We all know we need it but even amongst health & fitness professionals the recommendations can be unclear. Add to the mix, knowing that dehydration and over hydration can both be serious and life-threatening, then couple that with being moms and having to ensure that our kids are neither dehydrated or over-hydrated…and quickly that seemingly unclear information becomes downright daunting!
Below are a few common myths and the information countering those backed by the current standard guidelines. Remember that because water myths are so popular it may be easy to disagree with the things below but be open-minded and consider it all before making the best informed decision for yourself and your family.
Myth: 1. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
2. Water consumption should be to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces
Fact: Sources such as the CDC(1) and the Food and Nutrition Board(2) state that there are no scientific guidelines that state the exact amount of water a person should drink in a day. Popular thinking however is that the 8 glasses originated from a medical community misunderstanding that suggested that individuals consume an amount which calculated out was close to 64oz of water however they failed to include that the study suggested this amount could come from a combination of drinking and eating. (Scientific American)3
Myth: We should drink the same amount of water daily
Fact: The amount of water we drink varies each day as it depends on things like energy expended, outside climate, current health and even breastfeeding conditions.
Myth: “If You’re Thirsty You’re Dehydrated”
Fact: This unfortunately is an unproven claim originated in the medical world. For risk of defamation I can’t say the exact source but know that the logic behind this refutes the CDC’s recommendations that states “healthy people meet their fluid needs by drinking when thirsty and drinking with meals.” (CDC)4
The facts behind many myths relate because in the end as a people, we want to know the exact amount to drink but the indication of thirst is the same body logic as the indication of hunger or pain or anything else that is body intuition, our bodies are designed to tell us when something is needed/wrong. In our current culture we tend to be afraid to trust anything that is not scientifically proven that we forget to listen to our bodies. Not listening to our bodies can also make us susceptible to false scientific claims, as seen above.
Things to Know:
- Water should be consumed daily and we should eat a variety of whole fruits and vegetables to assist with water and mineral consumption
- Water amounts will change based on age so don’t force your kids to drink more water than necessary. Taking away the options of too many sugary drinks will help with their interest in drinking water.
- You may need to drink more water in the summer or when you are more physically active
- Researchers are still studying the links between water consumption and obesity and its unclear if overweight people need less water or if they just tend to consume less water and thus lend to their obesity.
- As with our children, if you typically drink sugary beverages or very little water it may be best to start reducing such things and drinking more water so that you can notice when your body tells you its thirsty.
- People with medical conditions or taking medicines should consult their physician as they may need to have their fluid levels monitored.
- Drinking to the goal of having clear urine can be a sign of over-hydration and thus unsafe, speak with your health professional regarding this as they may have specific answers for your situation.
1. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention. Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake. rev. May 12, 2017 https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html
3. Karen Bellenir, Scientific American. Fact or Fiction?: You Must Drink 8 Glasses of Water Daily. June 4, 2009 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-you-must-drink-8-glasses-of-water-daily/
4. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention. Water & Nutrition. October 5, 2016 https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html
Like this post? Share and pin below!