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Blog,  Health

Why is Everyone Telling Me to Drink More Water?

Everyone keeps telling me to drink more water

We’ve heard it all before. It is the first point at the start of every health-related YouTube video and I even put it at the start of my recent baking video.

But, WHY is everyone telling me to drink more water?


The health and fitness industry, as you are probably more than aware, has had its fair share of fads over the decades. Whether it be a low-fat diet or doing 100 sit-ups a day for ‘KILLER ABSSS‘ – they all claim to ‘work wonders‘. However, as you are also probably more than aware, they all have their downfalls and misconceptions.

BUT – there is one that doesn’t seem to follow the pattern. In fact, it may be such an outlier that it can’t even compare. And, of course, that is drinking more water. The big old H2O. You just can’t get enough of it – literally.

I can tell that you are already thinking, “too much of anything is bad for you!!!” My answer to that is duh. I’m not going to belittle you all and assume that you are going to go drink to your death. If that is something that you are actually worried about…

Can I Die From Drinking Too Much Water?

A Google Search for 'can i die from drinking too much water' to help find out why everyone is telling you to drink more water.

and the answer is

An edited Google Search Result for 'can i die from drinking too much water' and  it has been edited to say 'no' to help explain why everyone keeps telling you to drink more water.

Okay, so I may be exaggerating a little… You actually can die from drinking too much water but it is a LOT of water. Basically, if you drink more than your kidneys can process to urine then you get a lil’ something called ‘water intoxication‘. Moral of the story: Don’t drink more than 0.8-1 litres of water an hour consistently because a) your kidneys will hate you and b) you could die. [1]

I’m glad that we have cleared that up. NOW, lets get onto the fun stuff.

Why Should I Drink More Water?

I thought I would head over to the NHS website to make sure the things that I was writing were tip-top and correct. Much to my disappointment, the NHS website only states, ‘Water is a healthy and cheap choice for quenching your thirst at any time. It has no calories and contains no sugars that can damage teeth.‘ It then blabs on about what to do if you don’t like water. [2]

So I had to deep a lil’ deeper. I came across the, “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 × 8”? research paper, from 2002, by Heinz Valtin. [3] Valtin mentions the possible benefits of drinking water, such as better mental alertness, losing weight and prevention of disease. However, Valtin actually concludes a negative due to their not being enough sustained evidence.

I can hear your brain ticking away, “wait, so I SHOULDN’T drink more water?’ Well, I won’t hide the fact that the level of specific science research papers I could ‘easily‘ find was limited. But, Valtin’s paper was published in 2002. We are now in 2020 and damn has a lot happened in 18 years. Therefore, I kept searching. (I also wanted to find a place that explained HOW it helped, not just a list.)

Can’t believe I am admitting this but the best I could find was a Healthline article.[4] It did begin with the generic, ‘our bodies are this percentage of water’ line BUT it did go into more detail than I could find elsewhere so it still gets props.

The article by Joe Leech from 2017 goes on to explain how drinking water helps with maximising physical performance and brain function. (i.e. Try to not lose more than ‘2% of your body’s water content‘) I also found interesting how many of the benefits listed said ‘MAY help‘. These included constipation, treating kidney stones and preventing headaches. The common factor, and the jist I am getting from this, is that we don’t actually know enough about WHY it helps – it just apparently does.

So, as with many of the important things in life, take what you read with a pinch of salt. Yes, drinking water is AMAZING for you, that is why everyone is telling you to drink more! But, don’t overkill it.

So, How Much More Water Should I Drink?

This answer will (annoyingly) differ depending on who you are. As you have read above, the ‘8×8’ concept used to be quite popu-HOLD UP. I’ve just found something interesting! There is apparently a paper by Batmanghelidj, called ‘Waiting To Get Thirsty Is To Die Prematurely and Very Painfully‘ (!?), that speaks about Valtin’s publication directly.

This (Valtin’s) view, published in the American Journal of Physiology, August 2002, is the very foundation of all that is wrong with modern medicine.

