If there's one thing we know that TikTok loves, it's a wellbeing trend. The latest from the app? The three drink theory, joining the likes of soft hiking, the sober curiosity movement, and the Hot Girl Walk in going viral.
Never heard of the new trend? In short, the three drinks theory is as simple as it sounds on the tin, encouraging you to have three drinks on the go while at work or working from home.
As a writer and journalist who specialises in health and fitness, I can confirm that I'm a fan - it requires minimal effort for a big payoff.
I swear by the new hack. Why? Well, while I've always been a hyper-hydrated person, I found my water intake massively reduced when I started working from home more. I was keen to get through a lot of work while not in the office, often hardly leaving my desk, which then resulted in me drinking way less than the amount of water I was used to.
We all know that drinking enough water is good for us - our brains are made up of 75% water, after all - with the NHS website advising aiming for six to eight glasses a day. One 2023 study published by the National Institute of Health even found that staying hydration may actually be linked to healthier ageing and fewer chronic conditions.
While I was dropping the ball on my hydration levels, I noticed my productivity dropped, I was noticeably thirstier, and I even suffered dehydration headaches, too (the current UK temperatures haven't helped). The one thing that's helped? My dedication to the three drinks theory - and as a heatwave swarms the UK, I bet you'll want to rely on this beverage trifecta to stay hydrated and energised all day long. Keep scrolling to read why I swear by the new trend.
Introducing TikTok's trending three drinks theory
What is the three drinks theory?
As above, the three drinks theory quite literally means having three drinks on the go at once.
Nope, it's not just three glasses of plain old water, but instead, meeting all of your hydration needs with three different types of beverage.
Fans of the trend have been following the below formula:
- A hydrating drink: ideally this is just your classic water.
- A fun drink: think a squash, juice or something with flavour or bubbles.
- An energising drink: tea and coffee are the obvious caffeinated beverages here, but any other energising drink, like coconut water or lemon water, could also fill this slot.
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How I got on when trying the three drinks theory
I know what you're thinking: what's the point? For those who don't take as much joy in their beverage choice as I do, this might seem like a lot.
And I get it - I sometimes head straight for the two-drink theory, keeping a big jug of water on hand alongside my coffee or green tea to sip on throughout the morning. But, when the day gets long, I'll add a tonic water or mint tea as something a bit more tasteful that encourages me to keep sipping and and stay hydrated without boredom.
I first discovered the trend via Clara Nosek, @yourdietitianbff, on Instagram, who regularly posts on her stories about her love of drink trifectas. As a dietitian, she's a fan of "fun" drinks and regularly posts about the one basic health hack we're not doing enough of: hydrating.
If you still don't understand the joy of a trifecta of drinks, you'd best catch up. In a video that's racked up over 70,000 likes on TikTok, creator Sophia Pelton explained it: "For me, the height of luxury is drinking three beverages at once."
"In those moments I just feel like I have it all. I'm living large and I am a little prince."
To that, I have to say: same. Given that being properly hydrated is one of the key elements to health, the three drink theory is the easiest tick to feeling good.
I also enjoy a refreshing guzzle of water between sips of stronger drinks like coffee, while a mid-morning smoothie or afternoon sparkling water acts as one of the easiest pick-me-ups in the world.
What a nutritionist thinks about the three drinks theory
While I could harp on about my love for having multiple drinks on the go forever, I decided to turn to a nutritionist to see whether there are any scientifically-proven benefits.
"My initial thoughts are that this can either serve as a fun, more engaging way to stay hydrated and healthy, or it could become an unhealthy habit if it involves lots of sugar and caffeine," says nutritionist Sophie Trotman.
The main benefits, she shares, focus entirely on water and span the following:
1. Drinking water alongside caffeine keeps you hydrated:
"Drinking water alongside caffeinated drinks is essential for maintaining proper hydration," she explains.
While we likely know this, you might not know that this is because caffeine has diuretic properties that can lead to increased urination and dehydration. "The regular intake of water can counterbalance this and also promote overall health and wellness," she goes on.
Bottom line: it's important to remember that no one should have more than 400mg of caffeine a day - around three mugs of coffee - so either sip slowly or accept that there are only so many minutes of the day you can enjoy your three drink theory moment.
2. Drinking water alongside sugary drinks can blunt glucose spikes
Secondly, water can be key in reducing blood sugar spikes, which in turn can cause inflammation-related issues.
"If you are going to drink a fizzy drink, water can dilute the concentration of sugar in the bloodstream, thereby slowing down the absorption of glucose into the system," the nutritionist explains.
Why? Well, because "it encourages the kidneys to excrete more glucose through urine, effectively reducing blood sugar spikes," she goes on.
Read how MC UK's Health Editor, Ally Head, got on when eating to reduce her blood sugar spikes for six months.
Again, no one should be continuously chugging sugary drinks all day, and even sugar-free versions often contain caffeine. But, if you're someone who struggles to drink enough, keeping a rotation of herbal teas, water, and lightly sparkling (sugar-free) drinks nearby can be a great way to up your hydration levels IMO.
Of course, there's no need or benefit to having the third drink on the table other than for sheer luxury - Trotman herself warns that the trend might lead to people "drinking too much caffeine, sugar and ultra-processed ingredients."
"Too much caffeine can exacerbate the stress response and lead to poor sleep," she warns. "Over-hydration could also be an issue if people are constantly getting through and replacing this set of three drinks," she adds.
That said, if you do want to give it a go, she'd suggest trying the following three drinks:
- Water, the hydrating drink
- A fresh mint tea, the fun drink
- A matcha latte, the energising drink.
I, for one, think that perfectly nails the three drink theory. Nothing too sugary, nothing too buzzy, but three drinks that complement each other and keep you hydrated throughout the day. It may sound small, but it's mood-boosting, good for your hydration levels, and a small joy, too. Will you be giving it a go?
What are the 3 types of drinks?
As above, the trend advises aiming for a hydrating drink (like water), a fun drink (like decaffeinated herbal tea), and an energising drink (like a matcha latte).
That said, nutritionist Sophie Trotman warns you to be mindful of your sugar and caffeine intake when giving this trend a go. Aim for drinks that'll actively boost your hydration, like lemon water, ginger tea, or plain old water.
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Chloe Gray is a freelance journalist who writes and talks about health, fitness, and wellbeing through a feminist lens. She was part of the launch team for Stylist magazine's fitness brand, Strong Women, and has written for i news, Women's Health, Red magazine, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, and more. She's all about building mental and physical strength, eating delicious food that fuels you well, and making the fitness industry more accessible and enjoyable. She's also a qualified fitness trainer and research nerd, so you can be sure everything you read is backed by proper science.
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