3 Myths about Hydration, Explained by a Registered Dietitian
While we all know the immense health benefits of keeping yourself well-hydrated, we sometimes hear whispers that the way you typically hydrate isn’t good enough. In the spirit of keeping yourself hydrated this summer, we are here to bust a few hydration myths.
Myth: Alkaline water can help treat cancer, improve chronic acidosis, protect the body from toxins, and support weight loss.
Fact: There are no proven benefits to drinking alkaline water.
Most of the supposed “benefits” come from word-of-mouth and are based on personal beliefs. There is no data to support any of these claims. Drink alkaline water if it fits your taste preferences, but don’t expect miracles.
Myth: Tap water isn’t as clean as bottled water, and the added fluoride is unsafe.
Fact: Tap water (typically) isn’t dirty, and fluoride is good for you!
Rather than shelling out for plastic water bottles, buy yourself a nice aluminum, glass, or BPA-free plastic water bottle and fill it from the tap. If you are ever unsure of the safety of tap water where you live, or if you are traveling to a new city and are curious, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has several tools, including the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) Federal Reporting Services System that give you complete access to everything you could ever want to know about your water supply.
The EPA also provides information on the use of fluoride in public water supplies. Fluoride is added to 72% of the U.S. drinking water supply and helps to strengthen teeth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider fluoridation of water to be safe and one of the greatest public health achievements in the 20th century.
Myth: Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks dehydrate you.
Fact: Caffeinated drinks don’t dehydrate you, although alcohol does.
We all know the phenomenon of coffee “going right through you,” but this doesn’t mean that your coffee will leave you dehydrated. Caffeine does act as a natural diuretic, meaning that it increases the need to urinate. However, the water content of coffee or tea is still greater than the water that is lost through urine. Caffeine pills, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages are a different story—these don’t provide enough water to counteract the diuretic effect. So feel free to reach for a big unsweetened iced tea on a hot day, but do your best to avoid that margarita!