The Water Myth

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How many glasses of water should you drink each day to maintain proper hydration?  Most would say 8 glasses (64 ounces), which has been largely accepted, but not scientifically proven, as a proper guideline. An Institute of Medicine panel (part of the National Academy of Science) is now recommending that fluid intake be driven by thirst, dispelling the belief of already being dehydrated by the time one feels thirsty. While the dehydration myth may be true for endurance athletes, most people can hydrate properly simply by listening to their body’s demands.

Dr. Daniel Vigil goes even further, indicating that too much water can cause overhydration, flushing the body of vital electrolytes and sodium. He also disproves that water is the best liquid for hydration, suggesting that other liquids, including caffeinated drinks can contribute to our daily liquid intake.

Daniel Vigil, M.D. is a sports medicine physician, with a special interest in heat illness in endurance athletes.  He is the Chief of the Department of Family Medicine at Kaiser Permanente's Sports Medicine Residency and Fellowship program.  More information about proper hydration is available on the Kaiser Permanente website.