Can a Hot Drink Cool You Down?
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Can a Hot Drink Cool You Down?


[♪ INTRO] When the heat of summer sets in, people flock
to the beaches or head to the mountains to cool off. But in some arid parts of the world, on hot,
dry days, people cool off by drinking hot beverages. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, if you’ve
never heard of the practice. If a cup of hot cocoa on a cold, snowy day
makes you feel warmer, how could a hot drink also make you feel cooler? But there’s evidence to back up this age-old
tradition, if the conditions are just right. In a study published in 2012, subjects exercised
on a stationary bike. And they drank water ranging in temperature
from near freezing up to 50 degrees Celsius. After seventy-five minutes, researchers measured
the amount of heat stored in subjects’ bodies. Heat storage was lowest when they drank the
warmest water. The key thing to point out here is that the
researchers created conditions where sweat could fully evaporate from the subjects’
skin. The relative humidity was low, a fan was blowing,
and the participants wore minimal clothing. In these conditions, the participants lost the largest share of their body heat through evaporative cooling, which is to say, their
sweat dissipated heat. When water evaporates, it changes phase from
liquid to gas. This phase change requires energy. More precisely, it draws heat energy from
the surrounding environment, which, in this case, includes your skin. Hot beverages stimulate sweating. They activate temperature sensors that most
likely reside in your guts. The sensors send a message to the brain, which
then tells the body to sweat more. So even though a hot drink does literally
warm your insides, the warming effect is more than offset by a parallel increase in sweat evaporation. In an article published in 2018, which included
data from several studies, researchers concluded that likewise, cold beverages have the opposite effect. They make you sweat less, so they can actually
make you warmer. But before reaching for a hot beverage, remember: the cooling effect happens only when sweat can fully evaporate. If you’re somewhere with one hundred percent
humidity, a hot drink will just make you hotter. There’s a reason this isn’t a widespread
practice in, like, Florida. And even if you are in an evaporation-friendly
environment, you should approach hot beverages with caution. If you’re dehydrated, you can’t really
spare the water loss from sweating that a hot beverage would cause. Also, sweating can still exceed the rate of
evaporation, especially if the air is still. If you’re already dripping, adding more
sweat won’t help. The amount and type of clothing you’re wearing
matters too. Sweat cools you best when it evaporates from
your skin, not your clothes. If you’re generously clothed, like an American
football player or a firefighter in full uniform, you should definitely skip the hot drinks. In these cases, it’s better to choose a
cold drink because it will absorb heat energy from your body. There’s also a psychological component:
many of us find cold beverages more refreshing. In the end, experts recommended keeping your beverages at whatever temperature you find most palatable. In hot weather or during exercise, the key
is to drink enough fluids to match your rate of sweating. If you enjoy your beverage, you’ll drink
more. And that’ll help safeguard against heat-related
illness. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow. And thanks to the amazing folks who support
us on Patreon, you make what we do possible. If you’re interested in helping us make
cool science videos, check out patreon.com/scishow. [♪ OUTRO]

100 Comments

  • Michael Kahr

    "Who could have known that drinking a hot drink could be so complicated", Donald J. Trump on trying to do some governmental guidelines, then giving up on them, dissolving the department and returning to the TV.

  • Mubark AlKhatlan

    In Kuwait – a Middle Eastern Country – we drink hot tea in summer 122°F 50°C+ to cool of.
    I didn't know that it must be a dry wither for this to happen, will it mostly dry days any way.
    thanks for the information

  • Nephilim Heart

    Unrelated question im looking into, why is it ppl sometimes get the sensation of someone sitting on their bed. Ive never found it mentioned during sleep paralysis studies, and naturally thats the closest path i can think of to find answers. Any help?

  • Tomas Kelly

    I'm sure we always heard about drinking 2 litres of water a day is good for you. In Japan for 3 years now I have been drinking 6 litres of water and electrolyte drinks just to make sure I function every day during summer. Japanese people tend to be fine with a litre,so I wonder is it good to drink so much?

  • Aubrianne Lim

    can i just say (if it hasn't been said already) that I wish his voice was available for purchase for like e-readers and other text-to-voice type of programs so he could have been the one reading my notes in college? 100% would have paid more attention lol

  • zed

    also if your really dehydrated drinking water at room temp is better because your body has to convert all food and liquid to your body temp before it will absorb it and let it past your stomach. water at room temp gets absorbed quicker! put the ice water (not ice) on a rag or towel and place it on a major artery like your neck or crotch, this will cool you down the quickest. using ice in place of ice water can send you in to shock. and take your boots off your body loses alot of heat out your feet.

  • Connie Wonnie

    I have drank a hot cuppa on a hot afternoon after working in the garden, but I drank it inside my house and found it made me no hotter than before, I felt better having drunk it, not sure it was just my thirst!

  • CChissel

    Now I’m reminded of Dr. Mikes video about hot beverages. You guys didn’t mention the other things he does. Of course I don’t think he mentioned the sweating aspect.

  • Sylvia Odhner

    Yes, but how does all this effect one's long-term heat tolerance? That seems like a huge element of staying cool and safe in hot weather that people don't often talk about.

  • Matthew Trzcinski

    If you want to crank up the evaporative cooling, breathe deeply. Your wet lungs will exchange heat through evaporation and represents more surface area than your skin. Wim Hoff explained.

