Debunking 5 Common Hydration Myths

Hydration is one of the simplest, yet most misunderstood health and wellness topics out there. We’re breaking down the top 5 hydration myths that we hear in our physical therapy clinics so you can feel confident about taking care of your body.

Myth #1: Coffee dehydrates you, so it counts against my water intake.

Good news for all the coffee drinkers! It’s often been said the diuretic nature of caffeine in coffee makes it dehydrating. However, research is proving that to be false. Although some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, there’s no need to drink extra water to compensate for having a morning cup of coffee or a mid-day latte! Your coffee intake can work towards your overall hydration goals. With that being said, you shouldn’t be replacing water with coffee all the time as it can have an effect on your sleep routine and stress levels.

Myth #2: Seltzer Water is still water, so I can drink my full amount of water with it.

This is mostly true, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should be doing it consistently. Seltzer and sparkling waters do hydrate just as much as regular water, but carbonation has other effects on the body. If you struggle with gastrointestinal issues, you may want to avoid seltzer water as it can cause bloating, cramps, and a false sense of fullness. The acidity of carbonated beverages can also cause heartburn and erode tooth enamel, so moderation is key with seltzer water.

Myth #3: You should drink eight glasses of water each day.

With so many different lifestyles, diets, and other factors, hydration isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of deal. The eight glasses of water idea was created to be more of a guide and to help people determine a goal that would both be challenging and accessible for them. Given that too much water is also unhealthy, focus on a goal of half your body weight in ounces. So if you’re 150 pounds, your goal would be to drink 75 ounces of water each day. It’s very important to listen to your body and what it’s telling you, so keep that in mind as you’re determining a hydration goal.

Myth #4: You can only achieve your hydration goal through drinking water.

Did you know that 20% of your hydration comes from the food you eat? Choosing water-filled foods will keep you hydrated and healthy. You can switch out snacks that are high in sodium for veggies like cucumbers, celery, and bell peppers. If you prefer sweet to savory, you can add some watermelon, cantaloupe, or strawberries into your diet.

Myth #5: Drinking lots of water will detox your body.

Although it would be great to magically get rid of last weekend’s calories, drinking too much water is not the answer. Our bodies have natural detoxification processes using our kidneys and liver. Hydration is important to keep our metabolism going but drinking an excess of water will not speed up your metabolism. In fact, drinking too much water can damage the kidneys and makes it difficult to function normally due to the lowered amount of salt in the bloodstream.

A Truth About Hydration: Talk To a Physical Therapist

As movement experts, physical therapists can give you more personalized guidelines for what and how you can stay hydrated. Your physical therapist can discuss with you the ways in which you can stay hydrated based on your lifestyle and activities. Contact Performance Physical Therapy at 401.726.7100 to schedule an appointment at our clinics in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

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