When it comes to dehydration, there is no shortage of myths floating around the Internet and in the public opinion as well. Some of these half-truths range from the simple to the outlandish. Normally myths are harmless and add to a topics mystique, but in the case of dehydration, these falsities can prove harmful to individuals not well versed in proper hydration practices. In this article, we are going to look at some common wive’s tales about dehydration.
Water is essential to our existence – we can go longer without food than we can without water. Every cell within our body requires a healthy dose of H20 to work, and when we are lacking in the proper hydration levels, our body has trouble with things such as regulating temperature, protecting organs, and lubricating joints.
Dehydration and Hydration Myths
Below is a list of some of the most common dehydration and hydration myths.
You Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day
One of the most common hydration myths on the planet is that you must drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. In truth, the amount of water each person needs is specific to that person and their daily habits, including the food they eat and their individual activity level. For instance, a pro level athlete will require much more water to stay hydrated than your average run-of-the-mill couch potato.
You Can Never Drink Too Much Water
This is a huge – and potentially deadly – myth. You can definitely drink too much water, causing your body to enter into a state known as hyponatremia. Basically the water level in your body becomes unbalanced, causing the sodium in your blood to drop below healthy levels.
Water is the Only Way to Keep Hydrated
While water is certainly a great way to stay hydrated and avoid the effects of dehydration, it is not the only way that our body takes in water each day. Around 20% of our daily hydration needs, in fact, comes from the foods we eat. To optimize this level, you can eat foods that are high in water content, such as strawberries, melons, and cucumbers.
Drinks such as coffee, soda, and sports drinks also contribute to hydration needs as well, though in most instances water and water-rich foods are your best bet to keep you body healthy.
Clear Urine Means that You Are Hydrated
This is a common myth you hear people say all the time. While urine color is indeed an indicator of hydration levels, urinating a clear liquid does not mean you are hydrated. The ideal color of urine should be pale yellow – if it is too dark or has a pungent odor, it means you are dehydrated.
Athletes Need Sports Drinks to Stay Hydrated
When you exercise, your body loses not just water, but minerals as well, as you sweat out not just water, but sodium as well. To help replenish these minerals – known as electrolytes – some people suggest drinking sports drinks. A better option is to drink electroyte water, which you can purchase in a store or make yourself by adding a little salt and some fresh squeezed fruit into a bottle of spring water. Electrolye water is better than sports drinks because it isn’t full of calorie laden sugars and chemicals.