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Water – too much of a good thing?

15 July, 2011

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Not all water comes in bottles

Assuming you are eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables you are already on the way to getting enough water each day. In practical terms, four pieces of fruit and a four servings of vegetables each day can provide a litre of water.

People whose diet is composed of around 50% fruits and vegetables usually have no trouble getting all the water they need.  Combined with the water released from burning glycogen many of us are already getting 1 1/3 litres of water each day before we even lift a glass to our lips. The remaining 1/3 to 1 litre of water daily – depending on your weight and level of activity – can be made up without too much effort by drinking water, diluted juices or herb teas.

No evidence exists to suggest that taking in more water than you need will make you more healthy and, although the notion is rejected by conventional medicine, some philosophies such as macrobiotics and traditional Chinese medicine believe that excessive fluid places too great a strain on the kidneys.

In his original treatise on macrobiotics George Ohsawa described the ‘drink-as-much-as-you-can’ philosophy as “simple minded” and suggested that an excess of water in the system could reduce vitality and lower body temperature as well as straining the kidneys.

If you do feel the need to drink lots of water, according to American Nutritionist Annemarie Colbin, founder of the Institute of Food and Health, it may be because your diet is too high sugar and protein: “Did you ever notice that sweets make you thirsty? Sugar is deficient in just about every nutritional element, including water. If we eat 100 grams (about 9 tablespoons) of pure refined sugar, theoretically we need about 28 to 30 ounces of water to counter balance it.

The same is true with meat.  Although some meats contain water, it is in relatively low proportions compared with other foods such as cooked beans and rice. High protein diets also ‘thicken’ the blood. This is why such diets always recommend you flush out your kidneys with lots of water.  If you are genuinely thirsty, you may not just need more drinks, you may need to adjust your diet.”