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Water Balance: Norms and Myths

We all know that drinking enough water during the day is essential for our health. However, not all understand why it is so crucial for our well-being. Water plays an important role in food digestion and metabolism; it is also critical for the absorption of nutrients and thermoregulation. Moreover, water is one of the critical components for proper blood flow in the human body, which affects our blood pressure. Moreover, 60-65% of the human body consists of water. We provide our bodies with water not only by drinking it but also by consuming foods and other liquids. Meanwhile, we constantly lose water when sweating, breathing, and urinating. Thus, if we do not drink enough water, we can get dehydrated, leading to serious health consequences such as headaches, weakness, dizziness, and tiredness. Moreover, severe dehydration can lead to kidney failures, seizures, and in some cases, even death.

How much water should you drink every day?

The amount of water one should drink depends on a person’s body weight, amount and intensity of exercise, weather temperature, how much the person sweats, and what food they eat. On average, 2.5 litres or 25-30 ml per 1 kg of body weight should be enough. However, the necessary amount of liquids increases with the amount of exercise or activity the person does throughout the day. 

You can check if you are drinking enough water by looking at the colour of your urine. If you drink enough water, your urine is light yellow or clear. On the other hand, if your pee is dark yellow, it might indicate that you need to drink more water. However, you should remember that taking vitamins B or some other medications and eating foods like beets can affect the colour of your urine.

Myth #1: Drinking Water During Meals Interferes with Digestion

Some people still believe humans should not drink water while eating food. However, there is no research suggesting that drinking water with meals can have any adverse effects on your health. Contrariwise, having some water with food can help to improve your digestion, as it helps to smooth the food you eat, making it softer and easier to move through the esophagus to the stomach. Therefore, you can drink water or other liquids while eating food without any concerns for your health.

Myth #2: You Must Drink 2.5 Liters  (or 8 glasses) of Water Daily

2.5 litres of water is an average amount for an average person with a body weight of 70kg (154 pounds) and a typical amount of exercise. According to basics of physiology, about 60% of 2.5 L of water our body takes from the liquids we consume (including soups, coffee, tea, pop, etc.), 30% of it comes from solid foods (such as vegetables), and 10% comes from metabolic water that results from the food digestion process. 

Therefore, there is no need to drink 8 glasses of water per day! Every person has an individual norm of water one should consume. The myth of drinking 8 glasses of water was created by manufacturers of bottled water who wanted to increase their sales. 

You should drink as much water as your body asks. The primary indicator is your thirst. Moreover, you can drink any liquid you want to stay hydrated. However, you should remember that sugary drinks can make you feel even more thirsty while others, such as coffee, might act as diuretics and make you secret even more fluids.

Myth #3: Drinking a Glass of Water on the Empty Stomach in the Morning Helps to Boost Your Metabolism and to Detoxify Your Body

That is one of the biggest myths, as our bodies don’t work that way! Our liver is the one responsible for removing toxins from our bodies, and not a glass of water. Moreover, our metabolism doesn’t need to be started every morning like a computer. Our body wakes up because of hormone secretion and circadian rhythm (our internal body clock). Additionally, our metabolism never stops, as it is a continuous process that happens throughout 24 hours. And, of course, drinking a glass of water in the morning won’t clean our body from the toxins that supposedly accumulated over the night.

Myth #4: Drinking More Water Will Help You Lose Weight

This one is not entirely a myth. Water doesn’t contain any calories, but it also doesn’t take a part in the fat-burning process. Therefore, water doesn’t directly relate to fat loss, as the most critical thing is the calorie deficit. However, drinking enough water can indirectly promote fat loss, affecting feelings of hunger and satiety. For example, if you are drinking water while eating meals, it will improve your digestion, which will decrease your appetite (therefore minimizing the chances of you overeating). Also, drinking water before eating a meal will make you feel full faster and thus reducing the amount of food you will eat. But there is no need to drink water on an empty stomach if you feel discomfort, especially water with lemon. 

Hopefully, now you understand more about how much water you need to drink and how to know whether you are drinking enough or not. Remember to respond to your body’s needs and keep your water bottle close, so you don’t need to ignore your body’s needs and put it at risk for dehydration.  

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