Hydration: What Are We Really Supposed To Drink?
Water, water, water.
Drink, drink, drink.
Get those eight glasses a day. Or is it one ounce per every two pounds of your body weight? Tote that water bottle with you everywhere.
Don't you know, if you have yellow urine, you are dehydrated. It needs to be clear!
Oh, and soda and juice are empty calories, milk is fattening and power drinks are slowly killing you. And don't get me started on energy drinks like Gatorade. They are chock full of sodium.
Well at least I drink diet soda!
Being alive in the 2020s means knowing about keeping yourself hydrated and about making sure you have enough water in your system to make your body function properly.
But there are tons of myths and exaggerations in the hydration business. And it's easy to get misled.
Southwest Utah Public Health Department Head Dr. David Blodgett, a Cedar City native who is the former chief resident at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, said it's important that we don't get hung up on the things we are and aren't doing.
"Listen to your body," he said. "It will usually tell you what you need."
Blodgett said the old adage about eight glasses a day (or even the one ounce per two pounds theory) are not words to live by, but suggestions for many people who just don't drink enough.
"We didn't really focus on it in the past like we do now, and there's always the question, 'Does soda count, or not? And what about milk?''" he said. "We definitely need to drink more. Sometimes we get busy and just forget."
Blodgett, appearing on my show this week, talked about the different liquids in our lives.
As for soda pop and juice, he said, "Nutritionists have this maxim that I tend to agree with and that is to not drink your calories, because they are empty calories and provide little actual nutrition or help to your body."
Blodgett also said caffeine is harmful because your body gets "used to it" and you end up needing more and more to help you (tachyphylaxis). In the meantime, "the insidious part about tachyphylaxis, some of the effects of the drug don't have the tachyphylaxis, so you're increasing the drug to get the same effect, but the harmful side effects are becoming more and more harmful."
Also, caffeine is a stimulant and shuts down your body's drive for sleep (adenosine) which may mean you will sleep eventually, but it will not be a restful sleep.
As for milk, Blodgett says it's a terrific form of calcium and many studies say it is actually the best liquid for rehydration after a workout due to its ingredients.
As for power or energy drinks like Monster and the like, Blodgett says "Everyone is selling something and they want to make lots of money, but you generally just don't need most of the stuff in those drinks. Even sports drinks are really not necessary unless you are working out really hard and losing a lot of fluid."
The worst culprit of all is one many of us think is actually one of the good guys in the drink business. Diet drinks, especially diet sodas.
"Artificial sweeteners trick your body," he said. "We have these sweet receptors. The brain says 'Look, I had something sweet so I should expect this rush of sugar coming.' You drink something that your body thinks is sweet and it's not sweet. So it ramps up and gets ready for the rush that is not coming.
"And the bottom line is, it makes you hungry -- very, very hungry. It turns your sweet tooth into a sweet fang."
Blodgett said study after study has shown that the group that gains the most weight when given liquids (water, soda, milk, diet drinks) is always the group that consumes the diet drinks.
So what should we drink?
Well, water is the best, of course. But there's no need to obsess about it.