Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Drink up: Water myths

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I think we’ve all heard by now that the previously prescribed 8 glasses of water a day is a myth. But other myths about water persist. One such myth is that we shouldn’t drink “too much” water. What exactly “too much” is, I’m not sure. In my mind, the only way you’re really drinking too much water is if you end-up with hyponatremia. Unless you’re an athlete exercising under conditions where you’re not sweating much but you’re consuming lots of water, this would take quite a feat of effort to induce through water consumption. I’m confident that the vast majority of people could quite safely consume considerably more water during the run of a day.

Of course, precise recommendations for water consumption are difficult to provide. On average, men should consume about 3 litres of fluid per day, women about 2.2. However, we get fluid from many beverages and foods than water. Which brings me to another myth: coffee and tea are dehydrating. Coffee and tea both count toward your fluid intake for the day.

I suggest keeping a reusable water bottle with you all day and drinking regularly; especially when thirsty or when sleepy. The majority of your fluid should be consumed in the form of water.

One final myth surrounds the consumption of water and meals. Many people drink a glass of water to fill them up before they eat if they’re trying to lose weight. We often mistake thirst for hunger so it’s a good idea to have a glass of water about 20 minutes before eating to ensure you’re not trying to eat away your thirst. Of course, if you need to gain weight (or if you’re a growing child), it’s best to keep food and fluids separate to ensure maximum food consumption. Others say not to drink water with meals because it will impair digestion. This appears to be another myth. Of course, everyone is different, and if you don’t like to drink water with a meal that’s perfectly fine. However, if you do enjoy a glass of water with your meal, go for it, you can probably use the hydration.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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