Overhydrating Is Real, And Here’s How To Prevent It
Listen, we’ll be the first to admit that we don’t drink enough water. Despite having multiple full water bottles sitting on our desk at all times, we just can’t seem to down the recommended amount (2.7 liters for women, 3.7 liters for men). However, perhaps we’re not totally doomed to a dehydrated eternity. According to some experts, drinking water all day long isn’t actually that great for you. In fact, in some cases, it could actually be dangerous.
“If you’re drinking water and then, within two hours, your urine output is really high and [your urine] is clear, that means the water is not staying in well,” David Nieman, a professor of public health at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus, told Apple News on August 9th.
According to Nieman, plain water can rush its way through the human digestive system when not consumed with food or nutrients. “There’s no virtue to that kind of consumption,” he said.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that if your urine is completely clear, this is a sign that you’re drinking too much water. And clear urine means that you may be dealing with “overhydration,” which isn’t an ideal scenario.
In August 2018, CBS news reported that overhydration, also called hyponatremia, actually killed two high school football players between 2014 and 2018.
Hyponatremia occurs when too much water or sports drinks are consumed and the blood salt levels dilute to below a normal range. This drop in salt levels can cause cells in the body to swell, thus leading to brain swelling and muscle swelling, which, if not treated immediately, will result in death.
Of course, one really has to push the limits to put oneself at risk for overhydration.
As long as you’re staying within the recommended water-intake guidelines and still feeling thirst (which isn’t necessarily a sign of dehydration, by the way), you’re fine.
But if you’re looking to maximize your hydration, then water may not be your best option.
A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that several drinks, like milk, tea, and orange juice, were all more hydrating than plain old water.
Because these beverages contain more nutrients than plain water, the body retains more of the water within them. However, don’t ditch your water entirely — plain water is still really good for you.
You may just want to eat something while you’re drinking your water in order to help your body retain more fluids. Snack-lovers, eat your hearts out.
“People who are drinking bottles and bottles of water in between meals and with no food, they’re probably just peeing most of that out,” Nieman continued.
“Drinking water with amino acids or fats or vitamins or minerals helps the body take up more of the water, which is why beverages like milk and fruit juice tend to look pretty good in these hydration studies.”
Or, you know…Goldfish might help, too. Just sayin’.
The moral of this story? Do your best to keep drinking throughout the day, but do so mindfully. Eat a snack while you sip, keep an eye on how much you’re drinking, and if you can, substitute some of that water with a cup of tea, if you’d like.
“Water is good for you, but you can drown in it too,” Nieman concluded. And honestly, that’s the tea.
So, keep reminding your friends to drink water. It’s essential for human life, after all.
Don’t wait until you’re literally dying of thirst to take your first sip.
Carry a reusable water bottle with you and continue to drink throughout the day — morning to night.
And you know the drill. Rehydrate after a night out!
Heck, rehydrate during a night out! Bartender, please serve us your best ice water. Thank you.
Wow. A mantra to live by, if you ask us:
Drink your water, eat your snacks, monitor your pee color, and have a cup of orange juice in the morning. Do all you can to stay healthy and hydrated.