Hungry? Have a drink.
The chances are, you're dehydrated right now. In fact, over 75% of the American population is deyhdrated, and worse still, over 80% know they are. No big deal? Well, it is actually. Lack of hydration can lead to all kinds of problems, including obesity, fatigue and a much higher risk of certain cancers. So grab a glass or three of water and read on.
One of the biggest reasons for some of my own weight gain when I first got to America was dehydration. I came from a very humid climate to a very dry one. And because my thirst mechanism (that sensation that tells you when to drink) was so weak, I was often mistaking my thirst for hunger. A quick snack later and I felt satisfied. But all I had done was increase my salt and fat intake and that just made me thirstier. Which made me hungrier. And thus, the cycle began. What's more, by the time we feel thirsty we are already dehydrated. And by the time we've reached the ripe old age of 30, thirst sensations in the mouth decrease significantly.
According to many sources I checked, including the American Medical Association, roughly one in three Americans mistake thirst for hunger. And that's just the beginning of the story. As human beings are composed mainly of water (blood is 92% water, brain is 72%, lungs are 90%), we depend on it for our vital health and bodily functions.
A good rule of thumb is to halve your weight and drink that as ounces. So, as a 200lb person I should drink around 100 ounces daily. That's roughly one 6oz glass every hour from 7am to 11pm, my average day. It's just a rough guide, but you should at least drink 64 ounces of water every day if you can.
Here's a laundry list of facts I found about that most precious H20.
- Dehydration is a major contributor to many diseases; conversely good hydration reduces the risk of disease.
- Chronic dehydration causes: asthma, arthritis, kidney stones, gall stones, hypertension, cardio vascular diseases, weight gain, migraines, loss of muscle tone and digestive complications.
- Most adults loose between two and three quarts of water a day without exercising.
- One quart of water is lost during a night’s sleep.
- Caffeinated drink cause the body to discharge water.
- Water prevents DNA damage and makes its repair mechanism more efficient. It also increases the efficiency of the immune system in bone marrow, including its efficiency against cancer.
- Water reduces fatigue, and the incidences of morning sickness in pregnancy. It also helps reduce stress, anxiety, depression and constipation.
- Lack of water is the #1 reason for daytime fatigue and performance reduction.
- Just a 2% drop in body fluid causes a 20% reduction in mental and physical performance.
- Drinking water is crucial for weight loss programs.
- Even mild dehydration can slow metabolism as much as 3%.
- On a diet? 1 glass of water shuts down midnight hunger.
- Water makes skin smooth, helps decrease the effects of aging, and gives luster and shine to the eyes.
- Dehydration prevents sex hormone production, a primary cause of impotence and loss of libido.
- Water helps prevent memory loss as we age.
Now, before you all rush to the store for bottles of spring water, here's a suggestion. Actually, a plea. The water coming from your faucet is perfectly fine and is considerably less harmful to the environment than the stuff you get in handy plastic bottles. We're experiencing an oil shortage, and millions of bottles end up in land fills daily. So, stick to tap water. If you can't handle the taste, a simple water filter can end that, and they're cheap. Much cheaper than the impact to your wallet, and the environment, from bottled water.
Allow me also to explain what this article has to do with 'living large on a small budget', before I'm inevitably asked that question. If, by simply drinking humble tap water, you can avoid obesity and other serious medical problems, memory loss, fatigue and improve overall job performace...well, I think that's living pretty large indeed.
Time for a refill I think.
A selection of sources (as requested, you will notice such names as the MayoClinic, the EPA and CNN).