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Water – too much of a good thing?

15 July, 2011

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Getting more

If you want to increase your daily intake, try adding one ½ pint glass of water every other day until you are drinking as much as you need.

Consider, also, the following:

  • If you find drinking water makes you feel too full, you may be gulping down large quantities of air each time you swallow.  To remedy this try drinking with a straw.
  • The idea that you can dilute your digestive juices by drinking water with a meal is a myth. Each day the body makes about 10 litres of digestive juices. A glass of water with your food won’t even make a dent in this.
  • Before engaging in vigorous exercise, try drinking at least ½ pint beforehand. Carry a water bottle with you and drink 4 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes or so to maintain body temperature and avoid dehydration.
  • Lots of people limit the amount of fluids they drink each day because they want to limit the number of times they go to the toilet.  But going to the toilet every 2 to 4 hours is a sign of good health. After a few weeks your bladder will adapt, you will go to the toilet less, and when you do you will void larger amounts pale urine.
  • While is it sensible to be guided by your appetite where food is concerned, being guided by your thirst is unlikely to work. Whether you are active or not, the truth is, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already partially dehydrated.  Sip water throughout the day and get into the habit of drinking this in preference to potentially drying liquids. This and increasing you intake of foods like fruits and vegetables (many of which are 80-90% water), porridge (85% water), cooked brown rice (70% water) and even chicken and fish (65% water) will ensure your body is getting what it needs – without having to carry around heavy designer bottles.

Some individuals may also need to make adjustments in the type of liquids they consume. Studies into fluid consumption suggest that the average person drinks plenty of liquids each day.

The problem is that many of these are “drying” liquids – those which ultimately rob the body of water.  Coffee, tea and any other caffeinated drinks act as diuretics, leeching water from your system.  Alcoholic drinks do the same thing.

These kinds of liquids don’t count towards a healthy daily fluid intake. If you’re going to drink coffee or tea opt for decaffeinated types or switch to herbal teas. Substituting the occasional bottle of low- or no-alcohol beer for your usual pint is also a good idea.

The bottom line is that the more is better approach to water is not really justified. Drink water because it is a superior liquid. Drink water because you enjoy it.  But don’t force yourself to drink extra water and don’t expect any all encompassing health miracles if you do.