If you are tired of receiving mixed signals about what we should eat, what we shouldn’t, what we should drink, what we shouldn’t, how much we should drink, etc., you are not alone. Most of us have become exhausted listening to expert opinion about what is, and what is not good for us. We all hop on the band wagon in search of optimal health only to find, a couple of years down the line, that they were completely wrong about their recommendations. That leaves most of us scratching our heads wondering which advice to believe and which to bypass.
The truth is that anything which is extreme is probably not good advice. Our bodies are made with a design. Everything that our body does it does so for a reason, including the signals that it sends to our brains. Take for instance thirst. When we experience the sensation of thirst it is our body’s way of telling us that we are in need of water. There are some experts who would have us believe that our bodies are somehow misguided, or that it doesn’t really know when it is low on water. They tell us that we should ignore it if it is not telling us we are thirsty and chugalug.
Why the big push for pounding water?
Several years ago Heinz Valtin who is a leading expert of kidney function at Dartmouth Medical School, decided that he was going to test the hypothesis of the medical community that the body needs eight, eight ounce glasses of water daily. He was shocked to find that there was absolutely no definitive studies out there that even suggested that the “eight times eight” rule was a viable one. What he did find was that, for healthy adults, drinking that much or more, could in fact be dangerous to their health. Not only does drinking excess water increase your chances of getting hypnotremia, it also has the potential to overload the system with exposure to pollutants.
So where did the notion that eight glasses of eight ounces was recommended? The problem is that no one knows. We do know that when you consume too much water in a short period of time it dilutes the sodium concentration in the blood which results in the expansion of blood cells. That can result in edema in the brain in severe cases, although not common. The kidney’s are not equipped to keep up with that type of regulation. So not only does it cause edema in the cells, it taxes the function of the kidneys. You can imagine, on a continual basis, that it is probably not good for you.
So how much water do I actually need?
Every body is different, every body’s kidneys function differently, and with everyone expending fluids at a different rate due to things like perspiration, urination and the like, the best gauge that you have to go by is your body. Thirst is the mechanism through which the body is able to tell you what it does, and does not need. I suppose if we all stopped listening to the experts and started listening a little more to what our bodies are telling us, we may find a better optimal health for ourselves individually. So, although to some it may not sound scientific enough, just start listening to the cues that your body is giving you and follow them.