  • puttputt524

    It’s to my understanding liquids at room temperature or above are thirst quenching. More people outside the USA do not find cold beverages to be refreshing.

  • ViviSectia

    You missed an important bit. Both cold drinks and hot drinks don't change your core temperature all that much so one doesn't do a better job of cooling you than the other unless you're in the certain conditions mentioned. What cools you the most is a slush drink like a slurpee because it has to go through a phase change before it can warm up, giving it time to physically cool you off more.

  • I Dream of Crafting

    I wonder if this is why eating ice cream (or some other cold food or beverage) in the winter makes you feel warmer. Cool video….no pun intended. XD

  • KingofHearts

    I love how you guys entice viewers with a eye grabbing title, then spend the entire video debunking that title and ensuring your viewers do not do what the title suggests.

    Like, should you drink warm water to cool off? No.

  • realvanman1

    I have heard this myth before. But it's always going to be less pleasant to have to sweat even more to reject not only the heat you're generating, but also that from the hot drink! So no thank you. 😉

  • Mark Garin

    Issue is that the stomach must adjust the temperature of food/drink before it can be processed. Hit cocoa and coffee in the winter time also can cause constricting of capillaries which makes heating arms and legs more difficult. Ice cream in the winter requires the body to heat the stomach, producing a by product of heating the rest of the body.

  • Mathew Poole

    There's another thing that you are over looking.

    When you exit a room that's got a heater or air conditioner running just a few degrees different to the temperatures outside, it can make the the outdoor conditions feel unbearable.
    But once you've acclimated to this cooler/warmer air, its no longer noticeable, and you will feel the difference once you enter the room again.

    A similar thing occurs by drinking hot drinks. By raising your core temperature, the external conditions don't feel so bad. In truth, you haven't actually cooled off, but since the difference in temperatures isn't so great any more, it feels a lot more bearable then it did before.

  • Diskordia

    Not quite related.. but could you make a video on how food staples in the stomach and the best order in which you can eat food for good digestion? Plus also how water counts into that, is it okay to drink during meals?

    Or maybe anyone can answer these questions too, if there isn't already even a video of it. 🙂 I've heard many claims but none with explicit explanations.

  • Anirudh Verma

    Can't we relate this with the fact that hot water freezes faster than cold water in cold environments. Hot water has more of a cooling effect. Is demonstrated by our body.

  • erik olsen

    I remember being at gathering of the vibes (music festival) 2011 and the heat index was 115 and everyone was drinking hot coffee. And I just thought it was the most insane thing I've ever heard off. But it kind of worked…

  • LEX Laisney

    Ive been saying this my whole life. Here in florida i drink lots of hot coffee all day no shirt. Caffeine also opens the blood vessels and helps with the thermo discharge between body and air.

  • Micah Philson

    This.
    I've always said this! Spicy and hot foods like coffee in the summer and ice cream in the winter! It really does help, and all the confused looks you get are hilarious.

  • Zhala Bayramova

    In Azerbaijan, hot cup of tea is a life style. In doesnt matter, if it is the most hot day of the year, we still love hot cup of tea! Seems very strange for a lot of foreign friends 😄 We drink more tea than any other bevrages, also before meal, with meal and after meals 😄

  • iamsheel

    As a person from a hot dry country I tell you can drink as much tea and coffee as you want you will feel ok, but don't cook yourself with worm milk

  • Stormwatcher

    My grandmother used to make us drink lukewarm water after we'd been playing, because she said cold water would give us cramps, but now that I'm grown, cold water tastes best when I'm really hot & I've never had stomach cramps drinking it.

  • Azaarus

    I have questions! Why do fabrics stain? Why do some spills stain fabric more than others? Why is it so hard to get a stain out of fabric?

  • Pepe

    I have been in Turkey many times and always wondered why many Turks drinked hot tea when it was hot outside. Now it makes sense.

  • Любезнова Мария

    I live in a pretty dry city in continental russia, and this trick really works. The only way i ever survive 40+c in the shade is by drinking scalding tea

  • oldeskul

    I know a few people from upstate New York, Missouri and Illinois and they can cool off by drinking hot drinks, I like in GA where they invented humidity and drinking hot drinks can cause you to get heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Of cousre if you have been exerting yourself outside and are really hot it would do better to drink room temperature drinks to avoid getting sick, getting stomach cramps or accidentally putting yourself in shock.

  • شاهين حسن

    In my area summer temperatures often exceed 48°C (118.4°F) during June and the first half of July with very low humidity and high winds and to cool my self I usually drink coffee or tea but in the second half of July and August the temperatures are much lower but the humidity is so high that heat indices often exceed 55°C (131°F) with no winds so I don't drink any hot drinks. I am doing this for seven years and today I discover that I am doing the correct.

  • Al Burtuqal

    It is a well known practice among nomadic desert dwelling people, since deserts typically have low humidity and so the process works best

  • tads73

    Absolutely! I spent time in the CA dessert. I craved hot coffee and hot chilli. I had no urge to drink a favorite iced coffee. One occasion I was hiking in 110 degree temps, all I wanted was a steamy bowl of chili. Another time, I was dehydrating afters hike on lake Mead, I had water, but I was unable to hydrate, instead of a bottle of gatorade, the sodium in hot soup did the trick. Your body will tell you what you need.

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