Water, Water, Everywhere,
nor Any Drop to Drink
every patient who comes into my practice the same question; "How much water
do you drink in a day as water?" And do you know virtually everyone gives
me exactly the same answer; "Not as much as I should".
reply fascinates me for several reasons which are implicit in the answer.
- How much
do they think they need to drink?
- Why should
they drink that much?
- Why don't
I push them further hardly anyone knows the answers to these points so I
thought I would tell you.
How much water do we
need to drink in a day?
is approximately 75% water and virtually all the body's processes take place
in an aqueous environment. Water is used either as a solvent, a catalyst
or a component of those processes and the body uses thousands upon thousands
of gallons of water a day. It is nearly perfect at recycling the water so
only a small amount is lost from the body each day due to respiration. It
is this small amount which needs replacing each day.
much is it?
it varies with body size and build and activity. As a guide for normal metabolic
needs take your weight in pounds, divide by two and the answer is the number
of fluid ounces of water a day you need to replace the loss. However, this
will increase dramatically if you sweat a lot by working in a foundry or
bakery for example, using a sauna or exercising. So someone who weighs 12
stone 12 pounds would need four and a half pints of water a day if they were
just hanging around.
Why should people drink
if you don't you become dehydrated and dehydration has been shown to have
many detrimental effects to the body. According to Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj
there are forty-six reasons, some of the more severe symptoms include:
blood sugar handling
concentration and memory
stiffness and lack of flexibility
our perspective of decreasing the drain on our resources dehydration makes
all the biochemical reactions in the body require more energy as the surface
tension of cellular fluids is greater. Think of the difference between swimming
through water and swimming through treacle.
Why don't they drink
answer is that they are too busy drinking other things.
ask another question. Where can you get your water from? From the foods we
eat and the liquids we drink.
can be obtained from high water-content containing foods. These are raw fruits
and vegetables. If the food has been processed or cooked the water isn't
about the liquids we drink? Well most liquids we drink contain water but
they also contain other chemicals which act as a diuretic, and make us lose
water. Anything with tea in, or coffee, caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners,
carbon dioxide or alcohol, all make us lose water. So you could get your
four and a half pints of water from coffee, say, but you'd have to drink
maybe twenty mugs of coffee a day as the diuretic effect of the coffee will
make you lose a lot of the water (and if you drank twenty mugs of coffee
a day you'd really know about it!).
thing to consider in terms of conserving our resources is that water is absorbed
by the body; a passive process, whereas if there is anything in the water
the body treats it as a food and has to digest it; an active process which
requires body resources.
it would be fair to say that most of the so-called "drinks" in our society
are really chemically-laden liquid foods and shouldn't be classified as drinks
even though they do contain water. This brings us back to Coleridge and our
opening quote. It's not the sea this time but other equally dehydrating liquids
that's the danger.
week wet your whistle with Adam's ale and see if rehydrating yourself makes