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Results from not drinking proper fluids
May 9, 2000

We recently had to take my partner to the hospital because of dehydration. While I try to get him to drink the proper fluids, he still insists on drinking Coke, ice tea, and other inappropriate fluids. Could you please give me a reliable source of information that would provide what happens to a person that does not drink the proper fluids? His sister, a nurse on an AIDS ward, has advised us the he needs to cut back on caffeine, sugar, and nicotine, since they all contribute to diarrhea, which is a problem we have been living with for some time now.

Thanks for your assistance.

Response from Dr. Fisher

Sounds like your partner's sister has given him some excellent advice. I agree that caffeine is not helpful, sugar in excess is probably detrimental, and nicotine is harmful (but nicotine is not in fluid products).

So what's the best fluid...water. But even water in excess can be harmful! He needs electrolytes (such as in gatorade or some other sport drinks), some carbs (sweetened drinks are not all bad).

Alvan Fisher, M.D.

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