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What is Hydration: Discover the 7 Myths and Facts About Hydration

By Ms. Kalpana Gupta in Nutrition And Dietetics

Jul 04 , 2024 | 2 min read

Hydration: Myths and Facts

Proper hydration plays an important role in maintaining overall health and well-being. It regulates body temperature, prevents overheating, and supports digestion and nutrition absorption, ensuring efficient food breakdown and utilisation of essential nutrients. However, hydration remains a topic surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Therefore, it is crucial to dispel these myths and create awareness about the facts of hydration. 

Myth: Drink Water Only When You Feel Thirsty.

Fact: Thirst is actually a sign that your body is beginning to dehydrate. Waiting until you are thirsty may result in inadequate hydration, especially in hot weather or after physical activity. To stay hydrated, it's essential to drink water regularly, regardless of your thirst level.

Myth: Coffee and Tea Dehydrate You.

Fact: Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea have a mild diuretic effect that increases urine output. However, they still contribute to the overall fluid intake. The diuretic effect is minimal as compared to the amount of water these beverages contain. However, it's important not to rely only on caffeinated drinks for hydration and to balance them with plain water.

Myth: You Need Eight Glasses of Water Per Day.

Fact: The "eight glasses a day" recommendation is a good starting point, but individual hydration needs vary depending on age, weight, activity level, and temperature. It is important to pay attention to your body's signals and adjust your fluid intake accordingly.

Myth: Clear Urine Is a Sign of Proper Hydration.

Fact: Clear urine is not always a reliable indicator. It could mean you are overhydrated, potentially diluting essential electrolytes in your body. Aim for pale yellow urine as an indicator of proper hydration.

Myth: Drinking Water During Meals Dilutes Stomach Acids and Impairs Digestion.

Fact: Water aids digestion by helping break down food and move nutrients through the digestive tract. There is no strong scientific evidence to support the above claim. While excessive water intake right before or during meals might temporarily dilute stomach acids, moderate water consumption with meals is generally beneficial and poses no harm to digestion.

Myth: Sports Drinks are Better than Water for Hydration.

Fact: Sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates, which can be beneficial for athletes who engage in prolonged or intense physical activity. However, water is sufficient for hydration for most people engaging in regular daily activities or moderate workouts. 

Myth: You can't Drink too Much Water.

Fact: It is possible to consume too much water, which can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia. Excessive water intake disrupts the body's electrolyte balance. Drinking fluids mindfully and listening to your body's thirst signals is important.

Hydration is not just about drinking water; it's about balancing fluids throughout the day to support overall well-being. Understanding the myths and facts about hydration is important for maintaining good health. We can keep our bodies hydrated by staying informed and making conscious fluid intake choices. Stay hydrated, stay healthy.