By Dr. Steven Long
One of the most common questions people ask me is how much water should I drink everyday? Let me explain without drowning you in too much information.
You have probably heard these tales. You need to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Drinking 2 liters per day is the right amount. Have you heard that you should drink half your body weight in ounces?
The problem with these equations is that one size does not fit all. A 150-pound sedentary desk jockey is going to require a different amount of water than a 250-pound linebacker. The amount of water you need depends on activity and really boils down to your diet.
Most Americans eat too much processed foods, which has lower water content, and they don’t eat enough servings of water rich fruits and vegetables.
Some people drink milk, fruit juice, soda, coffee and tea. These beverages don’t count because of the caffeine and sugar content. And your glass of wine every night does not count either; alcohol and caffeine causes you to lose water.
Your size, weight and level of physical activity determine how much water you need so, in general, just drink when you’re thirsty. If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough water make it your drink of choice at all meal times. This is especially true in the morning.
Keep these obvious facts in mind …
1) The temperatures in El Dorado Hills can sneak up on us. Most people are chronically dehydrated so when it’s hot your water demands go up and you can quickly get behind. Drink water before, during and after playing sports, working out or doing physical labor. This is especially true for kids. I recommend Nuun electrolyte tablets and have people avoid commercial electrolyte drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde. These have too much sugar, food coloring and are a poor source for electrolyte replacement.
2) Drink water if your urine is dark yellow, AND has an odor. If you don’t often feel thirsty and you produce colorless to a light (straw-colored) yellow urine each day then you’re probably drinking sufficient amounts of fluid.
3) If you have a slight headache it might be dehydration. Try a glass of water before you pop an Advil.
If you don’t enjoy drinking water, try adding some fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, or a few slices of cucumber or spearmint to your glass.
Drinking a glass of water before every meal will help you to lose weight. It fills your belly so your stomach feels full and you will avoid overeating. Before you start the next fad diet to manage your weight reach for a tall glass of water and see what your body does! At first you will take a few extra trips to the bathroom each day. Don’t give up yet — just keep drinking. Your body will rid itself of excess fluid it has been storing around your ankles, hips, thighs and even belly.
Hopefully these guides help you to estimate how much water to drink daily. If in any doubt consult your personal physician or a qualified dietitian. They can help work out the correct amount for you personally, taking your health and lifestyle factors into account.
Certain medical conditions can impair the excretion of fluids from the body so may require limited water intake. Examples are heart failure and some kidney, liver or adrenal diseases. Please check with a qualified medical practitioner regarding the amount of water you should be consuming per day if you have any known health issues.
Those seeking additional information regarding this information may contact Dr. Steven Long directly at 4359 Town Center Blvd. Suite 213, in El Dorado Hills, by telephone at (916) 933-4507 or by e-mail [email protected].