July 2, 2007

You Ask, I Answer: Water/Dehydration

Sometimes I'm really thirsty in the summer and feel weak from the heat. What's the story on fitness waters and flavored sports drinks?

-- Antoinette Moore
Austin, TX

Good, plain old water is undoubtedly the most important nutrient. Not only is 65% of our body made up of it, we also need it to regulate bloodflow and keep all systems and internal organs running smoothly.

Dehydration is the direct result of fluid loss, which mainly occurs through urination and sweat (which is why our dehydration risk increases as temperatures rise).

One good way to tell if you are dehydrated is by looking at your urine. If it is a very dark, yellow color – and if your urine output is very low – you may be at risk for dehydration.

As far as fitness waters and flavored sports drinks go, please read the following posts to see what I think of Gatorade and Propel Fitness Water.

Vitamin Water, as healthy as it sounds, has as much sugar as soda. In my mind, it should be viewed as popping a vitamin and downing it with a soft drink.

In short, nothing beats water for combating thirst.

That being said, you should only drink water when you feel thirsty. Chugging down bottle upon bottle of water because “you have to” will do nothing but place unnecessary stress on your kidneys and bladder.

The often-quoted recommendation of eight glasses of water a day is the misinterpretation of a report that recommended said amount of total liquid (including that found in our foods as well as drinks other than water) daily.

If, however, your only sources of fluids are coffee and soda, I would encourage you to add in a two or three glasses of water to your day.


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Anonymous said...

Going back a few weeks, I had to comment on this post.

While VitaminWater itself does have sugar, it doesn't have HFCS, and the sugar it does have isn't much, compared to most soft drinks. (Compare it to the sugar content of HonestTea and HonestAde, another good set of products.)

Additionally, Glaceau makes FruitWater, which is just flavored water without sweeteners. A similar product--Talking Rain's Twist line--has the same thing. Both are very tasty.

Drinking plain water really does get old after a while, and I've discovered that between these things and Pellegrino, I stay hydrated and don't reach for juice or sodas. I account for the calories and carbs in the ones that have some sugar, of course, but as beverages go, they're actually a good choice, IMHO.