We hear on the news about water shortages and droughts in various states causing all kinds of major problems. I can assure you, the cause of these shortages has never resulted from our population over consuming this essential liquid. “I hate water,” “water is boring,” “I just don’t think about drinking it” are typical sentiments I heard for better than 20 years in practice. The only time you can count on people reaching for water is when thirst overwhelms them.
We are a society that needs motivation to change behavior. Knowledge and information does not offer enough of an incentive to modify behavior in many cases. Most people say, “I know, I know,” and then continue to substitute other beverages in place of water.
Early dehydration produces NO SYMPTOMS. It is important to realize this means a problem exists even though awareness doesn’t. If there are no symptoms, how dangerous can dehydration be? Without going into great detail, dehydration can be the ROOT CAUSE of many conditions; two of which are (1) High Cholesterol and (2) Diabetes. Naturally, there are many factors that can result in these two maladies, but dehydration is rarely if ever discussed at an office visit. This little piece of information might add the incentive needed to motivate oneself to change behavior. If we realized that it was possible to substitute certain prescriptive medications with FREE WATER, why would anyone choose differently.
Interestingly, elevated cholesterol and elevated blood sugar is the body’s CORRECT RESPONSE in the face of dehydration. In this case, it is NOT a disease of the body, but rather a response to create short term protection. (For a detailed clinical explanation, I will refer you to the following link:
Water, Energy, and the Perils of Dehydration by Dr. Nick Gonzalez.)
It is the body’s protective mechanism for survival. Yet, the recommended medical treatment where dehydration is the ROOT CAUSE continues to be prescriptive drugs. Does this discredit the medical profession? Absolutely NOT! It means that nutritional deficiencies are outside their scope of knowledge based on their lack of education in this area. They are trained to identify a disease, and prescribe (in most cases) a drug to address the SYMPTOM. More and more medical doctors are beginning to recognize this deficiency in their education and are beginning to see the relevance that nutrition plays in a healthy outcome.
It doesn’t take a lot of words to reach the same conclusion. WATER IS ESSENTIAL. Sometimes we need to consume substances our mouths may not enjoy for the benefit of the rest of the body.
So, how much water needs to be consumed on a daily basis to prevent dehydration? It is recommended by most professionals that one half your bodyweight (in ounces) be consumed to provide adequate hydration. (Example: If you weigh 150 pounds, the average SEDENTARY person needs approximately 75 ounces.) If you exercise, you need to add 4 additional ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise. Sounds like a lot of water!! Realize, our body’s composition is over 80% water.
Next, let it be known that caffeinated and decaffeinated tea (including celestial), caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, soda, sport drinks, etc… are NOT SUBSTITUTES FOR WATER. In fact, these products act as diuretics and cause further dehydration. Does this mean you must stop drinking these products? The answer is NO. It simply means you need to increase your plain water consumption that much MORE if you consume these products.
Finally, be prepared for a new habit as you improve your health by increasing your water consumption. Bathrooms become our new best friend! Some say this increased frequency or need to relieve oneself is annoying. Realize that this is your body’s mechanism to maintain a healthier environment for your liver, kidneys and other major organs. Frequent bathroom visits are significantly less inconvenient than kidney stones, kidney infections, urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and other diseases (mentioned earlier) that may manifest from dehydration. In addition, making this relatively simple change to your life may just start you on a new path resulting in better health decisions overall. STARTING, is the most difficult step when changing and improving new habits. Why not make it easier by making your first step WATER CONSUMPTION in the amounts your body needs!