Body of Water Part 2: What is Considered Water?

Often we are told drink more water/fluids.  But what is considered healthy sources of water or fluids?  Is it only plain water?  While some people might disagree with what I say, this is my opinion.  You do not have to drink plain water all day to meet your recommended fluid needs!  What are those recommendations again?  Around 64 oz or eight 8-ounce cups per day is a good rule of thumb (see previous article: Body of Water).

Other Ways to Help Get in Fluids may be found in your diet!  No, not, D-I-E-T, the bad word (such as low-carb, low-fat, etc.) but the foods you eat on a daily basis.  The average adult food intake provides about 20% of your total water intake.  The remaining 80% comes from various beverages.

Eat Fruits and Veggies!  They are a great source of water, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Think about when you bite into that crispy, fresh from the orchard apple – how much juice you get on your face (or at least I do, but maybe I am a messy eater).  For example, oranges are 87% water and cucumbers are 95% water.  Milk is also another great source of water, as well as, protein, calcium, and other nutrients.  If you are lactose intolerant, try light soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk.

Sorting Through the Multitude of Bottled, Commercial Waters can be confusing.  So what do all these specialty terms mean?

  • Purified water is generally just water that has been distilled or treated to remove impurities (contaminants and minerals).  Different methods are used to produce purified water, including charcoal filters, reverse osmosis, and deionization.  The water can originate from a well, spring, or the public drinking supply.
  • Spring water comes from an underground source and naturally flows to the ground surface.  It is collected only at the spring or through a hole that taps the underground formation feeding the spring.
  • Mineral water contains at least 250 parts per million of total dissolved mineral solids, such as, calcium and magnesium.  The minerals cannot be added to the water by the manufacturer; they must occur naturally.  Mineral water originates from a protected underground water source.
  • Sparkling water contains naturally occurring or added carbon dioxide to produce the fun bubbles or effervescence and increases mouth feel.
  • Distilled water is created by boiling water until a vapor is created.  The vapor is collected and cooled until it returns to a liquid state.  Distilling water removes bacteria, viruses, cysts, heavy metals and other particulates.  However, to remove all bacteria and other toxins, you have to combine distilling with carbon filtrating.  Distilled water does not take away minerals from the body.  However, it will start to taste like the plastic it is stored in.  It tastes best when stored in glass bottles.  Distilled water is most often used for pharmaceutical purposes.
  • Seltzer water is classified as a soft drink.  It is flavorless water that has carbonation added.  It can be consumed plain or with added soda-fountain flavors.  Many weight loss surgery professionals recommend that their patients don’t drink carbonated beverages.  There are some people that believe the carbonation may stretch the pouch.
  • Tonic water is also classified as a soft drink and is flavored with quinine and infused with carbon dioxide to create bubbles.  Quinine is a bitter alkaloid obtained from the cinchona tree that is native to the Andes Mountains and is also grown in Southeast Asia and India.
  • Flavored water includes added flavors, extracts, essences, or fruit juice concentrates derived from spice or fruit and must comprise less than one percent, by weight, of the final product weight.  No sweeteners or other additives are allowed.  Carbon dioxide is often used to create bubbles.

I always told my patients to count it as fluids/water if it met 3 guidelines:

  1. Decaffeinated since caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it flushes fluid out of your body increasing your fluid needs
  2. Mostly non-caloric.  Less than 5-10 calories per 8 oz; examples will include Crystal Light, Propel, Vitamin Water Zero, etc.
  3. Non-carbonated (no bubbles); while I haven’t seen any scientific evidence showing that carbonation may in fact stretch the pouch of a weight loss surgery patient, it is a guideline many patients follow.  Anecdotally, I did see post-op patients that started gaining weight after drinking sodas again.  Whether that was the only factor; probably not.

Why All This Water Talk?  It’s a good starting point to your journey to wellness.  It helps to regulate your body temperature, lubricate the joints, lessen the strain on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products, carry nutrients and oxygen to the cells, prevent constipation, protect organs and tissue, and dissolve nutrients to make them accessible to the body.

Don’t Rely on Thirst to regulate your hydration status.  1-2% of your body weight lost due to dehydration is when you first start to feel thirsty.  And mild dehydration of 3% slows down your metabolism!  Dehydration of 7-9% can result in low blood pressure and even result in coma.  One last fun fact – drinking 64 ounces of water per day helps you to burn an extra 100 calories through thermogenesis (the amount of calories one burns from eating/drinking).  So keep drinking!

© By Heather Mackie, MS, RD, LD

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