Hydration Guide

One of the most common things our successful members say is - make sure you drink enough fluids!

A good step to get your new healthy lifestyle started is to increase the amount of fluid you drink each day. It might seem strange to you, but drinking water actually helps you lose weight and stops you retaining fluid! Read on to learn more.

How much fluid is enough?

Fluid requirements vary greatly between individuals. The amount of water you need depends on your age, weight, diet, activity level and the climate in which you live.

CalorieKing.com.au recommends consuming at least 1500 mL of fluid per day, which is at least 6 glasses.

The most reliable way to tell if you are getting enough fluid is to check the colour of your urine. If it is pale yellow, almost clear, then you are getting enough fluids. If however, your urine is dark in colour and has a strong odour, it is an indicator that you need to drink more fluids.

Why is all this fluid important?

Fluid serves many important functions in your body, including:

  • regulating body temperature
  • helping to form the lubricants in the knees and joints
  • helping to convert food into energy
  • helping to carry nutrients and oxygen to all the cells in the body
  • helping with the elimination of waste
  • improving intestine health and helping prevent constipation
  • flushing the kidneys of the waste products of metabolism

Do coffee and tea count?

Tea, coffee, juice, milk and soft drinks are all okay in moderation and do count towards your daily fluid intake, but it is best if most of the fluid you consume over the day is water. Water is cheap and easily accessible, plus it does not add extra calories.

Some drinks, such as tea, coffee, cola and alcohol, contain caffeine, which is a diuretic. This means that these drinks actually cause your body to lose water.

While the occasional glass of juice, cordial or soft drink is fine, these drinks can add many extra calories without helping to satisfy hunger, and can also increase your risk of tooth decay.

If you don't like the taste of water, try flavouring it naturally with slices of lemon or orange or fresh mint leaves.

I’m trying to lose weight; I don’t want to retain water

Strange as it may seem, drinking fluids actually helps to prevent water retention. Drinking a sufficient amount per day flushes out the water you are already holding on to.

Excess sodium is a common cause of water retention. Drinking fluids helps flush the sodium out of your body.

Other reasons for water retention include:

  • Constipation
  • Menstrual bloating
  • Certain medical conditions, such as heart or kidney disease

But I’m not thirsty…

Often we mistake thirst for hunger. By the time you realise you are thirsty, you are already on your way to dehydration. It is important to drink regularly throughout the day, regardless of whether you feel thirsty.

Next time you think you're hungry, try having a glass of water and then see how you feel - you might have just been thirsty all along!

Do I need extra fluids when I’m exercising?

Yes. When you're exercising or working in a manual job, you need to drink more than usual to replace the fluids you are losing via your sweat.

Is it possible to drink too much fluid?

While it is possible to over-hydrate, it is a very unlikely occurrence.

You would need to drink in excess of 7 litres of water per day, in conjunction with a low sodium intake. This has the effect of 'diluting' the regular sodium concentration of the body which interferes with nerve cell function. Symptoms include dizziness, convulsions, coma and possibly death.

Reproduced with permission from CalorieKing.com.au. All material copyright CalorieKing.com.au

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