Debunking 10 Common Myths About Water & Hydration
Are you still following the “eight glasses a day” rule? Or maybe you’ve heard that cold water burns more calories? These well-intentioned suggestions often carry a load of myths and misunderstandings that lead to confusion. In this article, we’ll separate fact from fiction and provide the knowledge you need to make smart choices about your daily water intake.
Let’s dive into 10 facts about hydration!
Myth #1: Everyone should drink eight cups of water daily.
We’ve all heard the standard advice to drink “eight glasses of water daily.” But times are changing, and so should your approach to staying hydrated. Generally, aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily, adding ¼ tsp natural sea salt per liter of water. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., then you would aim for roughly 75 oz per day.
Don’t forget that your food can also be just as powerful when aiming for your hydration goal. In fact, about 20% of your fluids come from foods you eat. Think about juicy fruits like watermelon, cucumbers, oranges, or even a bowl of soup or bone broth. These foods contain significant water and nutrients that your body gladly soaks up.
Myth #2: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
The human body has evolved over thousands of years to signal when something is off-balance, and thirst is just one of those brilliant signals. When your body senses it’s losing fluids, it sends a message to your brain: “Hey, I’m running low on fluids, and it’s time to replenish!” But thirst doesn’t kick in at the exact moment you become dehydrated; it’s your body’s way of preventing you from reaching a critical level of water loss.
Instead of reacting to thirst, drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration in the first place. Remember that hot weather, intense physical activity, or illness can significantly increase your body’s fluid requirements. In these cases, waiting for thirst to kick in may not be sufficient to maintain proper hydration levels.
Myth #3: Water alone provides all your essential minerals.
Unless you’re sipping from a pristine natural spring in untouched wilderness, the water from your tap is unlikely to contain all the vital minerals your body needs. Plus, the type and amount of minerals in your tap water can vary greatly, depending on where you live and the source of your water supply. Consider adding a picometer-size liquid mineral formula to your daily routine to cover your bases. Combining it with a balanced diet guarantees your cells get what they need, even if your water falls short.
Myth #4: Sports drinks are a great way to rehydrate after exercise.
Sports drinks have been promoted for years as the ultimate post-workout beverage, but there’s more to the story. Yes, sports drinks are designed to replenish electrolytes, but they also come loaded with sweeteners and artificial flavors. That sugar rush may give you a quick energy boost, but be prepared for the inevitable crash that follows.
On the other hand, water is the best hydrator – calorie-free and all-natural. And there’s a super easy (and cost-effective) way to make your water even more effective for rehydration. Just a pinch of natural sea salt, like Himalayan or Celtic! One of the key benefits of sea salt water is its natural electrolyte content.
When we work up a sweat during exercise, we lose electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Sports drinks often try to mimic this balance, but sea salt has it in its purest form. Sea salt water helps your body absorb fluids more efficiently, meaning quicker recovery time and less post-workout fatigue.
Myth #5: You shouldn’t drink water while eating.
The idea behind this myth is that drinking water during meals dilutes your stomach’s digestive juices, hindering food breakdown and nutrient absorption. But stomach enzymes don’t just lose their power with a glass of water. Your stomach continually produces digestive juices and fine-tunes their release to match the type of food. Hydrating while you eat can actually be a good thing. Water aids digestion by softening your food and making it easier for enzymes to do their job. Have you ever tried to swallow a dry cracker? It’s not pleasant, and it doesn’t magically boost digestion either.
The key here is moderation. While it’s generally okay to sip water during meals, be careful not to overdo it. Chugging excessive amounts can make you feel overly full, leading to gut discomfort. Also, consider the water temperature – icy cold or scalding hot might upset your digestion.
Myth #6: All water is created equal.
There’s a misconception that all water is essentially the same, but that’s far from the truth. Tap water typically undergoes chemical treatment and may contain traces of pollutants. Filtered mineral water, on the other hand, includes key nutrients that help maintain proper hydration levels, prevent muscle cramps, and support nerve and muscle function. Now, other types of water aren’t necessarily harmful. They’re excellent for preventing scale buildup in appliances and can be gentler on your skin and hair. But when it comes to overall health benefits, adding minerals to your water provides the nutrient boost your body needs to thrive.
Myth #7: By drinking lots of water at one time, you can “store up” for later.
Instead of playing catch-up with your hydration needs, why not stay ahead of the curve? Chugging large amounts all at once can overwhelm your kidneys and bladder, resulting in frequent bathroom trips and potential fluid loss. Binge-drinking water can also disrupt your electrolyte balance, which can be especially risky for certain medical conditions or when taking medications. So, what’s the key to proper hydration? Consistency. Make it a habit to sip water throughout the day instead of scrambling to catch up.
Myth #8: Cold water burns more calories.
This myth revolves around thermogenesis, the process where your body generates heat and burns calories. Some argue that drinking icy water forces your body to work harder to raise its temperature, thus burning more calories.
While there’s some truth to the idea that your body expends energy to warm up cold water, the calorie burn is minuscule. We’re talking about a few extra calories, not a miracle weight loss solution. To put things in perspective, a 16-ounce glass of ice-cold water might only burn around 8-16 extra calories – equivalent to a tiny bite of an apple! If weight loss is your goal, focus on sustainable lifestyle changes like incorporating a balanced diet, an exercise routine, and maintaining a calorie deficit.
Myth #9: Clear urine always means you’re hydrated.
Clear urine might seem like the gold standard for being well-hydrated, but it could indicate that you’re drinking too much fluid, flushing essential nutrients from your system. And it’s not just about your water intake; various factors, like diet and medications, also play a role. Instead of fixating solely on urine color, pay attention to your bathroom habits. If you’re consistently going and producing a reasonable amount of pale yellow urine, chances are you’re at a good level.
Myth #10: Water filters remove all contaminants.
Water filters use various methods like physical barriers, chemical reactions, and absorption to remove contaminants from water. But they don’t make your tap water 100% pure. There are different types of water filters, each with its limitations. Basic pitcher filters can remove chlorine taste and odor but may not eliminate heavy metals or certain bacteria. Reverse osmosis filters can remove many contaminants, but they’re not always practical for every household. Some pollutants, like certain pesticides or harmful organic compounds, may require specialized filters or additional treatment methods.
What you should look for in a water filter:
- Does the unit remove particles and sediment? What size particles are filtered out?
- Does the unit remove bacteria? Does it prevent bacterial growth in the unit?
- Does the unit remove fluoride, chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals?
It’s important to research and choose a filter that suits your needs. Understanding the water quality in your area and the contaminants you want to address is the first step in making an informed choice.
Should I drink distilled or reverse osmosis water?
Distilled water is devoid of chemicals but also devoid of minerals which give it its life force and make it an unparalleled electromagnetic conductor that supports that body’s metabolism. If you do use distilled or reverse osmosis water, note that you should replace the minerals missing from the water (both the magnesium and other electrolytes). You can do this by adding a picometer-size liquid mineral formula to each serving.
What about bottled water?
Unfortunately, there is no regulatory agency that assures the quality of bottled water. So, water companies don’t necessarily tell you where the water comes from, whether it is tested, and if tested, did the water pass the tests. You can research a particular brand and ask the company these questions (where does the water come from, is it tested, and did the water pass the test as contaminant free).
If you do use bottled water, go for brands that are:
- high in magnesium
- low in calcium
- have a neutral pH
It’s time to leave behind the outdated advice and embrace a more personalized, balanced approach to staying well-hydrated. Remember, it’s not about hitting a specific number; it’s about listening to your body and understanding your unique needs.