Water: How Much is Too Much?

Tags: drinking water,health,weight loss,

One of the most basic pieces of health advice we receive, whether it is from a general health perspective, a body performance perspective, or a weight loss perspective, is to ensure we keep ourselves adequately hydrated at all times. Yet, there have been cases when people have become seriously ill and even died as a result of drinking too much water.

What are the facts you need to know to stay hydrated and stay healthy?

How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?

Most medical and health professionals and organizations recommend drinking a minimum of two liters of water per day. This is given as a basic level of water intake, and it is recommended you drink more if you’re hot or taking part in physical activity, in order to replace water lost through sweating. Although you can count water drunk as tea or coffee, for example, towards your daily intake, you should consider any additional factors this may bring into play, such as caffeine acting as a dehydrating agent. A simple rule of thumb to follow and keep track of how hydrated you are
is to check your urine when you go to the toilet. The clearer it is; the more hydrated you are.

What are the Benefits of Drinking My Daily Two Liters?

Two liters of water each day, and you’re going to be mindful of how you consume this as tea and coffee. What are the benefits of drinking your daily two liters of water? They include, but are not limited to:

  • Aiding weight loss
  • Being properly hydrated improves physical and mental performance, including mood and concentration
  • Aiding the digestive system and helping to keep things moving
  • Keeping other body process efficient, including the performance of vital organs including your kidneys and heart
  • Staving off headaches
  • Improved skin health and appearance
  • Reduced risk of developing a range of chronic conditions and diseases as you age
  • Protecting your joints and ligaments from unnecessary wear and tear

What is notable about this list is that it is clear staying hydrated offers long term benefits as well as keeping you healthy on a day to day basis. If drinking two liters of water per day will reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions, protect your joints and ligaments, and keep all your essential bodily functions in good working order, what reason is there not to do it?

Should I Drink Tap Water or Bottled Water?

This is a good question, and one that often leads to misconceptions. The simple answer is that it is up to you. However, bottled water being better for you than tap water has now been widely proven to be a myth. It is thought that as much as 25% of all bottled water is simply tap water that has been treated or purified, although some bottled water suppliers that do take water from public supplies are now starting to state this on their packaging. Several studies have also cited the potential for harmful chemicals to seep into water from plastic bottles as a reason to stick to tap water.

Can I Drink Too Much Water?

While cases of people becoming seriously ill or dying due to excessive water intake are rare, it can happen. Water intoxication, or hyponatremia, usually only occurs when you drink liters upon liters of water at once, and your body suffers an imbalance of sodium and water. Your kidneys are only able to deal with around half a liter of water an hour. If you are drinking water excessively, the inability of your kidneys to deal with it means the water can leave your blood and cause your vital organs to swell, leading to serious illness. Signs of water intoxication are similar to those associated with heatstroke and include headaches, a general feeling of drowsiness or not feeling great, nausea, and vomiting.

Making Sure You Drink Enough, but Not Too Much

Use the urine test mentioned earlier to keep you on track. If your urine is clear, then you’re well hydrated and don’t need to drink any more water, unless of course you’re feeling thirsty anyway. 

Drinking two liters a day is more than enough to enjoy all the short and long term health benefits; drinking more will not help you to lose any more weight, or further reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions as you age, but it could make you ill if you drink too much.

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