It’s still in the heat of summer, so you’d better heed the advice of making sure you drink 8 glasses of 8 ounces each of water, right? Uuhm, not so fast. Where did this concept come from? Actually from The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council of 1945!!! Oookkaayy. And it was based on no actual research. It recommended “1 Milliliter of water for every calorie of food,” which would come out to around 2 -2.5 quarts per day (64 – 80 ounces). The problem is, is that the next sentence of the report is usually ignored, “MOST of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”
Hhhmm. Roasted turkey is 62% water, boiled chicken 71%, grapes 82%, an apple is 85%, green peppers 94%, strawberries come in at 90%, and a head of lettuce at 96%. You can see that there is a lot of “hidden” water content in food.
What about caffeinated drinks like coffee? They dehydrate you, correct? Actually, no. A study published in The Journal of The American College of Nutrition (Grandjean 2000) used 18 healthy adult males to test this theory and proved that caffeine was not dehydrating in healthy people who were drinking normal amounts.
“You can never drink enough water!” Well, actually, you can. Water intoxication can occur if you drink excessive amounts of water. The kidneys are unable to excrete enough water (as urine), which leads to dilution of blood sodium. Mental confusion and death can result.
“You are already dehydrated if you are thirsty!” Nope. Thirst begins when the concentration of blood has risen by less than 2%. Actual dehydration begins when that concentration has risen by 5%.
Common sense (as usual) should prevail. Drink when you are thirsty. Keep hydrated, but don’t over do it by forcing yourself to down a “magic” number of ounces based on misinterpreted guesswork from 1945. Strenuous work or exercise in the heat will obviously have you consuming more than if you are parked behind a desk in an air conditioned office. One of the current “Studies” that is not only touting the “8 X 8 myth”, but even more was found to be financed by, gasp, a bottled water company. I wonder why? The bottled water industry is HUGE. Unfortunately, it’s also bogus for the most part. The majority of them are nothing more than bottled tap water. If you are complaining about the price of gas per gallon, figure up how much a gallon of bottled water will run you. And you could get the same or better right from your own tap.