You’ve heard it been said that we should drink a lot more water than we currently do in order to stay hydrated, since our bodies are made up of 80 percent water and need tons of the stuff to function properly. But what if this notion is false? What if we’re all looking like overzealous idiots carrying around our 82 ounce Nalgene bottles in an effort to stave off dehydration?
While experts typically recommend that we aim for 2.5 liters of water a day – or roughly eight glasses – new insight from an article published in the Australian public health journal is arguing otherwise, saying that the necessity for 64 ounces of water a day is a flat-out myth.
The primary message of the new research is this: While drinking a lot of water has been shown to decrease appetite, the authors of the article contend that consuming foods with a high water content promotes even more weight loss than just plain water. And in addition, they argue that our bodies are likely getting the hydration they need from the fluids we take in in addition to water- including coffee, tea, and even beer.
According to Spero Tsindos, a nutrition expert at La Trobe University in Victoria, as long as you’re loading up on water-rich foods like watermelon, apples, lettuce and grapefruits, you’re likely as hydrated as you need to be.
Another water myth researchers are trying to dispel? The one that says staying hydrated with water can help prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections. But this notion, they say, is really only true for those prone to recurring episodes of these conditions.
Today Show dietitian Madelyn Fernstrom saw this finding as good news, saying that it turns out the whole ‘eight glasses a day’ thing really is no longer the recommendation. The recommendation is drinking to thirst, which she believes is a novel idea.
However, this news left us wondering, ‘Hasn’t it been drilled into our minds that drinking eight glasses of water a day is an absolutely necessary part of any healthy living regimen?’ So the question now becomes, exactly how much water should we be drinking?
Our thought is this: Drink water – not too much and not too little. Eight glasses a day is probably still a good goal to shoot for, but if you only get five that’s OK, too; just aim for more than zero. And also, a couple of key things to remember are that if you’re eating a lot of high-fiber foods like granola bars and oatmeal, be sure to drink a lot of water to encourage proper digestion. And for intense workouts – especially those performed in extreme heat – drink plenty of water before, during and after to avoid dehydration or heat exhaustion.
So as it turns out, you may be able to leave the Nalgene bottle at home…at least for now. But don’t forget to get lots of water from other sources like fruits, vegetables and even coffee as well.
June 6th, 2012