Hydration isn’t the most exciting subject, but it’s pretty freaking important.
Water acts as a solvent for biochemical reactions and medium for material transport, assists in body temperature regulation, supports cardiovascular function and renal filtration by maintaining blood volume, and helps promote skin health, neurological function, gastrointestinal function, and body weight and composition (1, 2).
Dehydration, on the other hand, can play a role in decreased physical performance, disruptions in mood and cognitive function, fatigue, confusion, headache, anger, constipation, dry skin, bladder and kidney stones, asthma, diabetic hyperglycemia and ketoacidosis, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke (3).
Daily water intake recommendations vary, but most fall around 2500 – 3500 ml, or 85 – 100 oz., per day, including water from beverages and from food moisture (4).
One thing you might keep an eye on is your caloric beverage intake.
Calories in liquid form – from alcohol, carbohydrates/sugar, protein, or fat – don’t have the same compensatory effects on our hunger and satiety signals as solid food, and can promote excessive energy intake and weight gain (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14).
Common sources of liquid calories are soft drinks, energy drinks, sweetened coffees, butter coffees, sweet tea, fruit juices, smoothies, shakes, milk, plant-based milk imposters, and, alas, beer, wine, and liquor.
Reading nutrition facts can help you identify potential sources of liquid calories in your own drinking habits.
Consider starting with 30 – 40 oz. of plain water immediately upon waking to make a dent in your hydration before thirst leads you to other options, particularly those that might promote excessive calorie intake.
The rest of the day, prioritize non-caloric options like more water, unsweetened tea, black coffee, or drinks flavored with alternative sweeteners like stevia.
You don’t have to immediately eliminate your favorite drinks to look and feel awesome.
Start where you are.
Do what you can.
You’ve got this.