The Role of Liquids
Liquids, and the water that they contain, are the basis of all life. People are over 80% water. However, too much water or too little water can be bad for you. Too little water is associated with the development of various deposits in your body. Kidney stones, gall stones and some arterial issues are associated with long term mild dehydration.
Understand that it can be possible to be dehydrated even though you are drinking liquids. Alcohol is a liquid that will dehydrate the cells in your body. The headache associated with a hangover is in part due to the dehydration of cells caused by high blood alcohol levels. If you have a shortage of water in your body, your body will go into a water retention mode, and will produce little sweat, and little urine. If exposed to hot temperatures, a dehydrated person will experience headaches at the least, and sunstroke(caused by the inability to sweat to cool off) at the worst -- up to and including death.
Dehydration in humans, even mild dehydration, has been increasingly seen as causing or worsening various conditions, including asthma, heart disease, hypertension, infections and many more. In fact, most people walk around in a mild state of dehydration, because rich foods and additives in what we eat and drink can actually case the diffusion of water from inside cells into the blood stream, instead of the normal flow of water from the blood stream through the cell walls and into the cells. This reverse flow of water ends up causing a severe loss of energy at the cellular level. Too much water can throw off your electrolyte balance and result in other problems.
The fact that excess water intake can cause fatal overdoses is not well known. Often called "water intoxication" or "hyponatremia" (low salt)1, water poisoning results when too much water is ingested in too short a time without replenishing electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium. As the electrolyte levels get dangerously out of balance, body systems begin to fail and the sufferer exhibits signs of crisis such as diarrhea, over-salivation, stupor, vomiting, muscle tremors, confusion, frequent urination and other general symptoms of illness. On top of this their brain begins to swell. This swelling is called a 'brain edema' or 'cerebral edema' and can lead to brain damage, paralysis, and sometimes death.
It is totally possible on some diets to lose a lot of salt and potassium -- any Atkins type diet is prone to this, especially if you are also on a low salt diet and blood pressure medication. If you then drink excessive amounts of water trying to maximize your weight loss efficiency, you may be setting yourself up for a serious problem.
So what does this all mean?
Well, the liquid that you should drink the most of is plain ordinary water. Any other liquid that you drink should be in moderation. Five cups of decaf coffee are not nearly as good for you as five cups of water. The chemicals and coffee residue in decaf coffee put a load on your kidneys, and that can hinder the removal of fats and other toxins from your system. The same can be said for almost any other juice or liquid if it is not taken in moderation. Your best bet, whether you are on a diet or not, would be to drink about five glasses of pure water every day to base load you system, and then drink other liquids on top of that only when you are thirsty. At some point you will know what your liquid intake will normally be, so try to plan your pure water drinking around the other liquids so that you get the basic five into your system during each and every day.
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