07 Aug Dehydration Myths – Busted!
Dehydration Myths – Busted!
Myth: Drink When You’re Thirsty
Our bodies are immaculate, intricate, and quite intuitive. As you know, we have a built-in notification system that informs us when our innerworkings are out of balance. “Thirst” is one of these indicators, and similar to our “hunger” indicator, by the time we receive an “I’m thirsty.” message, we are already on our way to dehydration.
“By the time you’re thirsty, you’ve already lost about 1% of your body weight in water, and by the time you have lost 2% of your body weight, you are entering the dehydration zone”.
Avoid this pitfall by carrying water with you and sipping throughout the day. It’s recommended to hydrate well before (24-36 hours prior) an athletic event, as well. This is ideal because you will not only ensure proper balance of fluids during the event, but you’ll also be less likely to sacrifice performance as a result of dehydration.
Myth: Caffeine Dehydrates You
Caffeinated beverages (especially coffee) have gained a bad rap when it comes to staying hydrated. Caffeine has become infamous for its diuretic properties. However, various studies investigating the effects of caffeine on urination resulted in inconclusive results as to whether or not caffeine is truly responsible for increased secretion of urine by the kidneys. In actuality, the diuretic effect depends on several different factors and may not result in dehydration, afterall.
“Um, but I still pee a lot when I drink caffeine…”
This may hold true for you, and there are some valid reasons why this might be.
Firstly, you might be in a hydrated state, and the increase in liquid intake (which happens to include caffeine) results in increased urination. Therefore, the increase in urine production might simply be due to the fact that you’re drinking more liquid when your body is already holding onto liquid, so you’ll naturally need to excrete some.
Secondly, if you haven’t built up a tolerance to caffeine, then you consume large amounts, you more than likely will experience diuretic effects such as increased urine production. This is a result due to caffeine’s mild diuretic effects and will mostly likely occur if your body isn’t used to the change.
If you’re a regular caffeine drinker and are otherwise consuming adequate fluids, you most likely won’t experience dehydration from caffeine. It all depends on your other habits around caffeine and hydration.
This means that caffeinated beverages with a large proportion of water (such as coffee, tea and FITTEAM FIT) actually count towards your daily recommended intake. – Yay!
Myth: Sports Drinks Hydrate Better than Water
Comparable to caffeinated energy drinks, sports drinks have also gained overwhelming popularity in recent years. Sports drinks are designed to deliver liquid forms of easily-digestible carbohydrates and electrolytes, aiding in quick recovery post sweat-session. However, marketing efforts combined with the ease of access of these beverages has lead to some confusing claims as to whether or not sports drinks are needed after EVERY workout.
“For any workout lasting an hour or less, you do not need a sports drink; just water will do. Save sports drinks for after intense, continuous workouts that last an hour or longer (the key word being continuous).” This is because your body typically has enough stored energy (in the form of either glycogen or fat) to last for an hour of activity. However, the higher glucose and electrolyte composition of sports drinks can prove particularly beneficial when people (i.e. athletes) undergo longer, continuous workouts requiring enhanced performance.
There’s a plethora of information available around health suggestions, and just like other advice, be sure to research and put into practice what works best for you. What’s your go-to drink/food of choice to stay hydrated?
-Health & Wellness Coach