How Much Water Should I Drink?
Water is a vital part of any diet and exercise program — not to mention life in general — because it aids every aspect of bodily functions.
We all know that water is good for weight loss; it helps to curb hunger, flushes out toxins that make us sick and fat, boosts energy and it speeds metabolism by up to 3%. While 3 percent may not seem like a lot, when you add it up over the course of a lifetime, it makes a big difference on your waistline. I guarantee it. There has been a lot of confusion over the years about how much water we should drink. Eighty ounces a day, a cup every hour, 6 cups a day, the list goes on and on.
Here’s the deal: our water and hydration needs vary and depend on a host of factors, which range from weather changes to activity level to our unique biochemistry. The best rule of thumb to stay optimally hydrated is to drink until your pee looks like lemonade. If it’s darker in color, like apple juice, you need more water. If you are taking supplements, it may be bright and that’s okay; but if it turns brownish, you need more water. It really is that simple.
If you are wondering or worrying about what type of water you should drink -- as in alkaline (water that is a low ph balance) or ionized (water with ionized minerals that have an electric charge), don’t stress. It’s true that an alkaline water like Aqua Hydrate will help enhance your hydration, but don’t overthink it. If you don’t have access to them, or if they are too expensive, don’t sweat it. Just hydrate, period. What about bottled or tap? When in doubt choose tap! I personally can vouch for my favorite brand of water, which is Aqua Hydrate, but many others I can’t. And this is because not all bottled waters are contaminant-free. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. City water is highly regulated and monitored for safety. Bottled water is not. Technically, bottled water is monitored by the FDA, but it turns out that about 70% of bottled water sold in a state is exempt from federal regulation. Many bottled waters have tested positive for bacteria, man-made chemicals, and arsenic. But wait, you’re not out of the woods yet. Drinking tap water still leaves you at risk for lead, chlorine, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and nitrates. You can check on the quality of your local water by calling the EPA’s safe water hotline at (800) 426-4791 or check out their website: www.epa.gov/safewater.
Your best bet is to do your homework and stock up on a performance bottled water you can trust as well as filtering your tap water. Reverse osmosis filters are a great option. They remove all heavy metals, viruses, and some pharmaceuticals. Or, you can go with an activated carbon filter like Brita. The quality varies from product to product, but most will remove heavy metals, pesticides, and some pharmaceuticals.
Last thought on this, bubbly versus flat? Carbonated water is created (or exists naturally) by dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) in water. This creates carbonic acid, which is more acidic than regular water (it falls somewhere in the range of apple and orange juice) but is much less acidic than your stomach. It is important to understand that the human body maintains pH equilibrium on a constant basis and its pH will not be affected by water consumption. Some concern exists regarding tooth enamel erosion due to the increased acidity, but a 2001 study in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation showed that while sparkling mineral waters showed slightly greater erosive potential than still waters, the potential was considered low and was of the order of one hundred times less than soft drinks. Some bottled or canned carbonated water contains added sodium to decrease the acidity and improve taste. If you are on a low sodium diet and consume bottled or canned carbonated water, make sure to pay attention to the sodium content and choose lower sodium options. When all is said and done, just drink water, preferably alkaline, but carbonated or filtered tap will do…until your pee looks like lemonade.