Water, Water, Everywhere.
How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink?
Myth No. 2: Caffeinated beverages make you dehydrated
"For years, newspaper and magazine articles have repeated
the notion that caffeine is dehydrating as if it's absolute fact," says
University of Nebraska researcher Ann Grandjean, EdD. But in a study published
in the October 2000 Journal of the American College of Nutrition,
Grandjean and her colleagues at the Center for Human Nutrition showed that it's
The researchers looked at how different combinations of water,
coffee, and caffeinated colas affected hydration levels in a group of 18 men
between the ages of 24 and 39. During one phase of the experiment, the only
fluid the volunteers consumed was water. During another, 75% of their intake
"Using almost every test ever devised to measure
dehydration, we found no difference at all," says Grandjean.
Myth No. 3: By the time you feel thirsty, you're already becoming dehydrated
Maybe if you're an elite athlete running a marathon or a
hotshot tennis player sweating in the noonday sun -- but not if you're going
about your everyday activities.
Thirst is, in fact, a very sensitive mechanism for regulating
fluid intake, according to Barbara Rolls, PhD, a nutrition researcher at
Pennsylvania State University. In a 1984 study in Physiology and
Behavior, she and a group of colleagues at Oxford University followed a
group of men as they went through their normal day. Left to their own devices,
the volunteers became thirsty and drank long before their hydration levels
showed any signs of dipping.
Says Rolls, "If people have access to water or other fluid
beverages, they seem to do a very good job of maintaining hydration
Myth No. 4: Drinking plenty of water can help you lose weight
This idea makes sense, since water contains no calories. The
trouble is, drinking a glass of water doesn't do anything to take the edge off
"Water sneaks right past without triggering satiety
signals, the cues that tell your body when you're full," says nutritionist
Barbara Rolls, author of Volumetrics.
Surprisingly, adding water to the food you eat, on the other
hand, does seem to tame hunger. In a study reported in the October 1999
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Rolls found that women who eat a
bowl of chicken soup feel fuller than those who eat chicken casserole served
with a glass of water, even though both meals contain exactly the same
ingredients. The soup eaters also tended to be less hungry at their next meal
-- and to eat consume fewer calories -- than those who ate the casserole.
There is one way that drinking water could help you lose
weight, however: if you drink it in place of beverages that contain a lot of
added sugar. Like water, sugary beverages fail to trigger a sense of fullness,
which means you can consume a lot of calories without taking the edge off
Peter Jaret is a freelance writer in Petaluma, California, who
has written for Health, Hippocrates, and many other national