Are You dehydrated?

Do you often go about your day feeling lethargic and drained? Do you experience intense cravings or just always feel unsatisfied from your meals and snacks? You might be feeling this way because you are dehydrated. Dehydration results when our body doesn’t have enough water, causing you to have low energy levels and decreased metabolic functioning.

Your body is made up of 60% water and water is the medium for all of our metabolic processes. It’s like oil to a machine, without it, the machine still works, but not nearly as efficiently. An estimated 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration as they fail to get the recommended 10 cups of water a day (less if you are under 14 years old). Are you one of them?

To help set you on the right path, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about dehydration below.

How much water should I drink?

While everyones needs will vary slightly, most average adults need about two liters, or 10 cups of water per day.

What about coffee or tea? That contains water!

Coffee and tea do contain water, and can assist in keeping you hydrated. However, these beverages should come secondary to drinking good ol’ fashioned, plain water, especially if you’re adding sugar, cream, and syrups to your caffeinated beverages.

Do I need sports drinks if I’m exercising?

Sports drinks should be reserved for the extreme athlete. These are for marathon runners, long distance cyclists, and pro soccer players (amongst others) who are participating in a long-term, high intensity workout. A sports drink is unnecessary for your Monday morning spin class. Tip: for a more natural sports drink, try drinking coconut water. It’s lower in sugar, and contains naturally occurring electrolytes.

How else can I stay hydrated, besides drinking water?

Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water (just like you, they need it to help them survive) and can help you stay hydrated. Try snacking on water-filled fruits and vegetables like oranges, watermelon, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

What about other beverages like milk, juice, soda, and diet soda?

While all of these beverages do contain water, they also contain other elements like sugar or artificial sweeteners. Your body eliminates water through urine and sweat, so the best thing to drink to rehydrate your body is water. Think of milk, juice, soda, and diet soda as once-in-a-while beverages, and water as an all-the-time beverage.

What other hydration questions do you have? Let us know in the comments below! And please tell us, how will you get your two liters of water in today?

Jessi Haggerty, RD