It’s now the norm to carry around a water bottle as if it’s a permanent extension of your arm, so it seems that most of us have bought in to the benefits of proper hydration. But is what you think about your drink more hype than fact?
Take this quiz to find out, and hydrate smarter throughout the last hot days of summer.
1. True or false: Coffee and tea count toward hydration.
True. Even though caffeine is a diuretic, which forces water to be excreted in urine, our bodies quickly compensate. So even caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea have a net hydrating effect. Sure, plain water and decaf beverages will hydrate you more, but you can still count that iced coffee as a quencher as much as it is an afternoon pick-me-up.
2. True or false: Coconut water hydrates better than water.
False. This one is firmly in the hype category. In 2012, a major coconut water player, Vita Coco, settled a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of misrepresenting the health benefits of its products, including exaggerated claims of being “super-hydrating.” The company stopped marketing its products that way, but the claim is still rampant on the internet. That’s not to say that coconut water isn’t hydrating — it is, just no more so than plain water.
3. True or false: Drinking extra water will keep your skin moist.
False. Although dry skin is a symptom of dehydration, once you are well hydrated, drinking more water will not make your skin dewier.
4. True or false: The foods you eat can help you stay hydrated.
True. Moisture in solid foods typically accounts for about 20 percent of our water intake, and you can increase that number by digging into plenty of water-rich foods, which include many in-season fruits and vegetables this time of year.
5. True or false: Drinking water may help you lose weight.
True. Although it’s no magic bullet, evidence shows that getting enough water can help with weight-loss efforts in several ways. For one, it can affect metabolism. When we are well hydrated, our cells burn more calories than if we are dehydrated — not a huge number more, but every little bit helps. Then there is the issue of satiety. Water-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, soups and yogurt provide a high level of satisfaction, and there is some evidence that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less at that meal. Of course, drinking water instead of soft drinks can cut calories, too.
6. True or false: You need to drink before you get thirsty.
False. In most healthy adults, thirst is a reliable indicator of fluid needs — and a critical one, as how much you need to drink can vary widely depending on how active you are and how hot it is outside.
7. True or false: You should aim to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day.
False. That widely quoted number has no scientific basis whatsoever. The amount of water you need for optimal hydration depends on many variables, including the climate you live in and how active you are. The Dietary Reference Intakes from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division pinpoint 13 cups of total beverages for men and nine cups for women as the average adequate intake for proper hydration in temperate climates. That number assumes you are getting about 20 percent of your fluid from food.
Ellie Krieger is a nutritionist, author and host of “Healthy Appetite’’ on Food Network.