Dehydration and the Proper Way to Hydrate

Dehydration is a chronic problem in America. Seventy-five percent of Americans are Dehydrated[1]. Dehydration causes fatigue[2], a slow metabolism[3], constipation[4], foggy thinking[5], and moodiness[6]. These are some pretty significant health issues, yet the cure for this malady is simple, painless, convenient, and free – drink more water!

How much water should I drink?

Specifically, we want to drink a minimum of ½ ounce of water for every pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, you drink 50 ounces of water, every day. There are specific circumstances when I recommend drinking more than this, but this is a very good rule of thumb for most people to follow most of the time.

Do other drinks count?

No! The only drinks that count in your daily allotment are water and fresh-squeezed fruit/vegetable juices. In fact, I recommend you don’t drink any other drinks except water, fresh squeezed juices, and herbal teas.

Can I drink too much water?

It is possible to drink too much water too quickly and die, but it is extremely rare. Your body can only eliminate about a quart of water per hour. If you drink more than this, you risk diluting your sodium levels. When sodium levels fall too low (called hyponatremia) it causes the cells in your body to absorb water. In other words, they swell. If this happens in the brain, it can cause death[7]. Therefore, I recommend you space your water consumption throughout the day.

I want to drink more, but I keep forgetting to drink water during the day

People often tell me they just forget to drink. One easy way to overcome this is to start a ritual of filling up your daily allotment of water into one or more containers or glasses. Do this first thing in the morning. Then keep a glass in front of you. This seems to work for most people. Others set a reminder on their phone or computer.

But I don’t like water

Try putting a slice of lemon in the water. Not only does it give the water some taste, but it may also have direct health benefits. Some people find it helps to have a very attractive glass for their water. It makes the water seem more appealing. If these tricks don’t work then just tough-it-out until drinking water becomes a habit.



[1] “Survey of 3003 Americans, Nutrition Information Center”, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, April 14, 1998

[2] “Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men”, Ganio, M. S., Armstrong, L. E., Et. Al (2011), British journal of Nutrition106(10), 1535-1543

[3] “Water-induced thermogenesis.”, Boschmann, M, Et. Al (2003), The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism88(12), 6015-6019.

[4] “Mild dehydration: a risk factor of constipation”, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003 Dec: 57 Suppl 2:S88-95

[5] “Dehydration influences mood and cognition: a plausible hypothesis”, Benton, D. (2011), Nutrients3(5), 555-573.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Effects of Hyponatremia on the Brain “, Corinna Giuliani,, Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2014 dec; 3(4): 1163-1177