You feel thirsty - you have a sip of water. You feel like all's right with the world again. Hydration should be pretty simple, shouldn't it? But with the barrage of health advice we're exposed to today, we're bound to make some mistakes. Add to that the availability of artificially produced liquids and you have more than one hydration myth that deserves to be busted.
Myth 1: The more water you drink, the better
Reality: There is such a thing as too much water. Simply follow your instincts and drink when thirsty. Definitely don't postpone drinking water when your throat gets dry and sip some throughout the day.
Myth 2: Juices, soft drinks and store-bought syrups and crushes are great alternatives to plain water
Reality: All store-bought juices, aerated drinks and preserves contain excess sugar and preservatives. Stick to fresh fruit juice, lemonade with honey or sparkling water if you find plain water difficult to down.
Myth 3: Tea and coffee will dehydrate you
Reality: Only if you overdose on them. A couple of cups a day won't significantly dehydrate you, as per research studies. In fact, big mugs of green or herbal teas can be a good way to up your water intake.
Myth 4: If your urine isn't clear, you're dehydrated.
Reality: If it's absolutely clear, it means you've reached maximum hydration level - that's all. Light yellow urine is perfectly fine. You only need to be alarmed if it's dark yellow, brown or accompanied by a foul odor or burning sensation. In that case, drink a lot of water immediately.
Myth 5: Always choose water over any other liquid.
Reality: Not necessarily. Buttermilk or chaas, coconut water and kokum juice could be even better as they also contain nourishing minerals and salts. Post workout, you need to replenish electrolytes so have something with a bit of salt and sugar in it.
Myth 6: You must drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Reality: This is something we've all heard before. But honestly, it's common sense. On days you sweat more due to a workout or other hectic activity, you will need more hydration. On days when you sweat less, you don't need as much. Drink as much water as you need - don't keep count.
Myth 7: One should not drink water after eating watermelon.
Reality: The jury is still out on this one. It makes sense not to reach for water as watermelon is mostly water with some sugar in the form of fructose and fibre. But if you do have a sip or two, there's no cause for alarm.
Myth 8: Cold water is bad for you.
Reality: While it's true that warm beverages can cool you down by inducing sweat, there isn't much evidence to prove that cold water will harm you. In fact, the body expends more energy in warming cold water to match your body temperature, thus helping you burn calories.
Another popular myth is that one shouldn't consume water with meals as it will hinder digestion. While some nutritionists agree with this, others don't. But aren't dishes like dal, kadhi and chaas also chiefly water? Our advice - don't overdo the H2O and you should be fine.