Are you constantly walking around with your water bottle struggling to drink eight glasses of water a day? Most of us know that staying hydrated is good for our bodies. However, does it really improve our health, make us lose weight, or improve performance?
Water, including flavored varieties, flushes out waste materials to detoxify the body–definitely an important function. Water also maintains blood volume, allowing the body to consume adequate oxygen to improve physical performance. Contrary to popular belief however, recent studies show that drinking eight glasses of water a day does not contribute to weight control. This can only be accomplished by eating less and moving more.
The recommendation to drink eight glasses per day is a general guideline that does not take individual needs into account such as body fat percentage, caloric needs, kidney function or how much a person sweats. Older adults, young children, athletes, and those who do physical work in hot climates are at the greatest risk for dehydration. As we age or when physical activity is extreme, the thirst mechanism that normally guides us may not work. When in engaging in a high level exercise or when working in hot climates, it is good to drink eight ounces of water every 20 minutes to avoid dehydration.
For the average person, the general recommendation of eight glasses per day is fine. Tap water is fine for fluid replenishment.
However, it is important to remember that alcoholic and caffeinated beverages only count for half sue to increased loss of fluid from them. Save the sugary sport drinks for endurance activities but flavored, low-calorie waters may make it easier to achieve those eight glasses per day. With the long days of summer upon us, it’s a good idea to keep toting you water bottle around to stay hydrated.
Paulette Lambert, R.D., C.D.E., is director of nutrition for California Health & Longevity Institute located within Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. With more than 25 years experience in private practice after an extensive clinical education, Paulette has wide-ranging expereince in clinical nutrition and the development of individualized dietary plans.
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