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Myth Buster: Hydration

With the UK enjoying record hot weather, messages of “apply your sun cream” and “drink plenty of water” seem to accompany every weather report. Whilst we whole-heartedly agree with the reminder to watch your SPF, there are a few misconceptions around hydration we thought it best to clarify.

KX expert nutritional therapist and co-author of the
‘The Health Delusion’, Glen Matten takes on the top 5 most common myths around hydration.

Myth#1: Drink 2 litres of water a day.
There is simply no ‘one-size fits all’ when it comes to water intake. Our fluid requirements can be highly variable, according to factors such as climate or activity levels. Besides, other beverages (such as tea, coffee, herbal teas, juices etc) and indeed
foods, all contribute to our daily fluid intake.

Myth#2 Tea and coffee dehydrate the body.
Research clearly shows caffeinated drinks
such as tea and coffee count towards daily fluid intake. Some of these beverages have significant health benefits, such as green tea, which has potential cancer protective properties and coffee which we’ve discussed previously on the KX blog.

Myth#3 If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
It has become de rigueur to constantly drink water, regardless of whether we actually feel thirsty. The thirst mechanism is a highly sensitive machine for regulating hydration. Interestingly, when given free access to water humans become thirsty. So clever and well-tuned is the human body that healthy adults become thirsty and drink in anticipation of dehydration!

Myth#4 Drink water for clear skin.
Contrary to popular wisdom, there is a lack of evidence to support the notion that water intake improves the complexion of the skin, reduces skin conditions (e.g. acne) and ‘flushes toxins from the skin’. When it comes to specific skin issues, it’s best to see an expert like those in the KX Spa

Myth#5 The more water you drink, the better.
You can drink yourself to death with water, caused by hyponatraemic encephalopathy which is basically a
depletion of sodium causing the brain to swell. Shocking perhaps, but not as uncommon as you might think. Non-elite athletes in long endurance events are most at risk as they might be inclined to drink large volumes of water continually for many hours.

Glen Matten is the Co-author of the Medical Journalists’ Association consumer health book of
the year The Health Delusion. Glen is a trained Nutritional Therapist at the Institute for Optimal Nutrition (ION). He is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and registered with the Nutritional Therapy Council (NTC).
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