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Myths About Hydration

June 24, 2022
Water movement

Most of us realize that keeping hydrated is crucial for health and wellness, however, for some, habits around drinking water are based on antiquated advice or myths.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of these myths about Hydration!

Myth #1: Everyone needs eight glasses of water a day

Woman holding water bottle.

That’s like saying everyone needs to eat 2,000 calories a day (they don’t).

Your daily requirement depends on body weight, activity level, and temperature. Not to mention that if your heart or kidneys is compromised, drinking too much water can cause congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, or water intoxication. In these cases, fluid intake should be limited.

A good gauge: your urine should look more like lemonade than water or apple juice. Dark urine often reflects dehydration.

Myth #2: You can be healthy without good hydration

Even minor dehydration can affect physical and cognitive performance, as well as overall health.  Dehydration reduces the amount of fluid circulating in your bloodstream. This makes your heart work harder, limits your body’s ability to cool itself, and prematurely fatigues your muscles.

Your blood becomes thicker, stickier, and more concentrated. So don’t disregard hydration. Pay attention.

Myth #3: Water is the only way to hydrate your body

Hand holding up coffee cup with beach in the background.

It’s important to drink plain water, but there are other ways to reach your total water goal for the day. Beverages like coffee, tea, milk, and 100% fruit juice provide your body with water. Many people think that coffee and tea do not count due to their caffeine content, but some studies have shown caffeine ingestion does not lead to excessive fluid loss during rest or exercise.  So, caffeinated beverages can count toward total daily water intake.

Water-rich foods—such as soups, fruits, and vegetables—can also provide your body with water. In fact, it is estimated that foods provide about 20% of the total water consumed in a day.  Ask your doctor or Pillway pharmacist about what’s right for you.

Myth #4: It is impossible to drink too much water

Drinking an excess amount of water in a short amount of time can cause hyponatremia, meaning low blood sodium. While this is a rare condition, it is more commonly seen in marathon runners, and it also can be caused by certain diseases. When the body has more water than it can process, the cells in the brain and the rest of the body will swell, which can cause sickness and even death. Symptoms of hyponatremia may include confusion, hallucinations, nausea, muscle weakness, vomiting, and seizures.

Myth #5: Drinking a lot of water helps you lose weight

Woman standing on bathroom scale.

Drinking enough water is essential for burning off fat from food and drink, as well as stored fat. However, drinking a lot of water alone will not cause weight loss.  

There are several ways water may help you eat less. One way is drinking water before meals. Water helps to take up space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and reducing hunger.

Another tip is to replace sugary, high-calorie drinks with water.  It is easy to accumulate liquid calories by drinking soda, juice, or sweetened coffee or tea.

Replacing these beverages with water will help you reduce your calorie intake, which could lead to weight loss over time.

When in doubt, talk to your primary care physician, or Pillway pharmacist for their expert opinion.

Glass of water sitting on table.

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