05 October 2011

Hitting the bottle

The British Dietetic Association guidelines state that an average adult should consume 2.5 litres of water per day. Question number one... am I average? Huh? How should I know.

Setting this aside, some people may think that seems like an awful lot of drinking to be done, but it isn't all that bad in practice. Water forms a major part of a lot of things so fruit juices, soups, fizzy drinks (bleh!), tea and fruit & veg, and indeed anything soggy (i.e. with a high water content) can help chip in to this amount.

The BDA add that intake should increase during hot weather (like the last week or so) or during/after physical activity. But, they also caution against drinking "too much" (although, sadly, they seem to omit to quantify this in any way), as this can lead to problems with brain, heart and muscle function if it dilutes the salts needed by our bodies too much.

There's a quick 'n dirty guide to see if you're drinking as much as your body needs. If your wee is a nice pale straw-yellow colour then you are probably drinking enough. If it looks dark yellow, you probably need to drink more.

So how am I doing? Well, the wee test seems to say OK, but I find I need quite a bit more than those 'recommended levels' per day to keep to a nice pale straw colour and feel less than 'OK' if my intake drops.

So what exactly do I drink in an average day?
Breakfast - a large cup of tea (with a small amount of skimmed milk). I just cannot function without it!
Arriving at work - usually a mug of herbal tea (Often drunk after it's gone stone cold! Oh well.)
During morning - a mug of lemon tea
Lunchtime - rarely anything, occasionally a small amount of tapwater
During afternoon - a mug of lemon tea
Throughout the day - one (sometimes two) 1 litre 'water-bottles' of tapwater
Evening - BIG* glass tapwater
Overnight - BIG* glass tapwater
To this can be added fruit, soup and other soggy stuff.

* my BIG glass mug holds about 470ml

Blimey! To see that totted up, and finding it's a good bit more than 3 litres on an average day, I guess I'm definitely getting my fair share of the wet stuff!

Hmmm. why do I get though so much? Well, whenever you cared to ask me, I'm pretty much almost always thirsty! Given that the typical 'I'm thirsty' sensation isn't supposed to be triggered until you're already dehydrated, if I listened to thirst as an indicator I'd be drinking gallons!

To be honest, this fact rather worried me until I talked to my GP about it a while ago. I was tested for 'all-sorts' (yes including diabetes, which was my first worry) and everything came back absolutely fine. Now I just figure that's the way my body operates, and so... the fat lass hits the bottle.


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