Apple cider is a popular fall and winter drink made by pressing apples to extract the juice. It can be enjoyed hot or cold and is often used to make mulled cider by adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Some people report that drinking apple cider, especially in large amounts, makes them need to use the bathroom more frequently. There are a few possible reasons why apple cider may have a diuretic effect and cause more urination.
High Water Content
One reason apple cider may make you urinate more is simply because of its high water content. An 8 ounce glass of apple cider is about 88% water. Consuming large volumes of any beverage can increase urine output as the kidneys filter out the excess fluid.
As you can see from the table, apple cider’s water content is similar to other common beverages. Drinking a large volume of any of these drinks could send you to the bathroom more often.
Apple Cider Acidity
Another factor is that apple cider has a relatively high acidity level. Unfiltered apple cider generally has a pH between 3.3-4.0, giving it more acidity than water which has a neutral pH of 7.
The acids in apple cider come mainly from malic acid naturally present in apples. The acidic environment stimulates the kidneys to remove more water from the body through increased urination. This may explain why some sensitive individuals feel they need to urinate more frequently after drinking cider.
Some apple ciders, especially commercially produced varieties, contain added caffeine for extra flavor. For example, one brand contains about 18 mg of caffeine per 8 ounce serving.
While this is a modest amount compared to the 95 mg in an average cup of coffee, it could still stimulate the kidneys and bladder in those who are caffeine sensitive. So the caffeine content may contribute to cider’s diuretic effects for some people.
Apple cider contains fructose, a natural sugar found in fruits. Fructose is absorbed differently than other sugars and can draw excess water into the intestinal tract through a process called osmosis.
This can lead to intestinal distress symptoms like diarrhea when large amounts of fructose from fruits are consumed. For some individuals, the fructose in even moderate amounts of cider may pull enough fluid into the intestines to contribute to urgency to urinate.
Some types of apple cider do contain a small amount alcohol, around 0.5-2% ABV in hard ciders. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing the kidneys to pull water from the bloodstream into the bladder at a faster rate. So alcoholic ciders may be more likely to make you urinate frequently.
However, most regular apple ciders do not contain alcohol if the fermentation process was stopped early. So alcohol is not a factor in most apple ciders’ effects on urination.
Active Compounds in Apples
Apples contain certain plant compounds like phloridzin that may have diuretic effects. This compound is found in apple trees including the bark, leaves, and fruit.
When ingested, phloridzin blocks the reabsorption of glucose and electrolytes in the kidneys, leading to increased urination. While research on phloridzin has focused on concentrated doses, even the levels found naturally in apple cider could potentially increase urine production.
While apple cider’s composition explains why it may be more likely to cause bathroom trips, everyone reacts differently. Some people are much more sensitive to the effects of liquids, caffeine, fructose, and other compounds on their kidneys and bladder.
If you have a history of urinary frequency or incontinence, the diuretic effects of apple cider will likely be enhanced. Those with bladder conditions like overactive bladder and urinary incontinence may notice cider makes their symptoms worse.
Tips for Reducing Apple Cider’s Diuretic Effects
If you enjoy drinking apple cider but want to minimize extra bathroom trips, here are some tips that may help:
– Drink cider in moderation – 1 cup at a time instead of large amounts
– Avoid drinking cider before bed to prevent nighttime waking
– Choose low-sugar or unsweetened varieties
– Stick to non-alcoholic cider
– Increase water intake to stay hydrated
– Avoid caffeine from other sources when drinking cider
– Takebreaks between cups of cider to allow diuretic effects to subside
The Bottom Line
Apple cider can make you urinate more frequently because of its high water content, acidity, caffeine, fructose, and natural plant compounds. Alcoholic ciders may have an even stronger diuretic effect. But sensitivity varies between individuals, and some experience no increased urination from cider. Staying hydrated, limiting intake, and choosing low-sugar varieties can help minimize apple cider’s impact on your trips to the bathroom.