Stop drinking so much (water)

I actually get most of my daily hydration most days during lunch time when I have huge amounts of fountain Diet Dr Pepper (I don’t measure, but I’m guessing 48 ounces or more) via refills.  Otherwise, I don’t drink so much and I’ve generally thought worrying about hydration was over-rated.  For the most part, I drink when I’m thirsty.  And sometimes, if it’s not convenient, I even wait a while to drink (i.e., to fill up with DDP instead of from a water fountain).  So, am I ruining my health?  Probably not.  Really liked this Op-Ed in the NYT on what has become the cult/culture of hydration:

Water, in recent years, has been imbued with the powers of a mysterious elixir. The latest “it” celebrity’s skin care secret? Oh, just water. Feeling sluggish? You probably need more water. Uninspired and utterly hopeless about your career and romantic prospects? Well, have you had any water today?

People hydrate as if their reputations depend on it. They dutifully carry water bottles with them wherever they go, draining and refilling them with gusto.

Some go so far as to track their consumption in a journal, or with a mobile app. (There’s one that uses a plant as a metaphor for the user’s well-being. Depending on the volume of water one has consumed, it may appear to be thriving or wilting.)

Hydration is the mark of a well-adjusted, successful person. On Jan. 1, Twitter flooded with resolutions to drink more water, including from Twitter’s brand account…

“There’s no evidence that a little bit of dehydration really impacts anybody’s performance,” said Dr. Mitchell Rosner, a kidney specialist at the University of Virginia who studies overhydration in athletes, in a phone interview.

He said that most recommendations for hydration come from studies of athletes, who lose fluid rapidly during workouts or competitions, and are at a much higher risk for dehydration than the average person.

For those of us who spend all day at a desk, Dr. Rosner said, it’s best to drink only when we feel thirsty.

Overhydrating, he said, isn’t helping anyone. At best, Dr. Rosner said, “You pee it out.” … [emphases mine]

“It’s a popular idea among patients and a popular idea in consumer media that hydration equals healthy skin,” said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai in New York City.

But that’s not exactly how it works. “It’s a complete myth that eight glasses of water are necessary to maintain hydrated skin,” he said. Still, many consumers treat water like an anti-aging potion

Water appears immune to claims that its benefits are overblown — we need it to survive, after all. Its benefits have even become a meme. There are social media accounts dedicated to berating their followers for not drinking enough water.

But if you haven’t quite hit your quota today, don’t worry: Your 2020 isn’t already ruined. The tasty beverages you thought of as dehydrating, like coffee, tea and beer, are actually hydrating.

“Coffee is a hydrating beverage,” said Ms. Antonucci, the nutritionist. “If you’re drinking it, let go of the guilt. Enjoy it.”

Or, in my case, my guilt-free Diet Dr Pepper.  I’ve always been amused by the fact that people somehow believed that drinking 12 ounces of a beverage with a mild diuretic chemical (caffeine) would actually be worse than drinking 0 ounces of liquid.  Anyway, drink up.  Or don’t.  It’s all good.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Stop drinking so much (water)

  1. Andrew Oh-Willeke says:

    Hydration is more necessary out here in the high desert than it is in your neck of the woods.

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