On Monday I taped a segment with Dr Max Gomez, from CBS, on water. Two Foodtrainers’ clients participated. One is a triathlete who talked about nutrition for performance. The other a lawyer and frequent traveler talked about changes she’s seen from improved hydration. Dr Max’s first, semi-leading question for me was “isn’t it simple, don’t we just drink when we’re thirsty”? It would’ve been a very short interview if I said “yes” but I didn’t. It’s not that simple and when we’re thirsty we’re already mildly dehydrated.  Whether you’re prone to crankiness or looking to lose a few pounds (or both) here are some hydration questions and answers I often hear.
Do we really need 8 glasses of water a day?
We do not; we actually need more than that. The National Academy of Sciences determined women are generally adequately hydrated after consuming 2.7 liters and men 3.7 liters of total water a day. Total water includes water from food and beverages. If you remove water from food it’s still a little over 2 liters (8 cups) for women and over 3 liters (12 cups) for men…if you are sedentary (workout water not included).
The silver lining? The Nat. Academy report concluded that caffeinated beverages can count. The diuretic effect of caffeine is transient. Score one for coffee.
*Drink 70-100 ounces of water, seltzer, herbal water, herbal tea or hint water. 8-16 ounces of your water can be caffeinated.
Can hydration help me lose weight?
A few studies, in the journal Nature and others, have found that drinking water (2 cups) before a meal reduced the number of calories consumed at that meal (75 fewer calories).  Another study found increased metabolic rate after participants consumed an additional 6 cups of water a day.  This study, in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, reported that the increase in metabolism was based on additional energy needed to warm the water to the body’s temperature. Finally, we often mistake hunger for thirst and can eat when a glass of water would suffice. Rethinking our water intake and timing can in fact help your weight (and certainly can’t hurt).
How do you know if you are dehydrated?
For the warning signs for dehydration there are three D’s and two C’s:
Dark Urine- monitoring your urine is the best way to assess your hydration. Urine should be pale, like pale lemonade, and plentiful.  It should not look like concentrated chicken broth; if it’s dark yellow drink a couple cups of water.
Dizziness- if you’re at your desk and stand and feel a little woozy you may be dehydrated. Perhaps you had a few too many the night before or simply had been working and not hydrating, either way see it as a sign.
Dry Skin- dry environments such as offices or airplanes can take a toll of your skin. Dry lips, dry mouth and circles under your eyes can tell you about your hydration.
Constipation- when liquid is decreased stool frequency and volume decreases along with it. You body needs water from your intestines to pass stool. With insufficient water stool is hard, dry and difficult to pass.
Crankiness- the second “C” is for cranky. It may not be your job that’s making you stressed; it may be your water or realistically a combination of the 2.  If you are chronically dehydrated you may not realize the effect insufficient water has on your mood.
Despite the fact that I talk about hydration every day, there were a few tidbits I hadn’t heard and hopefully some that were new to you as well.
Are you a good hydrator or do you have any of the warning signs of dehydration? How much water would you say you drink in a day? Any tips for increasing your intake?

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