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Thread: The Dehydration Myth

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    IFBB Hall of Fame Shawn Ray's Avatar
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    Default The Dehydration Myth

    The Dehydration Myth

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    I bet you've heard it said that you need to drink at least eight glasses of water each day in order to stay properly hydrated. Perhaps you've also read that by the time you feel thirsty you're already in an advanced state of dehydration, or that most of us are chronically dehydrated. Chances are also good that you've been told that drinking caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee cause you to lose more fluid than you take in.
    The dehydration myth has become so firmly entrenched in our collective consciousness that it will probably come as a surprise to learn that there is very little scientific support for any of these notions.
    Drinking Water Is a Good Habit
    Look, as excesses go, drinking a lot of water isn't a bad one. It won't make you fat. It won't rot your teeth or give you a hangover. Drinking lots of water can temporarily assuage hunger pangs, which dieters find useful. It can also help prevent kidney stones in those susceptible to them. Drinking more water can ease constipation an-- ironically -- also alleviate water retention.
    The body has a fairly efficient mechanism for getting rid of excess water, so under normal circumstances it's hard to get yourself into trouble by drinking water -- except the kind of trouble that happens when you find yourself in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate and the next rest stop is 50 long miles away. Yikes!
    Still, as a nutritionist, I feel compelled to point out that most people can stay perfectly hydrated on significantly less than eight glasses of water a day.
    A Drop of Truth in a Sea of Misunderstanding
    So what is the basis for the idea that nothing less than two liters of water a day will keep us from multiple-organ failure? Like most urban legends, this one does contain a drop of truth. The average person needs about two liters, or approximately eight glasses, of water a day to replace what is lost through normal biological functions like breathing, sweating and urinating.
    But that doesn't mean that you need to drink two liters of water. In fact, hypothetically, you don't have to drink any water at all. For one thing, you can easily get a liter or liter and a half of water just from the food that you eat, especially if you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which are up to 97 percent water.
    Surprise! Drinking Caffeinated Beverages Won't Dehydrate You
    Secondly, contrary to another widely held nutritional myth, coffee, tea, sodas and other caffeinated drinks are not dehydrating. Caffeine can act as a diuretic, increasing urine output, but you still end up taking in more fluids than you lose. If you don't drink caffeinated beverages regularly, drinking a cup of coffee ends up being the equivalent of drinking about 2/3 of a cup of water. In other words, drinking coffee will hydrate you -- just not quite as efficiently as water will.
    If you regularly drink caffeinated beverages, however, the diuretic effects of the caffeine are almost negligible. In other words, if you drink coffee every day, your body retains the same amount of fluid from a cup of coffee as it does from a cup of water.
    Legitimate Concerns
    There are a few situations when dehydration is a legitimate concern. People involved in sustained, strenuous exercise or spending extended periods of time in very hot or dry conditions need a lot more fluids to stay adequately hydrated. (Although, when you're sweating a lot, it's really important to replace sodium as well as fluids to prevent a potentially serious condition called hyponatremia.) The thirst reflex also declines with age and the elderly are at elevated risk of dehydration.
    But barring ill health, extreme conditions, or intense physical activity, most people will stay well hydrated by eating a reasonably healthy diet and drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages when they are thirsty. As a rule of thumb, if you are peeing several times a day and your urine is pale in color, you are doing fine.

    Monica Reinagel is a board-certified, licensed nutritionist and a professionally-trained chef. She's the host of the #1-ranked Nutrition Diva podcast on the Quick and Dirty Tips network and the author of "Nutrition Diva's Secrets for A Healthy Diet."

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    I feel a lot better drinking a gallon+ a day, thanks for sharing Shawn!
    Being a champion in any field means pushing the boundaries of society

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    Forum Judge Howard's Avatar
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    Hey Shawn how does fluid cutting really work at the pro level? I have heard a lot of conflicting info on this and am just curious. Thanks.
    I saw a star, reached for it...and MISSED

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    No Strength & Honor above the signature Strength & Honor? The world is going to end.
    "It's dark, and the mayne is hot"

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    Behemoth Triple-H_2005's Avatar
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    I was hoping this would be a thread where Shawn would talk about his precontest water approach vs. the "Drywater Gulch" runs that most bodybuilders take.

    Hey Shawn, how about an article/thread about that???

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    Juggernaut TGC's Avatar
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    I am more likely to have a crappy workout when dehydrated than when carbs are lowered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TGC View Post
    I am more likely to have a crappy workout when dehydrated than when carbs are lowered.
    This. I get cramps and dizziness when lifting heavy while dehydrated too.

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    I feel like shit when I'm thirsty. I don't drink a specific amount because I think I'm supposed to, I just drink a lot cause I feel better when I do.


    The article makes sense. If people just listened to their bodies it would provide them with the answers. I do think most normal people are chronically dehydrated though, I know a lot of people who couldn't tell you the last time they drank water. It's always either coffee/juice/tea/soda/etc

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    Amateur Threat dman93's Avatar
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    BB'ers are dumb. Dehydration is dangerous and stupid so everyone get dehydrating and flatten out asap

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    Behemoth Manowar's Avatar
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    I would take that as Her opinion and not so much the be all end all answer, she is a Nutritionist not a peer reviewed Scientist or Biologist.

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    Amateur Threat dman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manowar View Post
    I would take that as Her opinion and not so much the be all end all answer, she is a Nutritionist not a peer reviewed Scientist or Biologist.
    What is a peer reviewed scientist?

    And...

    Is that you in the Avi?

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    Spotter bench_01's Avatar
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    If you're thirsty then you're already dehydrated.

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    Amateur Threat dman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bench_01 View Post
    If you're thirsty then you're already dehydrated.
    LOLOL... Broscience

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    IFBB Hall of Fame Shawn Ray's Avatar
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    I personally typically drank 2 gallons of water a day when I was heavy in the game!
    I trained 2X a day, sweated profusely in hot gyms, pissed constantly and ate tons of Protein.
    The extra water kept me hydrated and full all the time!
    I only reduced my water on the Friday 6pm prior to the show and Saturday am. before prejudging.

    No rocket science, even today I drink at least a gallon a day.

  15. #15

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    Im more inclined to follows Shawns advice...

    Personaly I feel dehydrated and thisty when i consume caffine. Its a good idea to drink more water when your a bodybuilder and eating more protein.

    If you piss is yellow you are dehydrated, if its clear your hydrated
    Z

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenith View Post
    Im more inclined to follows Shawns advice...

    Personaly I feel dehydrated and thisty when i consume caffine. Its a good idea to drink more water when your a bodybuilder and eating more protein.

    If you piss is yellow you are dehydrated, if its clear your hydrated
    not totally ture, if you take 2 animal paks you will piss bright yellow

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    Spotter metalwench's Avatar
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    i drink almost a gallon a day...spring water with fresh fruit in it....yummy
    You are what you eat...

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