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Artículo Five myths about drinking water, and one true fact that you didn’t know Food

Food

Five myths about drinking water, and one true fact that you didn’t know

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Antonio J. Rodríguez

17 Enero 2017 15:28

Does drinking water make you fat? Is drinking water during meals bad for you? What about drinking if you’re not thirsty?

Drinking water is something we should do several times a day, but most of us don’t. Do you sometimes get headaches in the afternoon? It might be because you’re not drinking correctly…

Our bodies are over 50% water. This essential liquid helps regulate our body temperature, expel waste, provide cushioning for the brain, and generate saliva to help us to eat. During our lifetime, we consume around 60,000 litres of water. Considering all that practice, it’s something we should be pretty good at.

Jéssica Gutiérrez del Pino, dietician and nutritionist at the Ana Claros Medical Clinic in Malaga, Spain, busts five myths about hydration and shares one little-known fact:

1. ‘Drinking a lot of water makes you fat’ — FALSE

Some think that the more water you drink, the more you weigh. This is true… but only for a moment: water provides no energy or fat because it contains no calories. Those who believe this myth might make the mistake of not drinking enough water. And that’s definitely not a good thing.

‘A 2-3% reduction in water, though it might not seem like much, can cause physical alterations (headaches, fatigue, decreased physical performance), cognitive impairment (diminished mental performance), negative effects on temperature regulation, and an increase in heart rate,’ says Jéssica Gutiérrez.

She also warns that reaching 10% water loss can have a serious impact on our health: dizziness, muscle spasms, delirium, exhaustion, kidney failure, decreased blood volume, and even comas.

2. ‘Drinking water leads to weight loss’ — FALSE

Although water contains no calories, that doesn’t mean drinking it will magically grant you a svelte figure. Jéssica Gutierrez reminds us that the satiating effect of liquid is inferior to that of solids because liquids pass more quickly through our digestive system.

People who try to lose weight by glugging gallons of H2O may be consuming dangerously high levels.

The kidney can filter 0.7 - 1 litre an hour. Drinking more than this forces the organ to overexert itself which can cause a decrease in electrolytes – including sodium, which is vital for the proper functioning of muscles and organs.

This, the nutritionist explains, ‘causes a rapid entry of water into the body’s cells. These then swell and break, risking the collapse of the organism.’ The body will already have given us warning signals: vomiting, severe headaches, blurred vision, and muscle spasms can all be signs of overconsumption of water.

3. ‘Women should drink more water than men’ — FALSE

The nutritionist says: ‘The estimate of daily water consumption for an adult, including food and other liquids, is 2 litres a day for women between the ages of 14 and 70. For men, the estimate is 2.5 litres.

In this total, we can include water present in tea, coffee, milk, fruit juice, soups, fruit and vegetables. However, it’s recommended that the liquid we drink should mostly be water, because that way we don’t consume too many calories.

Other factors play a part, however, like the amount of exercise we do, or the temperature. And it’s also true that women should drink more during pregnancy (2.3 litres a day) and breastfeeding (2.7 litres a day) to compensate the extra effort being made by their bodies.

4. ‘It’s bad to drink during meals’ — FALSE

‘The belief that drinking water with your meal impairs digestion is false. Water is evacuated quickly, and it doesn’t hinder the absorption of nutrients. Only under certain gastric conditions, such as acid reflux, is it not advisable to drink water during meals.’

In fact, says the nutritionist, drinking a little water at mealtimes helps you better assimilate the nutrients in your intestine, and avoid constipation when consuming foods that are high in fibre.

5. ‘It’s better to drink water just after waking up — FALSE

‘Water stimulates kidney function and helps to balance the body’s water levels, no matter what the time is or what we’re doing.’ Therefore, drinking water when you wake up is neither better nor worse than drinking it before you go to bed. Having said that, a glass of water when you wake up will ensure that your body starts the day well-hydrated. Just what it needs.

Jéssica Gutiérrez says that the most important thing is to drink slowly, without sudden surges in intake.

6. ‘It’s good to drink even when you’re not thirsty’ — TRUE

The kidney modifies the amount of water it filters in accordance with the body’s needs. The organ is also responsible for activating the signal that makes us feel thirsty. However, Jéssica Gutiérrez explains, ‘this warning signal only appears after the dehydration process has already begun.’

For this reason, it’s a good idea to drink even when you’re not thirsty.

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