Besides oxygen, it’s the most essential element for your survival. But instead of us just telling you to drink more water because it’s good for you, we’ve found the top research that tells you exactly why drinking more water will make you a superior version of yourself.
Water is most of your body. Stay hydrated to be a smarter, stronger, and leaner version of yourself.
Distilled (i.e. SmartWater) - Water that is boiled into steam to remove impurities/minerals and then re-condensed into water. Claimed to detoxify body, but there is no evidence to support this. (7)
Alkaline (i.e. Essentia) - Has a pH level of 9 (regular water is 7), making it slightly less acidic. Claimed to neutralize acidity in the body, but not enough evidence exists to support. One study showed that Alkaline water may improve blood-flow efficiency, but this study was funded by a company that sells Alkaline water. (10)
Mineral (i.e. Perrier) - Bottled at a "mineral spring" and contains naturally occurring minerals. No confirmed health benefits other than it may improve digestion. (11)
All types of water are just water with slight variations. Feel free to drink whichever you enjoy most.
In short, no. Any beverage that you drink will hydrate you. Yes, even coffee and alcohol. It is true that both coffee and alcohol are diuretics (they make you pee more). However, the amount of fluids you're consuming are still more than the amount you excrete.
A study looked at the hydration effect of a number of drinks and found that both beer and coffee are hydrating. It should be pointed out that they were the least hydrating drinks in the study, but they still had a net positive effect. (12)
All beverages will hydrate you, but some will hydrate you more efficiently than others.
The amount of water you need depends on a number of factors including age, activity, environment, etc. For example, a 22 year-old marathoner in Kenya will need to drink more water than a sedentary 71 year-old in Iceland. Although there are popular prescriptions for how much water a person ought to drink (i.e. 8 x 8 Rule), none are backed by research.
At the end of the day, you know your body better than anyone and your body is a great self-regulator. One study showed that when people continued to drink after drinking a large amount of water was 3 times harder to swallow. (13) Your body is the most advanced machine ever created, listen to it. Drink when you’re thirsty and stop drinking when you’re not.
Your water needs are unique to your lifestyle. Listen to your body and drink as needed.
Water is most of your body and should be a central part of any lifestyle, regardless of your goals. Staying hydrated will make you a happier, more productive, stronger, and fitter version of yourself. Water isn't the only way to hydrate, but it's recommended since it's zero calories, free, and very effective at hydrating.
1. Riebl, S. K., & Davy, B. M. (2013). The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance. ACSM's health & fitness journal, 17(6), 21-28.
2. Judelson, Daniel A., et al. “Effect of Hydration State on Strength, Power, and Resistance Exercise Performance.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, vol. 39, no. 10, 2007, pp. 1817–1824.
3. Riebl, S. K., & Davy, B. M. (2013). The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance. ACSM's health & fitness journal, 17(6), 21-28.
4. Ganio, Matthew S., et al. “Mild Dehydration Impairs Cognitive Performance and Mood of Men.” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 106, no. 10, 2011, pp. 1535–1543.
5. Davy, Brenda M., et al. “Water Consumption Reduces Energy Intake at a Breakfast Meal in Obese Older Adults.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, vol. 108, no. 7, 2008, pp. 1236–1239.
6. Vij, V. A., & Joshi, A. S. (2013). Effect of 'water induced thermogenesis' on body weight, body mass index and body composition of overweight subjects. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 7(9), 1894-6.
7. Verma, K. C., & Kushwaha, A. S. (2014). Demineralization of drinking water: Is it prudent?. Medical journal, Armed Forces India, 70(4), 377-9.
8. Wakisaka, Shiori, et al. “The Effects of Carbonated Water upon Gastric and Cardiac Activities and Fullness in Healthy Young Women.” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, vol. 58, no. 5, 2012, pp. 333–338.
9. Schoppen, Stefanie, et al. “A Sodium-Rich Carbonated Mineral Water Reduces Cardiovascular Risk in Postmenopausal Women.” The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 134, no. 5, 2004, pp. 1058–1063.
10. Weidman, Joseph, et al. “Effect of Electrolyzed High-PH Alkaline Water on Blood Viscosity in Healthy Adults.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 13, no. 1, 2016.
11. Barnes, Christopher M., John Schaubroeck, Megan Huth, and Sonia Ghumman. "Lack of Sleep and Unethical Conduct." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 115, no. 2 (2011): 169-80.
12. Fornai, M., et al. “Effects of a Bicarbonate-Alkaline Mineral Water on Digestive Motility in Experimental Models of Functional and Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Disorders.” Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 30, no. 4, 2008, p. 261.
13. Maughan, Ronald J, et al. “A Randomized Trial to Assess the Potential of Different Beverages to Affect Hydration Status: Development of a Beverage Hydration Index.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 103, no. 3, 2015, pp. 717–723.