Madhuri Ruia, celebrity dietician, answers few questions on importance of water in our diet. Read and get your facts right .
1. It is quite unfortunate that water isn’t considered a part of balanced diet. What’s your take on it?
Water is a nutrient just like carbohydrates, proteins and fats. About 70% of the body is made up of water. It performs several important functions in the body such as lubricating and cushioning joints like our knees, wrists and all internal organs. In addition water helps us get rid of waste products and toxins and transports essential nutrients to various body parts.
2. Is drinking too much of water bad?
Yes drinking water faster than your body can sweat, urinate or breathe can be fatal.
3. Does consumption pattern of those who gym as against those who don’t vary? Should the former drink more water? How much water intake is recommended to both?
Yes of course. Your activity pattern justifies your water consumption. Generally 100 ml or ½ a glass is required for every 100 calories that is expended. So you need to calculate your BMR basal metabolic rate which is the number of calories one needs just to survive. Add 500 to 1000 calories for an activity. If you are a gym goer, then you need to add more calories for an activity and adjust water intake accordingly.
4. How can one determine how much water they must drink – men and women both?
This is dependent on the BMR and activity level. For a women, a general guideline to calculate the BMR is weight in Kgs X 23 and for men it is weight in Kgs X 24. Add the calories required for activity levels, i.e. 500 calories for a sedentary person and a 1000 or more calories for an active or gym goer.
Essentially, 100 ml of water is required for every 100 calories expended. One glass is 200 ml so this means that one glass of water is required for every 200 calories expended. If the total amount of calories you expend is 3000, divide this by 200 and you get 15 glasses a day. For most of us 12 to 13 glasses per day is adequate.
5. To keep wrinkles at bay drink plenty of water. Is it true or should one dismiss it as a myth?
Well, yes to a certain extent it is true that drinking plenty yet adequate amount of water can keep wrinkles miles away from us. It is highly recommended that you drink the amount of water you actually need at regular intervals to keep your skin well hydrated and moist.
6. Should a person who is on a diet drink lots of water?
See, it shouldn’t be more than what is required. As explained previously, water consumption must be is based on an individual’s activity levels. So, if you are drinking sufficient water the frequency of urination will be at regular interval i.e. every two hours.
7. Parents keep insisting their children to drink plenty of water because it helps prevent bladder cancer? Does drinking less water increase uric acid? How much of it is true?
Indeed, drinking lots of water can prevent bladder cancer, but children need to drink water for energy. It is its adults who need to be concerned about bladder cancer. Uric acid levels are high because it is genetically inherited, or if the person is on a crash diet or in some cases if he or she is or being overweight. So, as a part of treatment to lower high uric acid levels drinking sufficient amount of water becomes important.
8. How much water must a pregnant and lactating mother drink?
Water is an important nutrient and affects many aspects of pregnancy. Apart from providing energy, it prevents miscarriages, constipation, haemorrhaging and electrolyte imbalances. It is important to remember that the body has to adapt in many ways to accommodate a pregnancy. Hormones adapt to help a pregnant woman store the additional fluid she needs. Additional fluid is required by because pregnant women because they lose additional water through the lungs, double blood volume by the third trimester, making in turn the kidneys work a lot harder during pregnancy. Therefore, fluid consumption for a pregnant woman becomes tremendously important.
A pregnant woman must ensure that she has the requisite 13 glasses of water a day and in addition a high intake of water based fruit and or fruit juices to prevent dehydration.
Lactating women must pay special heed to their fluid consumption. Each time before breast feeding it is a good idea to drink a glass of water to replenish fluid loss during breast feeding.
9. Does Drinking water right before or after eating harm our digestive system? Is it advisable?
Drinking water does not dilute the enzymes, because water does not mix with digestive enzymes. On the contrary water assists in the digestive process of break down of nutrients and it is advisable to drink water before meals
10. How much water should those with acne drink?
People with acne need to focus on water intake to flush out toxins. A good way to ensure that you have the amount of water you need is to fill the amount you need at the beginning of the day and ensure that you drink all of it.
11. What signs of dehydration or mild fatigue caused due to drinking less water must people watch out for?
For a 2% loss of water there are mild symptoms of thirst, loss of appetite, dry skin, dark coloured urine, dry mouth and chills.
If the water loss is more than 5% then the heart rate increases, there are palpitations, difficulty urinating, muscle cramps, extreme fatigue, nausea and severe headaches.
If there is more than 10% loss of water then medical help is required delay. The symptoms become more severe and there can be muscle spasms, vomiting, racing pulse, shrivelled skin, dim vision, painful urination, confusion, difficulty breathing, seizures, chest, abdominal pain and unconsciousness.
12. Should we drink less water in winters?
During winter, one might not feel very thirsty but the air is dry and that is why one must continue to drink adequate water even when one is not thirsty. In the absence of water mucous membranes of the lungs sinuses and intestines can dry out making these more prone to infection. That’s why it is more important to maintain a regular water intake even during winter.
13. Does drinking lukewarm water help in burning fat?
An adequate water intake improves weight loss as part of a diet plan because it transports nutrients and helps us get rid of wastes faster. It improves kidney function, gives us energy and aids intracellular connectivity. Few researchers suggest that drinking cold water can increase the metabolic rate more than lukewarm water and aid in overall weight loss. However, the difference that this can make is insignificant. It would be far better to focus on adequate water intake, healthy diet and regular exercise, especially weight training to burn more fat.
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