T Nation

Article: Don't Need Water

This article basically says just drink some water when you’re thirsty.

We have some articles here on T-Nation that provide scientific reasoning for why we need more water than this, don’t we?



Q: I?ve heard you should drink eight glasses of water a day. This seems like a lot. Is it really necessary?

A: No. Water is essential, but there?s no need to mega-water our bodies.

The body has a built-in way of controlling hydration and telling us how much we should drink. It?s called thirst.

An extensive review, published recently in the American Journal of Physiology, could not find medical evidence to support a need for those eight glasses a day. Drinking large amounts of water will not curb your hunger, ?flush? away toxins or make your skin look moist and dewy. (Your skin will look dry if you become medically dehydrated, but no one is telling you to stop fluid intake. You will become thirsty long before you become dehydrated.)

In fact, there are good reasons not to force yourself to drink too much water. Over-hydration can lead to wetting accidents as your overfilled bladder contracts before you reach the bathroom.

And if you imbibe faster than your kidneys can process, you risk dilution of electrolytes and water intoxication, causing confusion and coma.

The “Today” show?s Dr. Judith Reichman takes a look at the many medications that emerged in 2004 ? and what?s on the horizon in ?05.

Dr. Judith Reichman, the ?Today? show’s medical contributor on women’s health, has practiced obstetrics and gynecology for more than 20 years. You will find many answers to your questions in her latest book, “Slow Your Clock Down: The Complete Guide to a Healthy, Younger You,” published by William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins.

Yeah. One time, I drank a bunch of water and went into a coma.

This article from the American Physiological Society says that there is no evidence that regular, sedentary folks require 8 glasses of water per day, and that coffee and alocohol actually contribute to your daily water intake.


“Despite the seemingly ubiquitous admonition to “drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day” (with an accompanying reminder that beverages containing caffeine and alcohol do not count),rigorous proof for this counsel appears to be lacking. This review sought to find the origin of this advice (called “8 x 8” for short) and to examine the scientific evidence, if any, that might support it. The search included not only electronic modes but also a cursory examination of the older literature that is not covered in electronic databases - and most importantly and fruitfully, extensive consultation with several nutritionists who specialize in the field of thirst and drinking fluids. No scientific studies were found in support of 8 x 8. Rather, surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders - analyses of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals - strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed because the surveyed persons were presumably healthy and certainly not overtly ill. This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks (and, to a lesser extent, alcoholic beverages) may indeed be counted toward the daily total, as well as by the large body of published experiments that attest to the precision and effectiveness of the osmoregulatory system for maintaining water balance. It is to be emphasized that the conclusion is limited to healthy adults in a temperate climate leading a largely sedentary existence - precisely, however, the population and conditions that the “at least” in 8 x 8 refers to. Equally to be emphasized - lest the message of this review be misconstrued - is the fact (based on published evidence) that large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 x 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases, and certainly are called for under special circumstances, such as vigorous work and exercise, especially in hot climates. Since it is difficult or impossible to prove a negative - in this instance, the absence of scientific literature supporting the 8 x 8 recommendation - the author invites communications from readers who are aware of pertinent publications.”

“Wetting accidents?” You know I have to tell you…I chugged down a lot of water in my day, but I have never once had a “wetting accident.”

I can just see it now, ancient humans, fretting over their water intake…

Uh-huh… Maybe they’re talking about a swimming pool per day or something? Seriously, drinking more than the kidneys can deal with sounds like a pretty difficult thing to do.

Of course, I’ve heard of kids on ecstasy doing stuff like that, but as far as I know, they don’t feel thirst (or lack thereof).

8 glasses of water a day. 8 glasses times 8 oz/glass equals 64 oz or 1/2 gallon.
In order to have trouble you need to get hyponatremia.


“Sodium is the dominant extracellular cation, and its homeostasis is vital to the normal phsiologic function of cells. Normal serum sodium is between 135-145 mEq/L. Hyponatremia is defined as a serum level less than 135 mEq/L and is considered severe when the serum level is below 120 mEq/L.”

“In the normal condition, renal handling of water is sufficient to excrete as much as 15-20 L of free water per day.”

“Psychogenic polydipsia can produce hyponatremia if free water intake exceeds 10-15 L/d”

Hyponatremia is when the electrolytes get diluted too much. The kidneys of normal healthy people can process out as much as 3.96-5.28 gal of free water per day. If you have a mental problem and you drink water like crazy (2.64-3.96 gal/day) you can get your electrolytes out of wack.

You have about 75 ml/kilo blood volume. This means a 220 lb man has 7.5 liters of blood while a 110 lb woman has 3.75 liters of blood. This means that if you are on the small side I would not exceed 2 gallons of free water a day. This is not considering if you sweat.

Caution: I would not try to drink a gallon of free water at one time. This could get your electrolytes out of sorts.

So how much water should you drink. If I recall correctly. Dr. John M. Berardi says you should drink enough water that you have to urinate 5 times a day and that the urine is clear not dark.

A college kid died this month in California. He was drinking water from a 5 gallon container.

If I remember right, one liter per hour is the recommended amount of straight water one should drink.

Gatoraid has sodium and potasium and is better to drink if you are sweating.

Bitch, I drink twice this amount of water and I’m still looking for more at the end of the day. Maybe if your cunt-ass wasn’t too busy drinking Diet Pepsi and coffee all day you’d fit it into your “busy” schedule to drink 64 oz of water and find out that it isn’t that much!

