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Debunking Hydration – How Much Water Do We Really Need?

Our Editor Ana Markovic investigates what else do we need to worry about, beyond the universally prescribed eight glasses of water a day.


Hydration as a cure for all things especially skin problems is often on top of the lists. Yet far from a moisturising cream when it comes to men’s beauty and health routines there’s not much out there on the spectre. 

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The aftermath of massive dehydration is well explored, if your vocation comes as a labour intensive work, you are perhaps in the military or a pro-athlete you might even have a scientific take on the same. Nevertheless for us civilians staying hydrated comes as common sense. Unconscious routine we stick to on a daily basis. As far as recommendations go mostly it comes down to drinking more than two litres of water a day. However factually it is far more varied than that. As you may already know our levels of activity, our diet, gender and even age determine how much water do we actually need. That said most of us are feeling slightly dehydrated around the clock. Whether we are realising it or not the effects of this constant dehydration are affecting us more than we realise.

Read more after the jump:

Our Editor Ana Markovic investigates what else do we need to worry about, beyond the universally prescribed eight glasses of water a day.

Starting this research I stumble upon an article in an old issue of GQ Magazine proposing hydration as the cure to tired eyes, blemishes and of course dry skin. Reading in turned out most of the hydration men need is found in ‘the 10 best moisturisers’ of the season carefully prepared to boost your daily routine with these needless to say cosmetic necessities. Most likely all sources from magazine’s advertiser list. Thus easy to figure eight glasses a day and a moisturiser is everything we need for flawless skin. 

Water should always be your main source of hydration when working out, thus make sure most of your fluid intake comes from water. Avoid coffee, sports drinks, sodas or fruit juices

That said I needed to consult an expert, therefore we got in touch with London based hydration expert and urologist, Ph.D. Brianna Lawrence. Talking about the eight glasses a day rule, we were wondering if the is the actual equation we should aim for. “While the standard is no doubt a good one to aim for, the real equation is far more complicated,” shares Lawrence, “It is hard to detect where did the rule come from.” Apparently the first mention was the 1945 Food & Nutrition Board pamphlet issued in the United States. “The convenient thing about that rule is that it is actually easy to remember and it is not far from most of the general recommendations. It mostly boils down to 13 cups amounting to around 3 litres of water per day for men and 9 cups or 2.2 litres of water per day for women“. That said this very generalised recommendation does not take in account the activity, environment, or size of the individual. With danger side-effects of a severe dehydration being well documented, the standard hits all the safe zone parameters. Therefore it is applied by the health standards regulations around the globe as the over simplified solution to staying hydrated.

Before learning how to stay hydrated, we need to know how to avoid dehydration. “There are three key ways to avoid dehydration. Firstly, do not let yourself get thirsty. Include in your diet food with high water content.” Lawrence continues, “and third if your urine is colourless or pale yellow that is a strong indicator you taking adequate amount of water.” 

Men today are having as much of a pressure to reach the ideal body goals as much as women were from decades behind to this very moment. That said, both men and women are hitting the gym like never before. The body objectives are set unfortunately high, turning fitness into an industry of it’s own. With endless workouts we are pushing ourselves beyond limits, and to achieve the perfect body many are working out on the levels required only by professional athletes. Yet we are not training for the Olympics, nor we do know how to. That is where the important difference arises and the slew of injuries and health problems following afterwards. 

Pro athletes are working out since young age and know the danger of dehydration but also how to avoid any related complications. Simply said if you are athletic you have to keep your body hydrated and avoid any signs of related troubles. Whether its an outdoor summer workout, or dry idor air  during the winter season.

While for most people water is the most simple way to stay hydrated, many gyms today as well as the fitness industry in cahoots with the beverage manufacturers are pushing a multitude of sports drinks. The question is how effective are sports drinks and whether those are actually helpful? What sports drinks are rich in is the calories, this is the main difference between drinking water to stay hydrated and taking a boost from a supplement drink. In addition to calorie spike, sports drinks are often enhanced with potassium, sugar and various nutrients placed to provide both a boost in our energy and electrolytes. The calories absorbed through the sports drink are bound to help you perform for a longer period of time at the gym. Still the same calories may actually have a negative effect on your workout, while you did go to the gym to burn calories. The hydration itself and additional duration of the workout are surely a plus side to using a sports drink. 

