Myth or Reality: Drinking More Water Is Healthy For You
Myth or Reality: "Drink more water" is often the go-to phrase of doctors and other health professionals, no matter the ailment. Water is essential for all living organisms to survive, including humans. Water is also a calorie-free drink that seemingly poses no harm to health and is something you can never get enough of.
Whether it’s after an intense workout, an emotional episode, or an illness, the first instinct of any person is to have a glass of water. Claims of the supposedly miraculous effects of water fasting, liquid diets, and sparkling water have also taken the internet by storm these days.
Everyone seems fixated on the "at least 8 glasses of water a day" recommendation. Some people are drinking many litres of water a day as well. With that in mind, we take a look at the effects of drinking "more" water and see if it’s really as healthy as claimed. Keep reading on to find out if drinking more water to stay healthy is a myth or reality.
Why is Water Essential for Life?
Water is the major component of all living organisms. From the smallest bacteria to the blue whale, water is essential for all living beings, be it mammals, fungi, plants, or microorganisms. Water has no smell, taste, or calories. It doesn’t add anything to your body except make your belly full for a brief moment. And yet, a human being can’t survive more than three days without water.
Water makes up around 50 to 70% of your body weight. More than half the body of every human being is composed of water, which is required to carry out digestion, lubrication, filtration, temperature regulation, and nerve responses. The majority of the cell is also water, which is vital for all the important chemical reactions. Less than adequate water intake leads to dehydration, which can be deadly if not resolved timely.
When did the "8 glasses of water a day" rule originate?
You are losing water at this very moment. Yes, you read that right. Sweat and urine aren’t the only ways the body loses water. Your breath and skin constantly release water vapour throughout the day, so it becomes necessary to replenish the body with water.
The 8x8 rule, or drinking water in 8-oz glasses 8 times a day, gained prominence in 1945. The US Food and Nutrition Board recommends 2.5 litres of daily water intake. But the study didn’t have any scientific backing, and no one believed that drinking some extra fluids could have any adverse effects. The notion has been perpetuated ever since.
How Much Water Intake is Adequate?
There is no adequate water intake. It varies from person to person. Not everyone has the same physiology or lifestyle to sustain consuming 3-4 litres of water a day. The amount of water one should drink also depends on an individual’s location. Tropical places stay hot and humid throughout the year, so residents have to drink more water than those who reside in sub-zero temperatures.
Several recent studies have debunked that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day. The truth is that there is no fixed amount of water that everyone should drink. Your fluid intake is directly proportional to internal and external factors such as:
- Body weight
As a general rule, you should drink a hefty amount of water:
- First thing in the morning or whenever you wake up
- Whenever you feel thirsty
- Before, during, and after workout sessions
- With meals
What happens if you drink too much water?
Death is the worst thing that can happen if you drink too much water. Recently, it was revealed that the cause of Bruce Lee's death was drinking too much water. One of the fittest men on the planet at the time of his death, Bruce Lee, being a martial- artist, was in peak physical condition and still died from the effects of drinking water. How do you think you'll fare?
Overhydration is an uncommon phenomenon but can have severe effects. It leads to a condition called hyponatraemia, which can be fatal. The human body is full of electrolytes like sodium and potassium that help maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside the cell. Overhydration causes a loss of sodium in the body, which disturbs the fluid balance. As a result, cells swell up and increase the risk of seizures, brain haemorrhage, and even death.
Water is the source of life, but as the old adage goes, "excess of everything is bad." Water is vital for survival and should be adequately consumed by all people. It does offer some health benefits, like better skin and hair texture, an improved excretory system, a faster metabolism, and good oral health. But drinking too much water or other fluids can be fatal.
There is no fixed value of water that everyone should consume at any cost. The water intake of a person depends on various internal and external factors like the climate, altitude, the person’s age, build, and lifestyle. Simply drinking more water will not solve any problems, but will instead create and exacerbate them. Hence, the idea that you should drink more water to stay healthy is a myth.
Also Read: What is Gaslighting? Definition, Warning Signs & How to Deal with it
Also Read: Fact or Fiction: India Never Invaded Any Other Country
Also Read: Myth or Reality: You Can’t Sneeze With Your Eyes Open