Jamie Schneider

mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

By Jamie Schneider

mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

woman drinking juice

Image by UCA films / Stocksy

June 7, 2023

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Aside from the workday essentials (you know, my laptop and notebook) my work-from-home desk feels incomplete without the following: my lip balm, hand cream (beauty editor speaking), and a trifecta of beverages. Water, coffee, plus some other liquid that typically changes depending on my mood—juice, tea, some bubbly concoction, etc. 

I’m not alone: The beverage trio has become quite popular as of late, and some even swear it helps boost their productivity. But does the “three-drink theory” actually carry any weight? Find the surprising science-backed details below. 


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The three-drink theory, explained

The trend actually dates back to 2021, when comedian and writer Sophia Wilson Pelton tweeted: “To me, the height of luxury is drinking three liquids at once: one for hydration, one for energy, and one for fun.” They then took to TikTok to give more context, and the video has since racked up over 450,000 views, with people sharing their personal three-drink combinations in the comments. 

Content creator Kristen West, who dedicates her page to helpful productivity tips, jokingly calls herself a “beverage goblin,” noting that the trio helps keep her focused as she works from home. “Never underestimate the power of a fun little drink to help your productivity,” she writes.

But let’s unpack the science behind the trend, shall we? First, we know that hydration plays a significant role in your focus and overall brain health; in fact, even a 1 to 2% drop in hydration can lead to symptoms associated with brain fog1, like fatigue, headache, and poor concentration. And even modest amounts of caffeine have been shown to help improve focus, stimulate the mind, and clear brain fog, Uma Naidoo, M.D., a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist, previously told mbg

As for the “fun” beverage? Well, those accounts may be more anecdotal, but it makes sense that something that stimulates your senses (sparkling water, for example) can also stimulate your focus. Or whip up a green juice or smoothie, and you’ll feed your brain extra vitamins and minerals that help balance neurotransmitters and enhance performance (just take it from board-certified neurologist Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D.)

How to create the perfect combo

The “hydrate” portion is pretty self-explanatory—just drink more water! Better yet, try one of these infused water recipes to make your daily ounces a tad more interesting. (You could also save this infused beverage as your “fun” drink if you feel so inclined.)

For your energizing beverage, whip up whatever caffeinated confection strikes your fancy. Coffee, matcha, an Earl Grey latte…you name it. Feel free to toss in a scoop of coconut oil or collagen powder to dress up your cup.

Bonus points if your powder also contains brain-healthy bioactives like turmeric and L-glutamine, the latter of which has been shown to help with stress-induced mild cognitive impairment2. See here for our favorite collagen supplements on the market, some of which include these extra-noteworthy players (and all are approved by a nutrition Ph.D.) 

Finally, have some freedom with your “just for fun” beverage. Blend up an energizing smoothie, create an apple cider vinegar tonic, or pour yourself a glass of kombucha, vitamin-rich seltzer, or soda alternative. Dealer’s choice! 


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The takeaway

If your beverages tend to multiply as the day goes on, you’re definitely not alone. The “three-drink theory” is very much real, and it does have some science to back it up! Whether you have one drink or three, just remember to stay hydrated throughout the day—and if you need some extra help concentrating, feel free to browse our favorite focus supplements here.