Water. It’s the essence of all life and none of us can live without it. In fact, the human body is 50-70% water. And though most of us know that drinking plenty of water each day is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, confusion still reigns around nature’s greatest gift. Read on to separate fact from fiction with these drinking water myths.
MYTH: YOU DON’T NEED TO DRINK AS MUCH WATER DURING WINTER
NOT TRUE! At the height of summer, as the sun is beating down and sweat moustaches are prolific, it’s a natural instinct to drink more water. But if colder weather has you reaching for the water less often, take note. It’s a common misconception that when the mercury drops we require less hydration. In fact, drier air conditions can cause fluid levels to decrease, as can work and home environments which rely on heaters to keep temperatures toasty. Your body functions at its optimal best when you keep well hydrated throughout the day – regardless of the season.
MYTH: THERE’S NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TAP WATER AND FILTERED WATER
NOT TRUE! As concerns grow for the environmental impact of single use bottled water – not to mention the cost – there has been a swing back to drinking tap water. Many health experts are willing to vouch for the relative safety of the water supply. But the problem may lie in the pipes through which that water runs and is ultimately delivered to you. In particular, when water sits stagnant in taps overnight, there is the risk that your first morning water could be laced with dangerous levels of lead or copper.
Municipal water supplies are necessarily treated to protect against dangerous contaminants, but this can leave chemical traces behind. Though generally present in levels that have been approved for human consumption, the thought of drinking chlorine is not a pleasant one – and there is no doubt it can negatively impact the taste. Water that has been rigorously treated, for instance via reverse osmosis filtering, removes chlorine, inorganic and organic contaminants and is guaranteed to taste a whole lot better too. As far as drinking water myths go, considered this one debunked.
MYTH: SPORTS DRINKS HYDRATE BETTER THAN WATER
SORT OF TRUE! Despite what clever marketing companies would have you believe, you don’t require sports drinks in order to get the maximum hydration. Even if you’ve just logged a punishing workout and shed buckets of sweat, humble water is sufficient to rehydrate. Sports drinks have proven effective for athletes who need to replace fluids quickly in order to continue at peak performance – the balance of salts and sugars delivers the water at maximum efficiency. But the difference when compared to regular water is minimal so unless you’re expending energy at the same levels as an elite athlete, just choose water and avoid the unnecessary salt and sugar.
MYTH: COFFEE AND TEA DON’T COUNT TOWARDS YOUR DAILY WATER INTAKE
NOT TRUE! It has long been thought that the diuretic properties of coffee and tea can eliminate the hydrating benefits of the water they contain, but newer evidence suggests you’d need to be drinking four to six cuppas a day in order for that to be true. So if you struggle to drink enough water during the day, coffee and tea WILL help you boost your intake but wait!
Debunking drinking water myths like this one doesn’t mean you should rely on coffee or tea as your main source of hydration. Excessive amounts of caffeine can cause unpleasant side effects including migraine headaches, insomnia and jittery or anxious feelings. Enjoy your hot beverages in moderation but remember that nothing beats a glass of refreshing water for keeping hydrated.