I started this week wanting to write a blog on tips to stay cool in the summer heat. The first thing on every single list is hydration. They say it over and over again. I figured we could all use a little education on hydration since my base definition was; drink more water.

Google states that hydration is, “the process of causing something to absorb water.” So adding water to a sponge is hydration. That is easy enough to understand.

To understand hydrating and hydration we should know about dehydration since this is what we are really wanting to avoid. Back to the old google machine which states; “Dehydration is a condition that can occur when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of individual cells and then out of the body than the amount of water that is taken in through drinking.”

Warning signs of dehydration include; [1]

For Kids
Dry mouth and tongue
No tears when crying
No wet diapers for three hours
Sunken eyes, cheeks
Sunken soft spot on top of skull
Listlessness or irritability

For Adults
Extreme thirst
Less frequent urination
Dark-colored urine
Fatigue
Dizziness
Confusion

When is it time for a doc?
Has had diarrhea for 24 hours or more
Is irritable or disoriented and much sleepier or less active than usual
Can’t keep down fluids
Has bloody or black stool

These warning signs and indications to see a doctor, while not entirely inclusive, are important to understand and recognize.
Ok so hydration is moving water into and dehydration is water moving out. So how much water do we need to drink to stay hydrated?

According to slenderkitchen.com your weight and activity are determining factors in this calculation. The number is not the same for everyone.

The article continues to indicate that you have to multiply your weight by ⅔ to get the total amount of water you should drink daily. It provides the example that a 175-pound individual would need to drink 117 ounces of water!

As soon as we have that figured out we then have to take activity level into account. The more you sweat the more you have to drink. Slenderkitchen.com states, “You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. “

What about those electrolyte drinks endorsed by every major sport in America?

An article on healthline.com states, “A report from the University of California, Berkeley says that sports drinks might be better than water for children and athletes who engage in prolonged, vigorous physical activity for more than one hour, especially in hot conditions. However, you should note that those exercising less than 60 to 90 minutes may not need [the sports drink]* to maintain or improve performance.”

The reference report is available here; https://www.issuelab.org/resources/18583/18583.pdf

The negatives of the sport drinks

The sugar – if you consider a 12 ounce serving with 21 grams of sugar a container with 32 ounces has a total of 56 grams of sugar. The sugar in sports drinks may be contributing to the child obesity epidemic by increasing caloric intake. When consumed often, the sugar content of Gatorade can also contribute to tooth decay, especially in children.

People watching their sugar and sodium intake need to watch the amount and serving size of any product they consume.

The article also raises concerns about the dyes used in the sports drinks that may have long-term side effects.

Regarding soda, you may find this surprising. According to an article on cookinglight.com; “Soda isn’t dehydrating. “When it comes to caffeine, there’s a lot of misinformation about the diuretic impact of the drug. If you drink two liters of soda, you’ll hold on to most of it, but not as much as you would if you drank two liters of water,” says Dr. Douglas Casa, a kinesiology professor at the University of Connecticut and chief operating officer at the school’s Korey Stringer Institute. [3]

In other words, you’re still hydrating yourself. “You don’t have a net deficit. You just don’t retain quite as much fluid as you would if you drank something that doesn’t have caffeine,” Casa says.” [2]

I understand that the majority of thinking states the opposite about soda and that the negatives far outway the positives. I found the best explanation for soda as it relates to hydration being that soda can make you urinate more often which can lead to dehydration.

If you got this far in the article you are probably saying, where is the sales pitch? This guy is an insurance agent! Well, no real pitch this week. We want everyone to be happy, healthy, and safe this summer. Keep the warning signs of dehydration close this summer, especially around kids and elderly.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-gatorade-bad-for-you#pros-of-gatorade

[3] https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/does-soda-cause-dehydration