That said numerous sports drinks are bound to contain caffeine, in many cases you might even be aware. Therefore that extra cup of coffee a day might be tipping over the scale the caffeine intake for the day.  At the same time caffeine has a diuretic effect on your body, which by default speeds up dehydration processes in your organism. The eight cups of water a day as a mantra will not apply if you are actually even drinking coffee, minus the above mentioned workout. 

While sports drinks have their benefits, our recommendation is to opt for water as your pivotal source of hydration. Sports drinks as already discussed have some great indicators when it comes to high intensity workouts. They are fine for adding up amino acids and electrolytes after quite an intense workout. For example they are high on the scale of recommendations for bike riders, however pro bike riders take up to six hour bike rides! The same amount of sport drinks liquid is way over the scale when it comes down to a half an hour to hour workout most of us are pron to go for. Even in a high intense multi-hour bike ride more than one sport drink is the maximum recommended unless you are running a marathon. “Water should always be your main source of hydration when working out, thus make sure most of your fluid intake comes from water. Avoid coffee, sports drinks, sodas or fruit juices.” recommends Ph.D. Brianna Lawrence.

It all comes down to science, the hydration index is entirely based on the renowned glycemic index. The same serves to measure our body’s response to carbohydrate index in various foods. For example the glycemic index is used to help evaluate a person’s glucose and insulin response. The result of such a research shows that some fluids stay longer in your body than others. Therefore those that stay longer in our body are bound to provide more hydration. The simple maths goes like this if you drink a glass of water before your workout, you are to right away use up half of that glass amount in your urine shortly after the workout. Therefore you did not add a full glass of water to your daily required liquids intake, you added only half a glass of water. 

How to stay on top of your water intake? Set up an alarm reminding you to drink water? After all there are so many apps doing the same. Pretty sure this one worked out for hardly anyone out there, if it did surely write to us about it. Not sure anybody wants to add up another stress factor to our daily lives such as endless notifications from a ‘hydration monitor’ app. Thus there are few simple hacks to staying hydrated. Keeping a bottle of water close by on your desk is bound to help. When water is within your reach you are sure to get that prescribed glass of water far more often. Furthermore diet as mentioned above is the key, instead of grabbing a desert after a meal try including fruit. Take more fruits and vegetables as well as water absorbing foods such as oatmeal. You can always add up fruit to your smoothies, yogurt or as a side dish salad to your chicken or fish meal. 

When it comes to dehydration, recent studies have shown there are long term health issues associated with it. Lawrence adds: “Chronic low water intake is closely connected with higher chance of developing metabolic syndromes, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune issues such as diabetes. Additional studies performed over the years have showed that lower daily water intake is also a huge factor when it comes to urinary tract infections, especially with people prone to the same. Furthermore low hydration over longer periods of time, in some cases years of bad habits, are closely connected to kidney stones as well as chronic kidney disease.” 

Finally, when it comes to regulating weight with higher water intake this practice may be the cause of a complex network of problems and it is not recommended by many nutritionists. While most studies show consuming water with one meal does show decrease in hunger, nutritionists will recommend consuming it before a meal. Not during, not after. Obese adults in studies consumed less calories when taking in half a liter of water half an hour before their meal. However, younger subjects did not show significantly lowered calorie intake after such a water pre-load. Additionally those studies ultimately show how age does affect our need for hydration. While New York based stylist Victor Lopez takes on this winter’s style feature by proposing a refreshing winter outfit. 

Finally, our water intake and the method of consummation, is closely connected to our size, gender and age. Furthermore it is always a personal food and fluid related preference. Regarding using hydration as a weight loss tool, is impossible to define how water intake may help manage body weight.

Words by MMSCENE Editor Ana Markovic – @annamarquick

Photography and Styling Ruben Branches@rubenbranches
Model Maxim Sachraj at Elite New York

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