Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Essential Water

I wanted to add to Peter's thoughts on fluid intake. Many people ask, "How much water should I drink?" The standard response is 8 -10 cups of water a day. The average adult loses about 10 cups of water a day through perspiration, urination, bowel movements and breathing. However, if you are an active individual you will tend to lose more water.

Most of us substitute and say things like, "Well I had coffee this morning, it has water in it." Yes it does but it also has caffeine. Caffeine actually contributes to dehydration by removing water from the body. So, if you are active try to consume fluids that have no caffeine or if you do don't count that as your fluid intake for the day. I know most of us like our cup of Java in the morning but try to replace that with water once you are awake!

What about sports drinks? They do contain electrolytes essential for muscle function, but be careful of the high sugar content contained in the drinks. One of our graduate students found that athletes that consumed sports drink ad libitum during practice were actually more dehydrated following practice than those that consumed just water.

In the end what does this mean: carry water with you and sip/drink it throughout the day. Don't rely on high sugar, caffeinated drinks to quench your thirst.

Happy drinking!

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