have indicated that coffee was less effective but this could be related to the amount of coffee consumed. Although different coffees vary in the amount of caffeine they contain, the USDA has determined than an 8 ounce cup of coffee is considered to have 95 mg of caffeine as a reference.