It seems like every month there is a new health craze – from the obsession with kale to using chia seeds every day, we are constantly seeing new trends pop up. One trend that has been escalating in exposure lately, and the resource is free, is drinking a gallon of water a day. There are posts online of women drinking a gallon of water per day for 30 days saying their skin radically transformed during those 30 days. But is drinking this much water recommended and safe?
The Proper Amount
Most doctors and dieticians recommend the usual eight 8 oz. glasses per day to stay properly hydrated, and from there, if you exercise or sweat, they recommend drinking the right amount to replace the water that is lost from sweating, plus from urination. So when looking at a gallon of water, this amount is actually twice the recommended amount.
“30 Day Water Challenge”
People have been trying this recent fad because – why not? Water is free from your tap (unless you have to buy filtered water) and you can easily fill up a gallon each day and mark the sides of the gallon for each hour or every two hours to monitor your intake. Some celebrities swear by drinking a gallon per day, saying that it helps their skin look flawless. Others swear that increasing your intake to a gallon per day will reduce the amount of headaches you have and boost your energy.
But is this all true?
Those who have documented their 30 day challenge noted feeling a little nauseous if they drank too much at once, and that their skin within the first few days began to break out due to the water pushing toxins out of their body. By the second week they began to feel more energy and less bloated from drinking the water. The third week resulted in a craving for water, so consuming a gallon didn’t seem like a challenge at all. The major takeaways from this challenge, by many, was that by the end their skin had improved, they had more energy, and slept better at night. Some also experienced less headaches and weight loss due to filling up with water every day.
While the challenge seems to bring with it many benefits, it’s important to know how much water you should be consuming personally. One person may actually require a gallon per day depending on what their daily activities consist of, whereas your own intake could be a lot more or a lot less. Plus athletes generally drink more water because water helps to build and repair muscles.
When water is consumed rapidly, the body’s electrolyte balance can be thrown off and water can enter into brain cells, causing what is known as water intoxication. From taking in more water than needed, the sodium levels in the body dramatically decrease, leading to coma and death in some cases. Confusion occurs as a symptom when sodium levels drop to 120 mmol/liter, then drowsiness once it drops to 110 mmol/liter, and coma and/or other severe symptoms will occur if levels drop to 90-105 mmol/liter. The faster the intake of water, the faster the drop in sodium, and the more rapidly these symptoms will occur.
The main symptoms of water intoxication are confusion, drowsiness, and coma, but other symptoms also include inappropriate behavior, delusions, and hallucinations, all of which are symptoms of psychosis; since the symptoms are very similar, many mistake water intoxication for psychosis.
Drinking a gallon of water per day does have its benefits, but monitor your activity to determine how much you should be drinking seeing as some don’t actually need all that extra water. But when all’s said and done, a properly hydrated body is a happy body.
Have you tried this 30 Day Water Challenge? If you have, tell us your journey during the challenge in the comments below! Feel free to join the discussion on our Facebook page or get in touch with us directly.