Americans Don't Drink Enough Water

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June 10, 2000 | 30,431 views

Most people fall short of recommendations to drink eight 8-ounces servings a day, results of a new survey reveal. Although nearly three quarters of Americans are aware of the recommendation, only 34% actually drink this amount, while 10% said they do not drink water at all. However, Americans drink an average of nearly 6 servings a day of caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda. These drinks can actually cause the body to lose water, making proper hydration even more difficult to attain.

Water makes up more than 70% of the body's tissues and plays a role in nearly every body function from regulating temperature and cushioning joints to bringing oxygen to the cells and removing waste from the body. Severe dehydration can affect blood pressure, circulation, digestion and kidney function. But on a daily basis, not getting enough water can cause fatigue, dry skin, headaches and constipation. Nearly one-third did not know that giving a child water instead of sugar-containing drinks such as juice or soda can help prevent childhood obesity, the survey revealed.

Survey conducted at The Rockefeller University, New York, for the International Bottled Water Association

Absolutely amazing. The 64 ounces that the survey references would actually cause dehydration in the majority of the population. The amount of water most of us need is far more. The simple way to calculate that would be to take one quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight. So the 64 ounces of water would only work for children and small women. The average adult is 150 pounds which would be three quarts of water, and many individuals are over 200 pounds which would be one full gallon of water.

Let me make it perfectly clear that this is one of the most important health habits you could possibly do. Water is essential and if you don't get enough clean water you will suffer health problems. I have only implemented this recommendation myself in the last year or so and I drink a gallon of water most days even though I weigh 170 pounds. The reason I drink more is that I exercise regularly. So, when one sweats more the quart per 50 pounds of body weight should be exceeded. This is especially important as we approach summer.

Let me remind you of the water basics. Your exclusive beverage should be water. Bottled spring water (not drinking water) is best; but filtered water is acceptable. Try to have at least eight glasses of water a day. It would be best to have the water at room temperature. Ice-cold water can be a trauma to the delicate lining of your stomach, unless you are overheated.

Try not to purchase the one-gallon cloudy plastic (PVC) containers from your grocery store as they transfer far too many chemicals into the water. The five-gallon containers and the ones the clear bottles (polyethylene) are a much better plastic and will not give the water that awful plastic taste. You can add lemon juice occasionally to your water to help flavor it and normalize your body's pH if it is to acidic.

Do not drink tap water! Chlorine is a toxic chemical and should not be consumed in large quantities. Brita filtered water costs approximately 24 cents per gallon. However, standard filters are a more effective solution that will bring the cost down to 1-2 cents per gallon. You can obtain them locally from Home Depot or Coast Filtration (800-542-6723).

Consumer Reports (October 1999) selected PUR ULTIMATE filters as better choices than Brita filters. They simply screw directly into your current faucet and only take a few minutes to install. If you have a water softener, you need to divert the softened water away from the kitchen tap to a reverse osmosis system. Avoid distilled water as it has the wrong ionization, pH, polarization and oxidation potentials. It will also drain your body of minerals. Another recommendation of mine is the GE Smart Water, which was top rated in Consumer Reports December 2002.

I would STRONGLY recommend purchasing "Your Body's Many Cries For Water". It is the best book I know of that documents the usefulness of water. Dr. Batmanghelidj is a physician and does an excellent job. If you are a health care professional this book should be in your library.