1) Coffee, tea and soft drinks are sufficient sources of liquid
Coffee, tea and all those different kinds of soft drink are no substitute for lots of lovely pure water. While there’s an ongoing debate about whether or not caffeine causes dehydration and makes you wee a lot (it’s different for everyone), you shouldn’t really drink around two – three litres of these kind of drinks a day! Especially if they’re full of sugar or sweetener as well. Euww, that’s just wrong. (2-3 litres is roughly how much fluid we’re recommended to consume, depending on a bunch of different factors – see How much water should I drink?).
2) Drinking water makes me bloated
Drinking a lot of water very quickly might just temporarily bloat your tummy, so listen to your body and slow down a bit. You might also have other stuff going on in your stomach (hang on – are you still digesting food!?) Good old fashioned common sense should prevail – just don’t drink so much so fast. If you have real persistent bloating issues it could be something else like a tummy bug or constipation so best chat to your friendly, knowledgeable doctor about it.
3) I shouldn’t drink water while eating – it’s not healthy
False! Drinking (in moderation) while eating will balance your food intake and will actually improve food digestion. This is why your doctor will always recommend drinking before and during meals.
4) I shouldn’t drink water in the morning
No-ooo, who told you that?! The morning is a great time to drink a glass of lovely water! Drinking water is healthy throughout the day. Just don’t go drinking 3 litres of water all at once – at any time of the day. That’s not wise. And you’d need a toilet to be really nearby.
5) I only need to drink when I’m thirsty
Wrong! You should drink water even when you’re not thirsty. Thirst is a physiological alert that the body sends when it has lost a bit too much water. Your body is pretty clever – give it some credit, it’s trying to tell you something (see How much water should I drink?).
6) Drinking cold water can make me sick
Really? It honestly shouldn’t. There’s probably something else going on. Maybe try having a chat with your doctor? They know their stuff.
7) Drinking water makes me pee a lot
Yup, that’s your body doing what it’s designed to do – regulate your water balance. You’ll pee out lovely clear, odourless urine if you’re sufficiently hydrated. So that’s a good thing. If your pee is tending towards a darker yellow (or brown!) then your body’s crying out for more water. Diuretics (such as caffeine, arguably) will make you pee even if you don’t really need to. If you’re worried about peeing a lot then the best person to talk to, as ever, is your trusted doctor.
8) I don’t sweat so I don’t need to drink water
Yes you do. Your body constantly loses water to balance its temperature. You might feel superficially comfortable because any sweat is discreetly evaporating, but you’re still losing water that you need to replace.
9) I work in an office with air conditioning so I don’t need to drink too much
Did you even read the point above!? Even in air-conditioned environments, your body still loses water (it’s sneaky like that) and your skin dries out.
10) Drinking too much water can kill you
Drinking so much water that you die is very, very rare. Water intoxication or water poisoning can only happen when you drink absolutely excessive amounts of water – way too much than your normally self-regulating body can cope with. If you’re heading that way you’ll probably be painfully bloated and you’ll end up vomiting, That’s a pretty good signal that you’ve drunk too much. Hyponatremia occurs when the salt level in your blood becomes way too diluted. Exercise-associated hyponatremia is relatively common in marathon runners when they have not managed their water intake correctly. Listen to your body – it works little miracles everyday (see How much water should I drink?).
by Bob Fear
- 5 ways water makes you gorgeous
- 6 adverse affects of not drinking enough water
- The scary truth about dehydration
- How much water should I drink?
- Top 10 reasons to drink more water
The key facts, figures and statements in this article are unashamedly, and with lots of good will and much humble debt, heavily lifted from the hydration toolkit produced by the Royal College of Nursing and the NHS as well as the NHS Choices website.
If you want to know more about healthy hydration from the professionals – pop along to the NHS site.
Further NHS sources:
Images from Getty