Water is essential to our existence. Our body needs it to run properly, to regulate our temperature, to protect our organs and make sure everything goes smoothly. We all drink it every day but now when its summer its more needed than ever. If you need to raise your hydration IQ here are the most common dehydration myths.
1. Myth: Dehydration is not dangerous; it only makes you feel uncomfortable
Most of us have experienced only mild dehydration symptoms such as decreased urine or sweat output, headache or sluggishness. Everything beyond that can become severe and you may need medical attention. According to the Mayo Clinic serious complications can include kidney failure, swelling of the brain, seizures or even death!
Any of these symptoms should not be taken lightly especially with children and elderly people.
2. Myth: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated
The first sign of thirst is nothing more but your own body telling you to drink some water. Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania says that when you get thirsty your body is trivial because of the deficit of water and it only requires some fluid input. Drinking when we are thirsty it’s pretty basic. The same thing goes for animals, you don`t tell them when to drink, they got a mechanism that`s warning them when it’s time to drink some water
Another interesting situation is that the bottled-water industry are telling us to constantly drink water, basically saying that humans are week when in reality we are more than capable to run in the heat!
3. Myth: Coffee dehydrates you
Caffeine is dehydrating but the water makes up for the effects so you`ll be fine unless you overdo it. Katherine Zeratsky, RD, a nutritionist from the Mayo Clinic says that anywhere from 3-5 cups of coffee per day (500+ milligrams of caffeine) can put you at risk from dehydration.
4. Myth: Everyone needs to drink eight glasses of water a day
This “rule” is also propagated mostly by the same water companies, so the real question is how much do we really need to drink per day?
According to IOM man should drink around 3 liters per day and woman 2.2, but other say that there is no need to force our body if it`s not telling us we are thirsty. We should also remember that fruits, beverages, coffee and tea also supply our body with fluids and even food counts (in fact around 20% of water intake comes from food).
Everything comes down to how much water you need to drink personally listening to your own body and not to TV or radio commercials.
5. Myth: Clear urine is a sure sign of hydration
It`s a fact that keeping an eye on your urine color (especially in summer) can provide a real measure of how hydrated you are in real time. But most people don`t know that in fact pale yellow color is a sign of dehydration and not clear urine.
You can find a urine color chart here and compare as well as adjust your fluid intake.
6. Myth: There’s no such thing as too much water
Even though over hydrating is pretty rare it can still be very dangerous. Too much water intake leads to a state called hyponatremia, with diluted levels of sodium in the body. The cells begin to swell and you`ll start experiencing symptoms like nausea, headache, vomiting which can escalate even to coma and seizures. The most common sufferers of over hydration are refueling marathon runners.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t drink but make sure we don’t go way beyond our thirst.
7. Myth: Exercisers need sports drinks
Light workouts that last about an hour don’t deplete electrolyte and glycogen reserve so water will do just fine. Today`s sport drinks with their a “mile long” lists of artificial additives may not be the smartest choice.
The best solution is to make your own natural alternative with the right mix of energy and sodium.