are you drinking enough water?
:deadhorse Iím pretty sure this is beating a dead horse, but are you? Last week while I was at work I almost feinted after standing up (orthostatic hypotension; see 1), something that had previously not happened to me before. After my head cleared I was worried that the cause might be something serious. I ran through the symptoms in my head trying to find a specific culprit. ďDo I have high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, óAddisonís disease!?Ē I thought. My training regiment hadnít changed, but a thought occurred to me: my diet had. Recently, I had increased my protein consumption by drinking a whey shake after my workouts. Nothing strange or wrong with that, but what I didnít realize at the time was that I had to also increase my intake of water as well to compensate for the extra protein. It is estimated that for every k/cal of food you eat you must obtain 1ml of water to replace your water lost. <2> Thus, a diet of 2500 k/cal suggests about 2.5 L of water from both food and drink (most of your dietary water comes from the food you eat).
Another important thing to note is its also what you drink and eat thatís important. ĎSaltedí drinks like soda require more water to deal with the excess salt. This goes double for caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea and those redbull-esque energy drinks as caffeine is a diuretic. Alcohol also has similar effects by inhibiting the production of vasopressin, a hormone used to conserve body water. The importance of reading labels and being aware of whatís inside goes without saying. For example, in coke products there is usually around 50mg of sodium as well as a small amount of caffeine. <3> Energy drinks usually are infused with as much caffeine as a cup of coffee (some in Japan have more).
In my case, dehydration snuck up on me before I realized it. I work at a school, so this permits only early morning and evening workout times. The night before I had a three-hour workout during which I drank about 1.5-2L of water. I ate a light dinner that consisted of rice, fish, pickled vegetables and my protein shake (21g). The next day I had my usual breakfast of oats, yoghurt, chopped fruit and another protein shake. On the way to work I also had a small coffee and milk. The combination of the protein, coffee and good workout the night before caused my situation to degrade before I realized it. High protein diets especially have a higher requirement for water than their ordinary counterparts. This is primarily because while the excess protein is converted to either fat or sugar by the body, the extra urea produced by this conversion requires more water to excrete it as urine. A recent study done at the University of Connecticut found that hydration needs increased as the amount of dietary protein increased. Whatís more is that the participants in the study did not realize they were any thirstier than with their previous diet. <4 & 5> For me, the 2L or so of water was fine before, but the extra protein I added in my diet changed my needs enough to create a potentially bad situation. I hope this was helpful for someone.