Often when people begin dieting they will make it a point to begin drinking more water. While this is certainly good, there are a good many who take this to an absurd amount, basing this on any number of ill informed individuals advice. Some commit to drinking a gallon of water per day, while others take it to a higher extreme. After all, if one gallon is good, more must be better, right? Of course we need water every day in order to prevent dehydration, help digestion and in order to keep our bodily functions operating, as well, water keeps our metabolism cranking at peak efficiency. This is a no brainer, but lets address getting real about how much you need. After all, there is more to life than having to remain close to a bathroom all day.
How much water do we actually need?
This is a simple question with no easy answer. How much water your body requires is completely dependent on your health, how active you are, and even where you live can make a difference. One who lives in an arid environment is going to need more than one who lives in a humid environment. That is unless the individual in the humid environment sweats profusely much of the time and therefore loses more than the individual in the arid environment. The bottom line is, there is no certain amount that is standard for all. The typical recommendation is eight 8 ounce glasses per day, yet some people may not need eight glasses per day. If you want to know that you are drinking enough water, then ensure that your urine is clear to a pale straw color. If it is darker, you are in need of more.
Remember this, you get hydration from not just water. You receive hydration by other fluids you drink, and from the foods you eat. About 20% of your hydration actually comes from food. Think of how dry your food would be if it did not contain water. That moisture in your food is providing you water whether it is from fruit, vegetables and even meat.
Other sources of water.
As I stated, you receive hydration from other sources besides a glass of water:
- Many fruits and vegetables are almost 100% water by weight. One who eats a lot of these foods will not need to drink as much as the individual who does not consume juicy fruits and vegetables.
- Beverages such as milk, juice and herbal teas are mostly water. This includes caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soda pop too. However, you will find that if you are watching your calories, water is going to be always be your better choice.
- Sports drinks are great for hydration and replacing electrolytes when you exercise vigorously for up to an hour. These drinks replace electrolytes lost through sweating and will provide sugar for energy when you need endurance.
Factors that influence your water needs.
- Exercise: Be sure to drink water before, during and after exercise that makes you sweat. If you are exercising hard, sweating your tail off, then be sure to include a sports drink to also replace electrolytes lost in your sweat besides the total loss of fluid.
- Environment: Hot and humid weather are kind of “DUH” climates where your body requires proper fluid intake. High altitudes can cause you to need more too. However, what many do not consider is that many people get dehydrated in cold weather too. You might get sweaty underneath your coat while shoveling snow. Or not feel the need for as much water since you are not visibly sweating. Consider too, if you live in a humid environment yet like to stay inside with the air conditioning cranked up, your AC unit is removing moisture from the envoronment inside your home which can contribute to dehydration.
- Overall Health: If you are sick, running a fever, vomiting and diarrhea, you have to be vigilant about keeping your fluid intake up. Follow your doctors orders if you must consume oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might required increased fluid intake are bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
- Pregnant or breast feeding: The Office on Women’s Health recommends pregnant women drink about 10 cups of fluids daily and women who breast feed need to consume about 13 cups per day.
Water Intoxication is real!
A concern in regards to folks deciding to drink massive quantities of water when they begin a diet is when common sense goes out the window. If a gallon is good, 2 to 3 gallons must be better, or so some might think. More is not always better. Water intoxication is fairly rare and comes from drinking an extreme amount of water in a short time. When you do this, your level of salt, or sodium, in your blood drops too low. This condition is formally known as hypnotremia. It is serious and can be deadly. Use your common sense when increasing your fluid intake!
If you have began a diet in order to lose weight and be healthy, congratulations! We at David’s Way are here to help you make intelligent decisions in regards to lifestyle changes to be a healthier you. Do not buy into the junk science that there is a certain amount of water you have to consume on a daily basis. No matter how many glasses of water a day you consume, you can know that your fuid intake is adequate if:
- You rarely feel thirsty.
- Your urine is colorless or a light yellow in color.
- You drink a glass of water with each meal and between them.
- If you drink water before, during and after exercise.
- Drink water if you are feeling hungry. Thirst is very often confused with being hungry
So, how much water do you need? It all depends on the factors listed above. If drinking eight 8 ounce glasses a day works for you, that is great. But do not feel that because someone else is drinking that much, that it means you must also. We are all individual, therefore our requirements for fuluid intake are also individual. There is no one size fits all with this topic.