Batmanghelidj, ‘Waiting To Get Thirsty Is To Die Prematurely and Very Painfull’

Apart from the fact that shots were just fired, Batmanghelidj speaks about research that explains why we shouldn’t wait to become dehydrated to drink. [5] It is even claimed that if people hadn’t waited then they wouldn’t have the various health problems they have today. Damn.

What Does All This Mean?

I thought writing this would be a lot easier than it has been. I thought there would be some clear scientific evidence showing a correlation and cause between drinking more water and better health. Whilst listening to everyone telling your to drink more water won’t not help, and may potentially improve your health, we are yet to understand why. This may potentially be the reason why no one has one answer to how much we should be drinking.

Glass of water, against a window, with a purple flower in the background. Included in 'Why is Everyone Telling Me to Drink More Water?'

Being just an average gal, that has no qualification to back up what she is saying, I may as well add my recommendation, from my reading, to the pile.

Make sure you are getting at least 2.5 – 3 litres a day. Be easy on yourself, if you aren’t in a habit already then it can be hard! Don’t go and down 3 litres within the next hour because, as we have learned, you may die. Instead, get yourself a reusable water bottle, (woo go the environment!) measure how much it holds and go from there.


Well, wasn’t that a bit of a roller-coaster! Thank you very much for reading this post all about ‘Why is Everyone Telling Me to Drink More Water?‘ and leave your thoughts on this in a comment below. Also, take this post as a reminder to go drink a bit of water – it won’t do you any harm. 🙂

Until next time my friends!

-Millie 🙂

Other Related and Interesting Posts:

5 Ways on How to Stay Motivated in February

How Ditching Diet Culture Can Change Your Relationship With Exercise

The Science Behind Motivation: Intrinsic Motivation

Footnotes:

1 – Medical News Today, ‘Water intoxication – when you drink too much water’ – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318619

2 – NHS, ‘Water, drinks and your health’ – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/water-drinks-nutrition/

3 – Physiology.org – ‘Drink at least eight glasses of water a day’ Really? Is there scientific evidence for 8×8? –https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpregu.00365.2002

4 – Healthline – 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water#section2

5 – Longecity – Drink Enough Water – https://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/458-drink-enough-water/

15 Comments

  • Tiffany

    I have spent a lot of time trying to uncover the water mystery as well. Over the years I have learned to trust my body, because every body is different and our needs vary. I notice I don’t feel great when I drink 8 cups of water a day, it’s often too much. However, if I’ve been exercising a lot this changes. I now pay attention to my pee. That probably sounds weird but I read something a while back that said your pee shouldn’t be crystal clear, means you’re getting too much water. Instead the color of your urine should be a faint yellow. If your pee is orange than you’re definitely not getting enough. The only trouble with this method is that if you are taking supplements your urine may look different. Certain vitamins give your pee an electric yellow coloration. lol

  • Nancy

    I love this approach you took about drinking more water. I mean, we need to drink water but how much is enough? People say to drink more water because they care about you and want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself from the most basic level. Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  • rasi

    haha, the last bit about this being a roller-coaster is right!
    I personally have noted that since i began drinking 3-4 ltr per day, my skin and body both saw a significant difference. In contrast when i am travelling and get lazy to drink water, i see huge drop in energy levels, how my gut behaves and how my skin feels.
    Great post!
    😀

  • Kate

    I love your approach and honesty in tackling this subject.

    I drink a lot of water in work (in fact I’ve just written a blog post about it), but I don’t set myself a certain amount I need to drink per day. Some days I hardly drink any at all compared to others. I think the most important thing is just to listen to our bodies. If I have a headache or my skin feels dry I’ll focus on drinking more water until I feel better or notice a change / feel more hydrated.

    Kate | thelittlecrunch.co.uk

  • Charlotte

    Water is my favourite thing to drink so I never have any trouble drinking it but I never realised how much was too much. I only have one kidney so should I be going just a bit below the recommendation!? Regardless, thank you for such a detailed and informative post!!!

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