Just because we’ve been told water is essential, people tend to abuse it, because they think one can’t go wrong with H2O. Yes… we know it keeps us hydrated, helps us avoid overeating, and could even burn extra calories. But, like with many of your healthiest habits, more isn’t always better, even when it comes to water. Believe it or not, there are a few times when you should back off the bubbler.
WHEN YOUR PEE IS CLEAR
So how do you know when enough water is enough? Forget that old “eight glasses a day” rule and instead take a look in the toilet. If you see a light lemonade shade, you’ve reached optimal hydration status. If you see only clear urine in the bowl, you can probably cut back your water intake a smidge. Darker yellows can be a sign it’s time to get sipping.
WHEN YOU ALREADY CHUGGED A BUNCH
It’s incredibly rare, but it’s possible to drink so much water you put your health at risk. If you chug enough to dilute your body’s natural balance of salt, you can become too low in sodium, a condition known as hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, for example, may be tempted to keep on sipping all throughout a marathon (or after), leading to cell swelling that can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures, and even death.
WHEN YOU ATE A BIG MEAL
It’s one of the simplest ways to cut back on a few calories: Drink a glass of water before a meal (or when a craving strikes) and you’ll naturally eat a little bit less since that fluid is already taking up space in your fist-sized stomach. But for the very same reason, drinking too much water before or during a heavy meal can lead to discomfort.
WHEN YOU’RE DOING A SUPER-INTENSE WORKOUT FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME
We lose electrolytes, like potassium and sodium, through sweat. If you’re seriously sweating it out, you’ll need to replace those crucial nutrients, which aren’t found in plain water. Rather than a sugary sports drink, though, you may be able to get the same boost from coconut water, which is naturally high in potassium, magnesium, sodium, and vitamin C without as many calories and with more fibre.
WHEN THE WATER HAS A NOT-SO-SWEET SECRET
We get it: No one wants to drink regular water when there are all these fancy flavoured bottled varieties to choose from. But flavoured waters often rely on zero-calorie sweeteners to add a little something-something to the plain ol’ water taste. Because these sweeteners have been linked to increased hunger and even weight gain in some studies, commercially available flavoured waters might do you more harm than good. Instead, try adding your own flavour to tap water by tossing in lemon, lime, cucumber, watermelon, berries, or even herbs.