In an article published on the 12th of July 2011, Dr McCartney mislead the public saying drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is ‘“thoroughly debunked nonsense”. She believes the water companies are out to make money, although she is wrong, she does raise a good point that too much water can cause hyponatremia.
Water is the most essential ingredient to your health, without it you would quickly die! The body is composed of 70% water, that’s right you are literally a bag made out of skin holding water; this water needs to be replenished every day. In my practice many people come in dehydrated. I know this because when I'm muscle-testing people if they are dehydrated they have global (all muscles) weakness, I get them to drink water and the global weakness goes instantly. What’s interesting is these clients quite often say to me ‘I’ve already had a few glasses of water today’, you see there is a difference to what each person needs, it depends on whether you exercise, have certain health conditions, and if it's humid and hot. It is also essential that you drink pure water, no fruit juices from a bottle, or any soda drinks, it's the number one contributing factor in being overweight. Calorie free soda drinks are even worse because of the toxic effects of aspartame.
Your body has a built in detector to tell you when you are thirsty, once you have lost 1-2% of its total body water. The difficulty is people don’t often recognize that they are thirsty and instead think they are hungry, or they grab the wrong drink. Another sign of dehydration is the colour of your urine, it should be a very pale yellow colour if it is any darker than that then you don’t drink enough water. Studies show that a healthy person urinates on average 7-8 times per day.
Sports drinks are also not good for replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes. Most sports drinks have as much as two-thirds the sugar of soda drinks. They are also high in syrup (HFCS), artificial flavours and food colouring. Consuming this after exercise will only allow you to put on weight and it unbalances your hormonal system, which also causes weight gain. A better approach is to use a healthy electrolyte with your water, such as the ‘Elete’ brand. You can also use Himalayan salt, which contains 84 different minerals and trace minerals for optimal function. Coconut water is another great choice as it is naturally high in electrolytes. Some countries use coconut water intravenously to hydrate ill patients.
Drinking too much water has its own dangers as pointed out by the article, that is because sodium is needed to absorb water and if your water doesn’t have sodium in it then it gets depleted from the body. Too much sodium depletion causes hyponatremia; where your cells swell with too much water, the brain cells especially can't handle this, therefore causing symptoms such as:
Make sure you have a good electrolyte added to your water, I use Elete, available here.
McCartney M, 2011. Waterlogged? BMJ 2011; 343:d4280 (Published 12 July 2011)
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