4 Dehydration Myths Busted
Your body needs water to function properly. We need it to regulate our temperature, to keep our joints healthy, to aid digestion, and more. Hopefully, you drink at least a glass of water a day, but it is easy to forget. When the temperature outside gets warmer it is even more important to hydrate.
Myth 1: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
It’s not too late! In fact, thirst is the body’s way of telling you to drink water. You’re not at risk of becoming dangerously dehydrated the minute you feel a little parched. When you get thirsty, the deficit of water in your body is trivial — it’s a very sensitive gauge. It might be only a 1 percent reduction in your overall water. And it just requires drinking some fluid. drinking when you’re thirsty (sounds pretty basic, right?) is a pretty fail-proof method of staying hydrated, says Dr. Timothy Noakes, professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Myth 2: Everyone needs at least eight glasses of water every day.
This general rule of thumb is outdated, propagated today mostly by bottled water companies. So how much do you really need to drink? The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends men get roughly three liters of total beverage intake every day, and women get 2.2 liters, while others say there’s no need to force water consumption if you’re not thirsty. Keep in mind those suggested intake levels include more than just water alone. Coffee, tea, fruit juices, even sweetened beverages provide your body with more water — although we wouldn’t recommend the latter for hydration purposes or much of anything, really. Even food counts. At the end of the day, how much water you should drink is extremely personal: whatever quenches your thirst.
Myth 3: Clear urine is a sure sign of hydration.
While keeping an eye on your urine output maybe isn’t the most pleasant summer activity, it really can provide a measure of how hydrated (or dehydrated) you are, essentially in real time. But it’s not clear urine that you’re looking for, but rather a pale yellow. Lawrence Armstrong, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist, and professor at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory, established a urine color chart to model a measure of dehydration. Based on where you fall on the chart, you can adjust your fluid intake accordingly, the New York Times reported.
Myth 4: There’s no such thing as too much water.
Overhydrating can be extremely dangerous — but it’s relatively rare. Drinking too much leads to what’s called hyponatremia, when levels of sodium in the body are so diluted that the cells begin to swell, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion and fatigue, and can escalate to seizures and coma. That doesn’t mean don’t drink when you’re thirsty! It truly takes guzzling copious amounts to cause so-called water-intoxication. That’s why refueling marathon runners, for example, are some of the more common hyponatremia sufferers. Of the estimated 2,600 cases of hyponatremia that have resulted in hospitalization that Noakes is aware of, he says there’s “no reason they should have gotten sick.” We only get ourselves into trouble when we drink beyond our thirst