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Newsletter Aug. 26/02 - Susan Van Dueck

Are You Drinking Too Much Water?

It's been a busy summer. Most of June was filled with planning and hosting Dr. Joel Wallach from American/Canadian Longevity. Dr. Wallach is 'The' Colloidal Mineral Doctor. He was here for 4 nights and we had a turn out of over 650 people...double what we expected!

Dr. Wallach explains that minerals are severely lacking in our soil and consequently our food. They aren't in our water either. This leads me to our topic today. Are you drinking TOO MUCH water?

How many have you read or been told to drink lots of water? If you haven't heard this, you are the exception. How many of you try to drink 6 to 8 glasses a day regardless of your thirst level? This is one of the common misconceptions in the health world that we are constantly inundated with.

I was pleased to see in 'The Province' newspaper today that Karen Gram has written a piece on the pitfalls of overdoing water consumption. She mentions a Boston marathoner, Cynthia Lucero, who collapsed near the end of the race. She had consumed water during the race which diluted her sodium levels and consequently her body could no longer function. Her brain swelled and she died 2 days later in hospital. She also, mentions research done by Dr. Heinz Valtin on water consumption. His very relevant findings are documented in the article below from CNN.com.


How much water do we really need?

August 20, 2002 Posted: 2:29 AM EDT (0629 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- "Drink at least eight glasses of water a day" is an adage some obsessively follow, judging by the people sucking on water bottles at every street corner -- but the need for so much water may be a myth.

Fear that once you're thirsty you're already dehydrated? For many of us, another myth. Caffeinated drinks don't count because they dehydrate? Probably wrong, too.

So says a scientist who undertook an exhaustive hunt for evidence backing all this water advice and came up mostly, well, dry. Now the group that sets the nation's nutrition standards is studying the issue, too, to see if it's time to declare a daily fluid level needed for good health -- and how much leaves you waterlogged.

Until then, "obey your thirst" is good advice, says Dr. Heinz Valtin, professor emeritus at Dartmouth Medical School, whose review of the eight-glass theory appears in this month's American Journal of Physiology.

"It's about time for all the attention," says Pennsylvania State University nutritionist Barbara Rolls, a well-known expert on thirst. "There's so much confusion out there."

Much of it centers on where you should get your daily water.

"There's this conception it can only come out of a bottle," and that's wrong, notes Paula Trumbo of the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board, which hopes to decide by March whether to issue the first official water-intake recommendation.

In fact, people absorb much water from the food they eat. Fruits and vegetables are 80 to 95 percent water; meats contain a fair amount; even dry bread and cheese are about 35 percent water, says Rolls. That's in addition to juices, milk and other beverages.

And many of us drink when we don't really need to, spurred by marketing, salty foods and dry environments, Rolls says.

"For most of us, that's not going to matter -- you're just going to need to go to the bathroom more," she says.

But for people with certain medical conditions, chugging too much can be harmful, sometimes fatal, Valtin warns. Even healthy people -- such as teenagers taking the party drug Ecstasy, which induces abnormal thirst -- can occasionally drink too much. So-called water intoxication dilutes sodium in the blood until the body can't function properly.

Conversely, no one disputes that getting enough water is crucial. Indeed, the elderly often have a diminished sensation of thirst and can become dangerously dehydrated without realizing it. People with kidney stones, for example, require lots of water, as does anyone doing strenuous exercise.

But the question remains: How much water does the typical, mostly sedentary American truly need? And what's the origin of the theory, heavily promoted by water sellers and various nutrition groups, that the magic number is at least 64 ounces?

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Valtin, who has spent 40 years researching how the body maintains a healthy fluid balance, determined the advice probably stems from muddled interpretation of a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board report. That report said the body needs about 1 milliliter of water for each calorie consumed -- almost 8 cups for a typical 2,000-calorie diet -- but that "most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods."

That language somehow has morphed into "at least" 64 ounces daily, Valtin says. (One Web site's "hydration calculator" even recommends a startling 125 ounces for a 250-pound couch potato.) And aside from the American Dietetic Association's advice, few of the "drink more water" campaigns targeted to consumers mention how much comes from food.

Valtin couldn't find any research proving the average person needs to drink a full 64 ounces of water daily.

Also, contrary to popular opinion, he cites a University of Nebraska study that found coffee, tea and sodas are hydrating for people used to caffeine and thus should count toward their daily fluid total.

Other myths:

  • That thirst means you're already dehydrated. That can be true of the elderly, and studies of marathon runners and military recruits in training have found that some focus so intently on strenuous exercise that they block thirst sensations until they're in trouble. But Rolls did hourly hydration tests to prove that drinking when thirsty is good advice for the rest of us.
  • That water blocks dieters' hunger. Studies show water with food can help you feel full faster, but that just drinking water between meals has little effect, Rolls says.

So how much do we need? Until the Institute of Medicine sets a level, "if people obey their thirst and they are producing urine of a normal yellow color, that's a safe sign," Valtin concludes.

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Hi there: 

This is just a follow-up on the water email a few days ago.

I had one person protest about the reference to sodas, tea and coffee counting towards our daily fluid consumption. They thought that we advocate drinking these beverages. We don't! Now and then they're okay, but not as a rule. However, if they are consumed, they do count as fluid consumption. Sodas, however, are particularly bad in that they leach the minerals from your body.

This leads to another point the person disagreed with. He thought it was unbelievable that Dr. Wallach would tell people exercise is not good. Let me make this clear. Dr. Wallach says this...

Excessive exercise leaches valuable minerals from our bodies, thus leaving us open to many different illnesses. Exercise is good when done in moderation and when we replace our minerals during and after a workout. He points out that no professional athlete has ever lived past 100 and many die quite young. Why? Mineral deficiencies. They sweat more than the average person. There has been research into this and it has been shown that when all is said and done, a couch potato will outlive a person who works out a great deal.

If they did a study like this and supplemented the active people with highly absorbable minerals and vitamins the end result would probably be quite different. It makes sense to me. Hope this clears up any misconceptions.

So what do you do about rehydration... especially if you are working out or have an occupation which causes you to sweat excessively? Dr. Jack Taunton, UBC professor, sports medicine physician and marathon runner recommends Gatorade.

We, however, would rather recommend a product without chemical preservatives and colours. According to the label of a bottle of Gatorade, it contains water, sucrose, glucose, fructose syrup, citric acid, natural flavors, salt, sodium citrate, mono-potassium phosphate, ester gum, yellow 5, brominated vegetable oils, yellow 6, blue 1, and caramel 1. These ingredients are listed from greatest concentration to the lowest, as are all ingredients on food labels. The majority of these ingredients are just fancy names for something else. Generally, all the ingredients fall into the following categories: water, carbohydrates, salts, and additives.

We feel that the minerals in your body are very important. When you sweat, you lose not only sodium (which is a mineral) but also all other minerals. So why only replace salt? Dr. Wallach’s formulation ‘Sports Tech’ (American/Canadian Longevity) contains all of the plant-derived minerals in proper ratio for the human being, as well as Vitamins A, C, D3, E, B1, B2, B5, B6, Pantothentic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium. It also, contains an amino acid mix of alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cystine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tyrosine and valine. In addition, it contains sea kelp and sea cucumber. It is flavoured and preserved naturally.

If you are not working out, you can still use 'Sports Tech' in lesser concentration. Or simply add a small amount of juice to your glass of water. Don't try and force more water down than seems comfortable. Keep in mind that the other beverages and foods you consume all contain water. Use your thirst level as an indicator.

For more info on how to purchase 'Sports Tech,' please call (604-272-4325) or email our office.

Other hydration-related information.

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