Myth: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated
Actually, your thirst sensations are a pretty sensitive gauge of your fluid levels. (By the way, if you’re always thirsty, make sure it’s not for one of these eight reasons.) “Dehydration is the body’s natural loss of water through sweat, tears, and breathing. The kidneys control the water balance in the body, and when they sense the need for more water replacement, it sends a message to our brains to drink more water by making us feel thirsty,” explains kidney specialist Dara Huang, MD, founder of New York Culinary Medicine.
Myth: Drink eight glasses of water every day
No question that drinking enough water is important. But the eight glasses advice is a myth, says Dr. Huang, and it can be dangerous. “If your heart or kidneys is compromised, drinking too much water can cause congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, or water intoxication. In these cases, fluid intake should be limited,” she explains.
To figure out the magic ounce-count of aqua that your body needs, you should take many factors into consideration, according to doctor of nutrition Roger E. Adams, PhD. “This number may be too much for some and not even close for others, especially if you are a heavy sweater, or simply larger. The larger you are, the more water you need for every function in your body, not to mention replacing sweat. However, if you are smaller or don’t sweat a lot, even less than eight glasses may suffice to maintain water balance,” he notes.
When in doubt, talk to your primary care physician for their expert opinion.