Hydration myths

We hear a lot of “truisms” about hydration – but which are fact, and which are fiction? Read on to uncover the truth and dispel some common myths about water and hydration.
Published June 6, 2022

Drinking water is not only important to quench your thirst but is also needed for overall health and to keep your body working properly. Water helps with many functions, including carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, keeping your joints lubricated, regulating body temperature, and providing cushioning protection to your organs and tissues. However, there is a lot of misinformation about hydration, which can make it confusing to know when and how much water to drink. Here we uncover the facts and dispel common myths about hydration:

Fact: Water Helps You Lose Weight

Water can be helpful for weight loss because it helps you stay hydrated without any calories. It is a particularly beneficial strategy to reduce overall calorie intake when you replace sugary, high calorie drinks with water. In fact, research shows that individuals who drink water tend to consume fewer soft drinks and fruit drinks, saving an average of almost 200 calories per day.

Myth: Being Thirsty is a Mistaken Hunger Cue

If you feel thirsty, this means your body needs water. Once you become even mildly dehydrated, you may think you need to eat, while your body is telling you it needs fluids. Symptoms of mild dehydration include headache, fatigue, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, and difficulty concentrating, which can commonly be mistaken as signs of hunger. Others may even experience a “growling” stomach. As a general recommendation, drink water at regular intervals throughout the day, and more if it’s a hot day or you’re exercising. By staying hydrated, you can eliminate dehydration as the cause of any symptoms, making it easier to determine if you are in fact hungry and need to eat.

Myth: Water Increases Feelings of Fullness

Drinking water (or other beverages) is not necessarily linked to increased feelings of fullness or satiety.

Several studies have been done to determine the impact of drinking water before meals on the amount of calories eaten at the next meal. Based on this research, there is not enough evidence to support the notion that water (or other beverages) can increase feelings of fullness or decrease food intake at the next meal.

Myth: Lemon Water Flushes Your System

While you may hear about lemon water (simply, fresh lemon juice mixed with hot or cold water) being needed to “detox” or enhance the removal of toxins from your body, this is simply not true. Your body has its own natural detoxification system consisting of the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin and lungs; drinking water also helps eliminate waste via urine and healthy bowel movements. There is no compelling evidence that drinking lemon water will help further flush or cleanse your body. There is nothing wrong with adding lemon juice to your water if you enjoy it – it may even help you drink more water by jazzing it up with some additional flavour. However, there is no need to drink lemon water specifically for the purposes of flushing your system.