Here's What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Gallon of Water Every Day
We've all heard about the importance of regularly drinking water and the consequences that can stem from not staying hydrated enough. But is it possible to drink too much water each day—and if so, how much is considered too much? What are some potential advantages as well as consequences of drinking at least a gallon of water every single day?
Like me, you might've turned to the viral TikTok Water Gallon Challenge trend in an effort to understand the effects of consuming more water on the regular. The challenge encourages people to guzzle a gallon of water—which is about 3.8 liters—every day for 30 days. Whether one chooses to continue drinking a gallon of water a day beyond the 30-day mark is up to the individual's discretion, of course. After I attempted this challenge earlier in the year, I took a break from drinking that much water once my 30 days were up. But lately, I've been wondering to what extent it is beneficial to drink this much water on a consistent basis.
Ever curious, I consulted The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, to get their advice on how much water is considered enough per day plus find out what might happen should you drink a gallon of H2O every day.
"The amount of water you need to drink over the course of the day is affected by your gender, age, weight, what your diet is comprised of, and how active you are—which can cause needs to vary a good deal. Typically, men need about 15.5 cups of fluid a day (3.7 liters, nearly a gallon), and women need about 11.5 cups of fluid (2.7 liters, nearly three-fourths gallon)," the Nutrition Twins told Eat This, Not That! "This includes all fluids from water, other beverages, and food. Typically about 20% of the daily fluid intake comes from food and drinks, aside from water."
With this in mind, the Nutrition Twins shared their insight with us on the possible outcomes of incorporating drinking a gallon of water into your daily routine. Read on to get their take on how consuming a gallon of water each and every day could potentially impact your body.
You may lose weight.
The Nutrition Twins claim that when you drink at least a gallon of water per day, you may start to realize that your appetite isn't as strong as it once was. That's because thirst is often mistaken for hunger, and sometimes when people do not get enough water, their instinct is to satisfy this hankering with food as opposed to the hydration their body truly seeks. As a result, they end up eating extra food instead. However, guzzling a gallon of water can help you manage your cravings, enabling you to react accordingly when you genuinely feel thirsty versus hungry.
"When you drink more and are properly hydrated, that hunger no longer exists, and you can shed pounds as you stop consuming extra calories that were a result of dehydration," says the Nutrition Twins.
You may look younger.
Get your vogue faces ready to strike a pose! Evidently, any water fountain can essentially function as a mini Fountain of Youth. According to the Nutrition Twins, water carries nutrients to the skin that helps hydrate while simultaneously filling the spaces between cells.
"This helps to prevent dehydrated skin that can look sunken and weathered," they say. "Staying hydrated also plumps up the cells making skin look more youthful."
You may have more energy.
Who needs the caffeine from coffee or energy drinks when you have the natural wonders of water helping you throughout the day? The Nutrition Twins claim that a gallon of water can even keep you refueled and recharged all day long.
"Water carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body to the brain and to working muscles. If you're even slightly dehydrated, you feel tired because oxygen flow to the brain is impaired. What's more, your heart then must work harder to pump oxygen to your organs and throughout your body, which is tiresome," the Nutrition Twins explain. "In fact, research has found that just 1.6% of dehydration causes fatigue. This is considered just mild dehydration, which is 1–3% of body weight, [or] 1.5–4.5 pounds in a 150-pound person."
You may become more regular—and less bloated, too.
If you've ever had constipation troubles, there are a few tricks you can try that involve consuming food or beverages that can help get things moving. However, one simple solution to overcoming that backed-up, bloated feeling is drinking more water.
"Many people struggle with constipation and the bloat that comes with it simply because they don't drink enough water. So their stool ends up being hard and difficult to pass," says the Nutrition Twins. "If you aren't getting enough water and increase your consumption as you strive to drink a gallon of water, you'll help to make the stool softer and easier to pass. And as you become more regular, the bloat that came with constipation will be relieved too."
You may spend a lot of time running to the bathroom.
Drinking a gallon of water each day may help mitigate constipation in addition to any related symptoms, the twins suggest. However, daily consumption of this much water could also lead to more frequent urination.
"When you drink too much, it can't all just stay in your body—it has to make its way out. So, frequent bathroom trips are to be expected," the Nutrition Twins advise.
So, unless you like spending most of your day on the hunt for an available restroom, you might want to be mindful of when and where you decide to hydrate with a drink of water and avoid overdoing it beyond the recommended quantities. Besides, do you really want to keep waking up in the middle of the night to scoot to the loo, or be that person on road trips who wants to stop every few minutes to find a bathroom?
You may have more difficulty digesting your food.
Although maintaining proper hydration is essential to maintaining your overall health, those with digestive issues might want to think twice before drinking this much water each day.
"Although this likely only will be the case for some people who have digestive issues, drinking large amounts of water with meals is not a good idea as it dilutes digestive enzymes, and these people may have more issues digesting their food," the Nutrition Twins advise.
Whether you are susceptible to digestive issues or not, it might be worthwhile to consult a physician to determine if drinking a gallon of H2O daily is excessive with respect to your own medical history.
You may experience nausea, fatigue, confusion, or headaches.
Do these symptoms sound familiar? Perhaps you felt similar symptoms when a bit dehydrated. Interestingly enough, you're also at risk of experiencing nausea, fatigue, confusion, and headaches when you have too much water. If you go overboard with how much water you consume each day, you can increase your chances of developing other serious health issues, as well.
"When you get too much water, it dilutes the sodium in your body, which can lead to hyponatremia," says the Nutrition Twins. "This can put you at risk for seizures, going into a coma, or even dying."
You may prevent urinary tract infections.
For those who tend to be susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs), chugging tons of cranberry juice isn't the only beverage-related tactic to help to avert discomfort. According to the Nutrition Twins, drinking lots of water can be a UTI deterrent.
"Water not only dilutes your urine, but it means that you'll be urinating more frequently, which flushes bacteria away from the urinary tract, preventing infections," says the Nutrition Twins. "One study showed the women who drank 1.5 liters of water daily had a 50% reduction in recurrent cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection."
You may prevent kidney stones.
Kidney stones are painful, hard mineral deposits that can develop in your kidneys. This pain only further intensifies when your body attempts to "pass" them, expelling them via your urinary tract. However, the Nutrition Twins assert that water can help minimize your chances of possibly developing kidney stones.
"One of the best ways to prevent kidney stones is by drinking plenty of water to prevent the stone-forming crystals from sticking together," says the Nutrition Twins. "Research has shown that for every 0.5-liter water increase, you can significantly reduce stone formation."
You may have less joint pain
While there are foods and drinks that can make joint pain worse, there are also things you can consume that may aid in alleviating these aches and keeping your joints healthy. Drinking water and staying hydrated is one recommended strategy that the Nutrition Twins claim can help your joints feel loose and limber.
According to the Nutrition Twins, "Being properly hydrated lubricates the joints, so you may move more easily and feel less pain and stiffness."
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