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The Dangers of Drinking Too Much Water

The symptoms of hyponatraemic encephalopathy are similar to those of dehydration, including nausea, vomiting, and confusion. Therefore, people with symptoms may think that they need to drink still more, but further water consumption can lead to seizures, delirium, coma and death. The origin of "eight cups a day" may be a misinterpretation of statements in physiology textbooks about total bodily fluid requirements being eight cups per day. This "fluid" however, can come from food, drink, and metabolism byproducts, not necessarily from drinking eight cups of water.

The eight cups dictum typically leaves foods out of the equation and focuses on drinking actual cups of water. Foods contribute a substantial amount of water to the diet, as 90% of the weight of some fruits and vegetables is accounted for by water. Water is found in some surprising places.

Yogurt, salmon, eggs, and potatoes are about 75% water, and four ounces of broiled salmon provides about one half cup of water. What does all this information mean for ordinary people? Do not stop drinking water. Our bodies do need it, especially in the hot summer months when we perspire more. But if you find that eight cups of water sends you to the bathroom frequently, by all means drink less.

According to the ACSH, there is no need to have a universal requirement, since everybody has  different water needs. We don't have a universal calorie requirement and the same should hold true for water. To determine the amount of water in various food types, log on to the USDA site designed specifically to provide that information.


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