MYTH OF DEHYDRATION DANGERS FOR ATHLETES BENEFITS BEVERAGE MARKETERS

A new study has scathing words for sports drink marketers and reveals that athletes who collapse during workouts or meets are no more likely to be dehydrated than are competitors who remain standing.

Tim Noakes, MD, of the University of Cape Town, warns that too much water (hyperhydration) is a greater risk to athletes than is dehydration.

As little as a 2% increase in body water can cause serious health ramifications, whereas serious dehydration risks don’t begin until a 15% decrease—equivalent to 48 dry hours in a desert.

Noakes adds, “Over the past 40 years, humans have been misled . . . to believe that they need to drink to stay ‘ahead of thirst’ to be optimally hydrated.”

In an accompanying investigative article in the BMJ, Noakes cites “collaboration between beverage marketers and scientists to promote “a whole area of science devoted to hydration.”

My Take on the findings:  Decades ago, I found it easy to turn my back on the 8-glasses of water a day prescription when I found out the study that came to  the conclusion was financed by the American Bottled Water Association.

After all, most fruits and vegetables are at least 90% water, and that water counts toward hydrating our bodies, as do liquids we drink other than water.

Source:  Tufts Health&Nutrition Update, August 17, 2012     Study published in British Medical Journal, July 4, 2012.

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