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How Much Water To Drink Daily

Drink when you're thirsty


For most young, healthy people, the best way to stay hydrated is simply to drink when you’re thirsty.



If you’ve spent any time on social media or visited an athletic event lately, you’ve surely been bombarded with encouragements to drink more water.

  The purported benefits of excess water consumption are seemingly endless. They promise improved memory and better mental health, increased energy, and better complexion. “Stay hydrated” has become a new version of the old salutation, “Stay well.”

But what, exactly, does “stay hydrated” mean? These advertisers are going beyond normal, sensible limits.

Staying hydrated is definitely important, but the idea that the simple act of drinking more water will make people healthier isn’t true. It is true the body requires water to flush out poisons and operate all te biochemical reactions, but drinking when thirsty is a good way to measure.

Most are not walking around chronically dehydrated. We should not be sipping water all through the day.

From a medical standpoint, the most important measure of hydration is the balance between electrolytes like sodium and water in the body. And you don’t need to chug glass after glass of water throughout the day to maintain it. A sip now and then is good but let’s be sensible.

How much water do we really need to drink?

We’ve all been taught that two litres of water per day is the magic number for everyone, but that notion is a myth, said Tamara Hew-Butler, an exercise and sports scientist at Wayne State University.

Unique factors such as body size, outdoor temperature and how hard you’re breathing and sweating will determine how much you need, she said.

A 90kg (185 pound) person who just hiked 15km in the heat will obviously need to drink more water than a 55kg office manager who spent the day in a temperature-controlled building.

The amount of water you need in a day will also depend on your health. Someone with a medical condition like heart failure or kidney stones may require a different amount than someone taking diuretic drugs, for example. Or you may need to alter your intake if you’ve been ill, with vomiting or diarrhea.

For most young, healthy people, the best way to stay hydrated is simply to drink when you’re thirsty.

Those who are in their 70s and 80s, may need to pay more attention to getting sufficient fluids because the thirst sensation can decrease with age.

Don’t rely on urine color to accurately indicate your hydration status. It’s possible that dark yellow or amber urine could mean that you’re dehydrated, but there’s no solid science to suggest that the color, alone, should prompt a drink.

Do I have to drink water to stay hydrated?

Not necessarily. From a purely nutritional standpoint, water is a better choice than less healthy options such as sugary sodas or fruit juices. But when it comes to hydration, any beverage can add water to your system.

I must emphasize; your nervous system and other physiology following will not accept coffee or soda as “water” and all of that must be flushed out. Taking in a lot of cafeine and sugar could eventually cause you to become diabetic. Therefore, drinking filtered water is a better choice.

One popular notion is that drinking beverages with caffeine or alcohol will dehydrate you, but if that’s true, the effect is negligible,

A 2016 randomized controlled trial of 72 men, for instance, concluded that the hydrating effects of water, lager/beer, coffee and tea were nearly identical.

You can also get water from what you eat. Fluid-rich foods and meals like fruits, vegetables, soups and sauces all contribute to water intake. Additionally, the chemical process of metabolising food produces water as a byproduct, which adds to your intake too.

Do I need to worry about electrolytes?

Some sports drink ads might have you think you need to constantly be replenishing electrolytes to keep their levels in check, but there’s no scientific reason for most healthy people to drink beverages with electrolytes added.

Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium are electrically charged minerals that are present in the body’s fluids (like the blood and urine) and are important for balancing the water in your body. They’re also essential for proper functioning of the nerves, muscles, brain and heart.

When you become dehydrated, the concentration of electrolytes in your blood rises, and the body signals the release of the hormone vasopressin, which ultimately reduces the amount of water that’s released into the urine so that you can reabsorb it back into your body and get that balance back in check.

Unless you’re in an unusual circumstance — doing very intense exercise in the heat or losing lots of fluids from vomiting or diarrhea — you don’t need to replenish electrolytes with sports drinks or other products loaded with them. Most people get enough electrolytes from food.

Will drinking more water, improve your health?

No. Of course, people with certain conditions, like kidney stones or the more rare autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, may benefit from making an effort to drink a little more water than their thirst would tell them to.

Most healthy people who blame feeling ill on being dehydrated may actually be feeling off because they’re drinking too much water. Maybe they’ll get a headache or they’ll feel badly and they’re thinking, ‘Oh, I’m dehydrated I need to drink more.

If such a person were to drink more and more and more water, he would feel worse.

We can go deeper in to the physiology of this but the summary of advice is, drink when you feel like your mouth is dry, or your throat is dry and you want a little sip.

Leave it to the big name advertising agencies to promote drinking quarts of water daily. And... what do they know or care about your health? Nothing. They want to sell more advertising.

Some people have actually drunk 7 litres or quarts of water in a day and it finally killed them. Basically, they drown themselves from the inside to the out! You have to ask yourself sometimes, ‘how can anyone do something so foolish?’

How do I know if I’m hydrated enough?

Your body will tell you. The notion that staying hydrated requires complex calculations and instantaneous adjusting to avoid dire health consequences is just bunk. One of the best things you can do is to stop overthinking it.

You’ll notice I’ve approached eating to lose weight the same way. Eat what is healthy, avoid what is not and given time your body will lose excess weight without thinking about it or measuring calories or carbohydrate grams. Similarly, with water, just drink if you’re thirsty. It really is that easy.

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