Drinking plenty of water is good for health is the recommendation appears everywhere as it is believed to detoxify, energize and keep the body in perfect condition. The amount varies depending on several factors, but it is usually between two liters or eight glasses a day. But is it possible that all that liquid actually hurt us?
Dr. Roberto Gaston specializes in Oriental medicine. For him there is no worse advice to drink plenty of water. “The body’s energy is diluted with both liquid and overworked kidneys. One or two glasses a day is sufficient. A higher consumption generates all kinds of problems.”
In recent years, several doctors have questioned the recipe for 8×8 a day (eight glasses of eight ounces). The nephrologist Heinz Valtin wrote in 2002 which says there is no scientific evidence to recommend these volumes of water. The amount, Valtin thinks, comes from a misinterpretation of a report of the National Food and Nutrition USA. There it is recommended to consume “one milliliter of water per calorie ingested.” But the same report notes that much of this water is already contained in the food we eat. To Valtin, we are taking too much water because actually we eat in different ways.
But what’s wrong with that? Hyponatremia is a problem that occurs in some marathoners who excessively hydrated during a race. What happens is that the blood is diluted and heart fails. Some runners have died from this cause, why the New York Marathon participants warn what is the right amount, not more than a quart every 20 minutes.
But running a marathon is a very specific condition, like living in very hot or high altitude. Other factors include the weight of the individual as well as metabolism and health.
A good measure of how much water we are consuming is to observe the frequency and volume of urine. Dr. Paul Raffaele, Chief of the Renal Unit of the Favaloro Foundation in Argentina, believes that more than one liter urine is a sign of good hydration. Dr. Gaston has another measure: pee twice during the day and never at night. A higher frequency signals the excess of water in body.
So How Much Water Should We Drink?
One way to answer this question is to remember that we ingest water in many ways. It is present in solid foods, in coffee, fruit juice and even beer. It sounds obvious, it is true, but sometimes we forget.
If the person does not eat fruit fiber, 8 glasses of water is not enough. But other people do not tolerate that amount and start to retain fluid. But Dr. Gaston sees things differently. “To keep the energy flowing through the body, that keeps us in good health, take less water recommended by many doctors. Take coffee, tea, juices, but not 8 glasses of water.”