Why You Need MORE
Clean Pure Water Everyday
By Lee Bowman
Scripps Howard News Service

Drink up, America, because despite what the experts have been telling you for years, you're not getting those eight glasses of water a day. In fact, a new survey shows the average American is downing just 4.6 glasses of water a day.
Worse yet, we're drinking at least as many servings of beverages containing caffeine and alcohol, which rob the body of water by speeding up urination.
Although two-thirds of the people responding to a poll for the Nutrition Information Center at The New York Hospital and the International Bottled Water Association said they are aware of the 8, eight-ounce servings standard, only one in five respondents said they drink that much water and one in 10 said they drink no water at all.
On the plus side, people in the survey said they do drink about eight glasses total of decaffeinated soft drinks, milk and fruit juice each day, but combined with the bad stuff, "the net result is that most Americans are probably only getting about a third of the valuable hydration benefits they need," said Barbara Levine, director of the nutrition information center.
"Those people who drink iced tea all day or a lot of beer at the ballgame are not doing themselves any good," she added. "And the situation is probably worse than the survey shows, since people tend to underreport how much alcohol they're consuming."
People have any number of good excuses for not drinking enough water: not enough time (27 percent); don't feel thirsty (11 percent); don't like the taste of the water (8 percent); forget to drink it (7 percent); and lesser percentages who were concerned about the lack of bottled water or the quality of tap water. Two percent said they can't leave their desk or workstation to have a drink.
Of course, Levine said she suspects that people responding to the survey were less likely than her own patients to admit another major reason for not drinking enough -- "they're concerned about being able to get to the bathroom."
And while people might boost their water intake a bit during hot weather, the study found that more than a third of Americans don't realize they need to drink just as much water in cold weather.
Water makes up more than 70 percent of the body's solid tissues and, after oxygen, is the most important nutrient we take in. Water regulates body temperatures, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, helps remove wastes, cushion joints and protects organs and tissue.
In the short run, dehydration is signaled by dry itchy skin, a headache or feeling tired and groggy when you wake up (the body loses as much water asleep as awake) or during the middle of the day.
Chronic dehydration can bring on more serious problems with digestion, blood pressure, circulation and kidney function.
Although she can't pose any direct cause and effect, Levine noted that 10 percent of the American population suffers from kidney stones, with many of them clearly brought on by not drinking enough water.

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