Simply put, the normal desire to drink fluids is thirst. Small changes in thirst levels are common and can be attributed to food choices, weather, physical activity, and other daily factors. Larger fluctuations in thirst levels may indicate problems such as head injuries, diabetes, dehydration, or mental disorders. Because your body is accustomed to operating with certain levels of fluids, thirst lets you know when fluid levels need to be replenished by drinking fluids or eating fluid-containing foods.
When you consume sweet food, sugar enters the bloodstream and begins to circulate through the body. These sugar particles are sucking the water from the cells of your body, depleting supplies.
Your body’s cells then send chemical messages to your brain indicating that it’s time to drink fluids. Your brain is working in a feedback loop, telling you when you need the most water. When the brain senses an overload of sugar, a part of the brain called the hypothalamus triggers a thirst.
Excessive thirst may not be an indicator of eating too many sweet foods, but of high blood sugar and more serious medical conditions, including diabetes. If you also have blurred vision, tiredness, or more than 5 quarts of urine per day, it’s time to check with your doctor. It is also possible to become addicted to sugar. Track your consumption of sweets, preferring naturally sweet foods over sugary refined foods if possible to enhance your health. Thirst may decrease with age, according to the Noll Physiological Research Center article, “Influence of Age on Thirst and Fluid Intake.” Your body still needs fluids, so sip water even if you don’t have a dramatic thirst. Not all fluids are equal — sugar and calories from soft drinks and juices may lead to weight gain, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Stick with juice, tea, and coffee to make healthy choices.