How Much Water Is Too Much?

Over the  years much has been written about the proper amount of water for human consumption.  The rather silly “eight glasses per day” recommendation still gets repeated a lot, although no one really seems to follow the rule.  As Hardly Waite wrote, introducing an older Gazette piece on the subject:

The 8-glasses-per-day slogan has been mindlessly repeated for decades by physicians, nutritionists, diet gurus,  mothers, grannies, teachers,  and others who should know better.  Who knows where it originated.  You would think there was an Eleventh Commandment that says, “Thou shalt drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day.”

Does a slender woman who works in an air conditioned office and eats salads and fruits need the same 8-glass water ration as the beefy construction worker who spends the day in the sun and wolfs down potato chips and salami sandwiches?

Do both the secretary and the construction worker need the same amount of water on Tuesday and Friday?

The eight-glass rule has been implicated as a lead-in to serious water over-consumption problems.

A growing number of women are being diagnosed with water obsession, a little-known and researched condition that poses terrifying health risks. There have even been cases of people who have died from water intoxication, or hypnatremia,  to give it its proper medical name.

Water has come to symbolize well-being among many women, who, encouraged by the countless celebrities who espouse its health benefits of high water consumption, believe it will flush toxins from their system and improve their skin.

If 8 glasses is good, more is obviously better, and some women in Great Britain are now reported to be drinking up to 44 pints of water per day.  The practice can become a habit, and some have become closet drinkers, hiding their excessive consumption from their husbands and children.

Excessive water consumption is being recognized as a threat to the kidneys and to health in general because it can flush needed nutrients and minerals from the body.

For case studies of women suffering from hypnatremia, read more.

See also, How Much Water Do Your Really Need?

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