As long as most of us can remember, a popular piece of health advice has been to drink lots of water each day. Somewhere in the neighborhood of eight glasses. But a researcher out of Australia questions how we arrived at this conclusion and wonders outright if our society seeks to drink too much water. And so doctors’ health advice is being turned on its head.
Drinking water is healthy in many regards, keeping you hydrated, helping you shed pounds, and lowering the amount of unhealthy beverages you drink. But water won’t make you lose belly fat, as it needs to be part of a low-calorie diet. There is research that shows that lots of water does nothing more than reduce your appetite. And another thing: there is a lot of water in other foods and drinks that we commonly disregard.
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In today’s Western society, the view is that the moment one feels thirsty, one is dehydrated. So the only way to avoid this is to consume copious amounts of water. The people who share this view believe other beverages will dehydrate you. Many believe tea or coffee will prevent your body from absorbing water and think it also causes water loss. Yet research shows that the diuretic effects of such beverages are overblown.
Unlike many nutrients, there is no set minimum level of water intake. In general, we go with the “eight glasses” idea, or somewhere in the vicinity of three liters. But we generally don’t think of the water found in food and drinks, which can be in the neighborhood of 2.6 liters a day. Also, HOW you drink your water plays a big factor. If you guzzle a lot in a short time, it likely means the water will not reach the “extracellular” space, where it is needed. So, rather than hydrating you, all it does is dilute urine.
The researcher concludes that we should consider fluid in unprocessed fruits and vegetables and juices. It may not be just water that’s needed; it may also be the other components that go along with it that will mean the body is well-hydrated.
While water is critical, the recommendation of eight glasses of pure water per day could be an overestimation. All fluids are important in meeting requirements and water should not be singled out. We should realize that beverages like tea and coffee, despite caffeine content, may not lead to dehydration and in fact may contribute to your fluid needs.