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Water Myths

Myths About Water and Health


Myth: Two quarts (64oz) of water daily is all adults need to be well hydrated.

Fact: Actually, the current recommendation for water is: ½ oz per pound of body weight. For example, a 150-lb person would need 75 oz of water per day to be adequately hydrated. The larger the person, the higher the metabolic load, thus more water is required.


Myth: Thirst is the best indicator of dehydration.

Fact: Your thirst mechanism does not kick in until you are mildly dehydrated. Monitoring the color of your urine may be the best indicator of hydration. Clear to pale yellow urine denotes adequate hydration while dark yellow to gold urine indicates a need to drink more water. Taking a multi-vitamin may tint the color of your urine. Another method for monitoring hydration is to keep track of how often you visit the bathroom. Urinating at least every two hours is also a good sign that you are drinking enough water.


Myth: It is unhealthy to drink too much water.

Fact: With the exception of certain health conditions, your body will only use the water it needs and eliminate the rest. Under normal conditions, there is no risk associated with drinking too much water. It is recommended that water be sipped slowly instead of gulped down, which can cause gastric distress.


Myth: Drinking a lot of water is taxing to your kidneys.

Fact: Water is required for good kidney function. When water intake is insufficient, the kidneys must compensate by excreting more concentrated urine, which may lead to the formation of kidney stones.


Myth: If you have a problem with fluid retention, drink less water.

Fact: In fact the opposite is true. When your body is deprived of water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and compensates by conserving water. Drinking an adequate amount of water (1/2 oz per pound of body weight) will help your body maintain proper fluid balance and also flush out excess sodium, which can contribute to fluid retention. If you take a diuretic, be sure to drink plenty of water.


Myth: Sports drinks are better than water during exercise.

Fact: In exercise lasting less than 60 minutes, water is the preferred beverage. Electrolyte replacement (sports drink) is not necessary during short-term exercise and sugar in sports drinks provides empty calories. You must replenish fluid losses during exercise or you will prematurely fatigue and your performance will be diminished. Weigh yourself before and after exercise and drink at least 1 pint (16 oz) of fluid for every pound lost.


Myth: You need more water in the summer than in the winter.

Fact: Dehydration may appear only to apply to hot summer months, but keeping your body well hydrated in the winter is just as important. During winter sports activities, you won’t appear to be sweating as much. However, your body is still losing fluids and drinking water is a must or athletic performance will be affected.