Drinking Water is essential to healthy eating… it’s WATER!

Drinking water is essential to life, so do it right.

240px-Glass-half-fullA few simple guidelines for drinking water make this an easy healthy habit. We’re inundated with advertisements for bottled water or filters for our taps. Everyone seems to be walking around with a bottle now days. Is it too much? Is it too little?

Let’s start with how much to drink.

When looking at hydration, you really should mostly think of drinking water. Yes, you can get your fluid intake by drinking tea, coffee, juice, milk or even soda, but each of those has drawbacks to being your primary source of hydration. (Sugar, sodium, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, etc) Besides, what in them is hydrating you? WATER!

That aside, how much water should you drink per day?

“The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.” – courtesy of the Mayo Clinic

In general terms I agree with this guideline. My only qualm with it is the generalization. This assumes that a person with the body mass of Woody Allen requires the same amount of drinking water as Shaquille O’Neill. If you’d like to get a somewhat more personalized number to shoot for, take your body weight in pounds, divide by two, and drink that number in ounces per day. (Some day the US will get on the metric system, I have faith!) Using myself as an example, I weigh 165 lbs, so half that is 82.5. By this formula, I should drink about 82.5 ounces per day, or about 2.4 liters.

Drinking 17 ounces of water  increased metabolic rates by 30%. (1)
However, just as you don’t want to feed fat, you don’t want to water it either! If one of your health goals is to change your body composition, calculate your fluid intake by your lean body mass instead of simply weight. Using myself as an example again, my body fat percentage is roughly 9%. That makes my lean body mass approximately 150 pounds. So if I take that 82.5 ounces of water and divide by my lean mass of 150 pounds, we come to .55 ounces per pound of lean mass. Have your lean body mass measured by a health & fitness professional and use the .55 ounces of fluid per pound as your guideline. I recommend the 7 site skinfold caliper method for determining body composition.

 The next question: To bottle water or not to bottle?

Your drinking water should come in refillable bottles.

Should you be drink bottled water? Yes, if your bottle looks like mine.

I very rarely buy bottled water. Practically never. The environmental impact of producing and shipping water is ridiculous.
Just on the matter of price, a gallon of bottled water can cost 10,000 times more than a gallon of tap water.
Perhaps you’ve seen the Brita commercial which states that the number of plastic water bottles consumed in the United States each year could circle the Earth 9 times. That is insanity. Every one of those bottles has to be manufactured, and even if it is made from recycled materials, there is a carbon footprint to creating them.
Then there is the transportation. Do we really need our drinking water shipped from Fiji or the Arctic??
And finally there is the question of whether bottled water is even healthier for you. The EPA’s standards for tap water are more stringent that the FDA’s are for bottled water. That’s right. You’re more likely to be drinking safer water if it is from the tap.

Save yourself the money and save the planet the stress. Purchase a sink filtration system. There are three main types: faucet mounted, sink mounted with a faucet addapter, and under sink in-line filters. Any of the three is a great choice. I recommend them more than pitcher style filters because it’s easier to maintain healthy eating when you filter your water for cooking. There is also a monetary advantage. Each level of sophistication decreases the cost per gallon of drinking water. A faucet mounted filter costs $0.088 per gallon while a pitcher filter costs $0.147 per gallon.

(1) Drinking Water May Speed Weight Loss – WebMD

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