The hip, progressive GOOD Magazine has engaged its readers with a 30-day health challenge series, each day featuring a different prescription. Though I agree with them on most points, like “Taking a Siesta,” “Replacing Happy Hour with Physical Exercise,” and “Eating Local Food,” I took some time to criticize constructively their advice for everyone to drink 8 glasses of water per day.
My comment follows.
I think that a blanket recommendation to drink 8 glasses of agua per day is unwise, and potentially harmful for the following reasons.
First, everyone has a different make-up, lifestyle, and lives in different climates that require different degrees of water consumption.
Second, drinking too much water can deplete the body of minerals.
So, why not recommend people learn to listen to their bodies more instead of prescribing a One-Rule-Fits-All? I propose the following guidelines for folks interested in, er, ‘perfecting’ their water consumption:
(1) Drink a glass of water upon waking, as the body’s usually dehydrated first thing in the morning. Though doesn’t most everyone do this anyway?
(2) Limit liquid intake at meals to soups/stews/sauces, and a tea/coffee after the meal. Drink water 30 – 60 min before mealtimes to prepare the body for digestion. Drinking lots of liquid at mealtimes impairs digestion by diluting stomach acids.
(3) Pay attention to how you’re feeling 1-2 hours after meals. Ask yourself, “Am I feeling hungry?” If so, you’re probably mistaking hunger for thirst. Consider drinking water about 1-2 hours after mealtimes to facilitate digestion.
I think these rules fit better than a blanket statement of “8 glasses per day or else.”