We all need water to live, but how much do we really need?
If you still believe you should be guzzling six to eight glasses a day, chances are you’ve been duped by one of a new breed of wannabe health gurus, or brainwashed after years of listening to your lecturing mother.
We’re not denying the overwhelming benefits water clearly has (after all, we couldn’t survive without it), but there are also plenty of misconceptions surrounding just how much H20 we should be drinking, and what it’s really doing for our health.
Here are seven total BS lies we’ve been led to believe about water…
1. Drinking more water will lead to clear, healthy skin
While it’s nice to think sipping on VOSS will lead to Kendall Jenner’s glowing complexion, unfortunately that’s not the case. According to dietitian and sports nutritionist Robbie Clark, although proper hydration is important to overall health, it’s unlikely guzzling water will affect skin clarity.
“There’s a lack of research to show drinking extra water has any impact on skin hydration or appearance in healthy individuals,” says Clark.
2. Drinking more water will help you lose weight
This myth’s a tricky one, as there’s a fine line between water aiding and preventing weight loss.
“Research has shown drinking cold water may speed up your metabolism. The reason this might occur with chilled water only, is because the body uses more energy to bring the cold water up to body temperature,” explains Clark.
However, drinking too much water can have the reverse affect, as consuming more water than you need can dilute sodium and glucose levels in your cells, leaving your body unable to produce energy efficiently, and slowing down your metabolic rate in the process to compensate.
3. We need to drink six to eight glasses a day
Six to eight glasses of water a day has been the universal standard for some time, however there has never been any scientific evidence or official studies to support these figures.
Since we’re all different, our water intake should vary depending on the amount of food we digest as well as our gender, age, body size, health and physical activity levels.
“For most people, thirst is a sufficient indicator of hydration status. Some exceptions to the rule might include athletes who train at high intensity or long duration, and people with health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease, which will affect their thirst,” says Clark.
4. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated
It’s a common misconception that thirst equals dehydration, says Clark.
“Unless something has occurred that requires you to change your fluid requirements, or your exercise intensity and duration increases, you don’t have to drink any more than you usually would.”
Instead of forcing yourself to throw back a glass of water when you’re not feeling it, sip water throughout the day as you experience a feeling of thirst to stay hydrated.
5. Water will get rid of all your toxins
This premise is not entirely untrue, as water does play a part – but the organs within our digestive system are the real key to clearing out toxins. Our bowel removes the toxins we accumulate daily, our liver then helps clear the way for other organs to function properly, then the kidneys filter our blood and excrete the remainder through urine.
In short, the idea that eating or drinking certain things will prompt our bodies to go into detox mode is a total myth that’s been regularly debunked by scientific studies. The fact is, our bodies already have detox mechanisms built in to keep everything moving, and no amount of water guzzling is going to change that.
6. Drinking water will suppress your appetite
Simply drinking water isn’t going to suppress your appetite in the long term; because it doesn’t contain any calories and is quickly flushed from our bodies, it really only produces a very temporary feeling of satiation. But if used alongside a healthy eating regime, it can improve your relationship with food.
“Drinking water with meals can improve eating habits, making you pause between bites and check in with your hunger and fullness signals. This in turn can prevent overeating,” notes Clark.
7. Water between meals is bad for digestion
Many health gurus suggest drinking water before meals will dilute stomach acid and digestive enzymes, making it difficult for your body to properly absorb a meal. However, this myth implies our digestive systems are unable to adapt their secretions to the consistency of food, which is absolutely not true. In fact, we have very sophisticated signalling systems.
Clark confirms water between meals can actually improve our digestion, as the liquid helps break down large chunks of food.
“Water makes it easier for food to pass through your oesophagus and into the stomach. It’s important to know your stomach secretes water, in addition to digestive enzymes and gastric acid, during the digestive process. Therefore, water is needed to promote the proper function of the enzymes.”
Images via tumblr.com and giphy.com.
Comment: How much water do you drink a day? Do you think it makes a difference to your health?