Damn! Some people man.

[quote]tall tom wrote:
A college kid died this month in California. He was drinking water from a 5 gallon container.

If I remember right, one liter per hour is the recommended amount of straight water one should drink.

Gatoraid has sodium and potasium and is better to drink if you are sweating.[/quote]

Gatoraide is also full of artificial sugar.

Whatever amount of water it takes you, personally, to go clear, is enough.

As far as electrolytes go, if you’re seriously concerned about them in regards to sweating and hydration, there are electrolyte enriched waters. I occasionly get one before workouts because they taste better and I’ve found give me a slight recovery boost during the workout.

The only time I ever had a problem drinking too much water was when I had kidney failure (long story…poisoned self at work I am a research chemist) Anywho I drank about 5 L a day for about 3 days thinking I had the flu and needed to keep myself hydrated turned out I was hyponatremic and did in fact experience the intoxication…not the fun kind either the kidneys made a 100% recovery too! But I dont see how there is any possible way that 8 glasses could cause that in a normal healthy person.

How the hell has something so simple been made so complex?

This is purely anecdotal, but in my practice it seems that people respond better to treatment when they at least make a token effort to hydrate.

One medical author who wrote a series of case studies regarding his use of water as a treatment for a variety of ills suggests that the thirst mechanism becomes weakened in chronically dehydrated individuals. They mistake their thirst for hunger and eat instead of drinking.

(The book is rather ponderously titled “Our bodies many cries for water” or something like that.) The writer suggests sipping rather than guzzling as water taken in more slowly is more readily absorbed, whereas huge amounts taken rapidly tend to be excreted. (Perhaps leading to “wetting accidents”.) :slight_smile:

As a practical matter, when I’m thirsty, I drink. If my fingers feel swollen at all, I drink. And if my urine is darker than a very pale yellow, I drink.

There’s kids at school who have 4 16 ounce Gatoraides a day and think that cause its a sports drink it will make up for the Laffy Taffys, M&Ms and all the other crap they eat, including the school lunches. As for the school lunches, most kids who eat them will get a double order of french fries as 2 of their vegatables, with nacho cheese sauce, corn, a crap-burger which they cover with ketchup and take a couple bites out of and a big cinnamon role or something for dessert.

64 ounces of water is nothing in my opinion and most people have a blunted sense of thirst because they drink hypertonic sugar solutions all day long.

If I only drank 64 oz of water a day my piss would be as yellow as a fuckin goldfish.

yeah, the only cases where people have been overhydrated that i have ever heard of as well are when recreational drugs are involved.

hell, if you eat enough fruit each day you wont run out of electrolytes

like everything else the amount of water you need depends on how much you use. if you’re any kind of an athlete you need more than a 1/2 gallon a day.

also if you’re an athlete who needs to perform waiting until you’re thirsty is not in your best interest. the systems that suck fluid out of your cells for sweat to regulate core temperature are way more efficient(faster) than your digestive system which replaces fluid. thus yuo can get into debt pretty fast, especially if it’s hot.

as an athlete hydration strategy means you’ve got to stay ahead- by the time you’re thirsty you’ve lost body weight. loss of 2% body weight of fluid and your power output is decreased anywhere from 8-10% and if activity continues you will not catch up.

in the 2003 tour de france lance armstrong had a close call (two stages where he was very vulnerable) due to dehydration. he’d lost 8% body weight in fluid. for him that can be up to 20% loss of power. pics from those stages show lance w/ salt rings around his mouth and eyes. they had to rehydrate him intravenously since he was in the hole and no amount of water he drank would level him back out overnight - you absorb what you can and just piss out the excess so you’re just drinking and pissing alot but you not catching up as fast you need to. and believe me in that situation you’re not thirsty but you’re still dehydrated and that means you’re power output is not 100%.

On what cokeandtaco wrote:

I heard it was about 12- 15 pounds he lost during that stage. Didn’t he still win it?

[quote]chrismcl wrote:
On what cokeandtaco wrote:

I heard it was about 12- 15 pounds he lost during that stage. Didn’t he still win it?[/quote]

yeah lance at the tour weighs about 160-5 so that’s about right.

no he took second on that stage which was an individual time trial. lost a minute and 36 seconds to ullrich -a huge chunk of time! ullrich didn’t get the yellow but he was dangerously close - withing 34 seconds just ha;fway into the race.

lance rode merely to contain the next day and did quite a bit of bluffing. had they known they possibly could’ve really hammered him. i read that lance himself said it easily could’ve been over for him.

what amazes me that you can lose that much weight with a relatively short effort. i’d expect it on a 200k stage over 6 hours but this was a time trial of about 47k which took less than 1 hour .

Can anybody point to something that provides some basic calculations for what the average desk jockey actually does need, though?

We can all agree that those of us who have athletic pursuits and sweat buckets obviously need to replenish what we’re losing.

We can all agree that drinking a few liters of water certainly isn’t doing anyone any harm.

But is it looking like the sweeping, “You need 8 glasses per day,” advice given to the common man on the street by those of us with different needs is actually a lot like the equivalent of some sedintary person telling a hard training athlete, “All that protein is going to hurt your kidneys.” ? In other words, we tell them they need more water than they really do, they tell us we need less protein than we really do?