Have you ever heard the theory that you need to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to avoid dehydration? How about the theory that only water can hydrate you, and that other fluids don’t count towards that 8 glasses? Well, those water myths have gone belly up in recent years. The CDC has done away with that 8 glasses of water myth and now recommends drinking water when thirsty to avoid dehydration. Additionally, they have determined that any fluid or food that is high in water content adds to hydration. This means that you no longer need to drink large quantities of water, but can instead focus on listening to your body’s signals and drinking when it tells you to drink.
If one of the traditional, long standing arguments for water consumption has been debunked, does that mean other former facts may be considered myths as well? The answer is yes, but also no. Let’s go through some of the more common myths on drinking water to determine fact from myth.
Common Water Concepts:
- Eight glasses of water a day
- False! Doctors now recommend drinking when thirsty and count any food or beverage with a high liquid content towards hydration. If you are involved in strenuous activity, especially in hot weather, it doesn’t hurt to drink more often. A sister-myth, that by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated, has also been proven false. When thirsty, it’s time to get a drink, but you aren’t already into the stages of dehydration.
- Water flushes toxins from the body
- True! The kidneys use water to flush out a number of toxins. When they do not have enough water, they cannot properly remove the toxins and they end up staying in the body. Ideally, your urine should be a straw yellow color. If it comes out dark yellow, it’s a good sign that you need to drink more water to better flush out the toxins.
- Drinking water helps moisten the skin and reduce wrinkles
- False! When a person is severely dehydrated their skin can take on a “dehydrated look’, causing people to believe that the moisture levels in the skin are directly tied to how much fluid is consumed. In reality, the water we drink does not make it directly to the epidermis. Instead, the moisture in the skin is effected by our environment, how we clean ourselves, how much oil the skin produces, and other factors.
- Drinking water for weight loss
- True! Studies have shown that drinking cold water can help speed the metabolism and increase weigh loss. There is also the added side effect of feeling fuller at meals when drinking water, which results in decreased calorie consumption. How about replacing sugary drinks, like fruit juices and soda, with water? Doing so can significantly reduce a person’s caloric intake, leading to even more weight loss.
- Drinking too much water can cause harm
- True! There are certain health conditions, especially those involving the kidneys, which can cause sensitivity towards water consumption. High blood pressure, edema (swelling in the extremities), and kidney transplant patients need to monitor their water consumption and speak with their doctor before significantly increasing water intake.
At the end of the day, water is vital to our health and offers some great benefits when we drink it. Not only does it flush the toxins from our body, it helps us lose weight, and maintain a healthy balance. What water drinking myths and facts have you come across? Tell us in the comments below!