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Myth Busters: Do You Have Your Facts About Water Straight?

Water Myth: I Should Drink Eight 8-oz. Glasses of Water Per Day

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Water Fact: Your ideal amount of water depends on your diet, size, activity level and unique body chemistry, plus the climate where you live. "The standard amount of water is based on 1 ml per calorie burned,"says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, a sports dietitian with Appetite for Health. "If you burn 2,000 calories you need about two liters.  If you burn 3,000 calories a day, you need about three liters."

Water Myth: The Only Way to Get Water Is to Drink It

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Water Fact: Most of us get the equivalent of several glasses from food alone. "You can get about 20 percent of your recommended amount of water from fruits and veggies," says Upton.

Water Myth: Bottled Water Is Better for You Than Tap Water

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Water Fact: "Unless you live in a third-world, unsanitary country, bottled water can contain lower levels of some minerals than ordinary tap water," says Sophie Pachella, nutrition expert. For example, most bottled waters don’t contain the fluoride that strengthens teeth. Bottom line: you can save cash (and the planet) by drinking tap water. If you’re concerned, get a quality filter.

Water Myth: Enhanced Vitamin Water is Better Than Plain Water

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Water Fact: "These drinks contain extra sugars—and calories—that you don’t need," says Manuel Villacorta, RD, a national spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. "Basically, they're soft drinks. Get your vitamins from fruits and veggies; get your proteins from lean meat or low-fat dairy; get your fluids from plain old water."

Water Myth: To Rehydrate Post-Workout Drink 8 Ounces for Every .5 lb Lost

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Water Fact: "You actually need to drink 1.5 times the amount lost from sweat to rehydrate," says Upton. "So if you are a pound lighter after exercise, you need to drink 24 ounces of fluid."

Water Myth: Drinking When Thirsty Will Keep You Hydrated

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Water Fact: "Thirst means you're actually slightly dehydrated, so try to keep yourself hydrated to stave off thirst," says Upton.

Water Myth: You Cannot Drink Too Much Water

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Water Fact: "Yes, you can, and you can die from it," cautions Upton. The condition, called hyponatremia, dilutes your blood sodium levels to the point that water starts to seep from your blood into organ tissue. "This occurs primarily to women running marathons who drink excessive amounts of water."

Water Myth: An Unquenchable Thirst Means You're Dehydrated

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Water Fact: "Even if you are drinking enough, you can feel insatiably thirsty for other reasons such as eating a heavy meal, excessively hot weather or conditions like diabetes," says Pachella.

Water Myth: Drinking Cold Water – Not Lukewarm Water – Will Raise Your Metabolism

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Water Fact: "Warm or cold, new research did find that being well hydrated keeps your metabolism at optimum levels," says Upton. "Being dehydrated will slightly lower our metabolic rate."

Water Myth: Don't Drink Water with Meals

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Water Fact: "While you shouldn't drink excessive amounts, a small glass with a meal will help your food to be covered more easily with digestive juices," explains Pachella.

Water Myth: Instead of Water, I'm Better Off Drinking Diet Cola

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Water Fact: Diet colas contain phosphoric acid, which can damage calcium metabolism and bone health in high enough quantities. Pure water, with no additives, is the best way to hydrate, says Villacorta.

Water Myth: Drinking Water Doesn't Do Anything for Your Hunger

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Water Fact: It’s proven that drinking water does help with hunger pains. At times thirst feels the same as hunger; and a glass of water can occupy our mouths (and minds) when we’re tempted to snack. "Drinking water can distract you from eating and keep you fuller between meals," says Villacorta.

Water Myth: Fruit Juice Is More Satisfying Than Water

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Water Fact: Some fruit juices pack up to 140 calories in 8 ounces. To infuse water with fruit flavor, try a few of our 20 suggestions.

Water Myth: Drink Several Glasses of Water at Night to Speed Your Metabolism

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Water Fact: "Chugging water at night could interfere with a restful sleep," warns nutritionist Sharon Richter. Your bladder may rouse you well before your alarm will!

Water Myth: Water with Electrolytes is My Best Bet at the Gym

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Water Fact: For all but the most intense workouts, plain water is fine. You'd need to play at pro levels to justify turning to Gator-Ade or coconut water for their electrolytes.

Water Myth: I Can Keep Better Hydrated by Swimming Than by Running

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Water Fact: Whether you're at the pool, on the court or on the treadmill, keep that glass of water close at hand. "Because we don't notice our sweat in the water, we often don't think we need to re-hydrate," says Richter. "But we still do."

Water Myth: Nowadays, There’s No Need to Worry About Lead

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Water Fact: Unlike many other chemicals removed by water treatment, lead can leach into water from pipes in older homes as it travels to your tap. If your plumbing is from the 1980s, or you live in an older home, run drinking-water taps for several minutes each morning and test your home for lead!


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