Is Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day Needed? Here’s the Verdict
Whether you have bad skin, feel sluggish, or want to feel more youthful, the common suggestion is to drink more water. You've probably seen people toting a gallon jug of water to the gym, the office, or the worksite. But is drinking a gallon of water a day really that helpful?
Here, we’ll talk about what increasing your water intake this much can do to your body. You’ll learn more about proper hydration and the risks of dehydration.
Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day: Good or Bad?
Is drinking a gallon of water a day a good idea? Well, that really depends. Drinking enough fluids is key to staying healthy and avoiding dehydration. Dehydration is a medical condition that occurs when you lose more fluids and electrolytes than you take in. It can lead to serious complications and cause headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue.
But not everyone needs the same amount of fluids to stay hydrated. Some people may need more than a gallon of water a day while others may need less. This all depends on your activity level, age, and your own body’s needs. Overeating and having a high body weight and body temperature can all impact the amount of fluid you need.
For example, a firefighter battling flames will need more water than someone who sits in an air-conditioned office all day. Other workers who are subject to high-heat environments — like construction workers and glassblowers — will also need more fluids.
Medical conditions can also impact the amount of water you need to drink. People with diabetes may need to drink more water since high blood sugar levels can increase the risk of dehydration. Individuals with kidney disease may need to monitor their water intake more closely since the condition can increase water retention and cause edema.
So should you be drinking a gallon of water a day? Not necessarily, and in some cases, a full gallon may be too much — more on that below.
But it’s not just about how much water you drink. In addition to water, you need a precise balance of electrolytes like sodium and potassium to stay hydrated. These electrolytes help to support water retention and carry out functions like muscle movement. Unfortunately, water doesn’t have many electrolytes.
How to Tell if You’re Dehydrated
So some people shouldn’t be drinking a gallon of water every day, but some people should. But how do you know how much water and fluids to drink? There’s no specific amount, and your hydration needs can change from day to day depending on your activity level. That’s why it’s a good idea to build good hydration habits into your daily schedule. Things like taking small sips of fluids throughout the day and watching for signs of dehydration are key tools to staying properly hydrated.
Here are some of the most common warning signs of dehydration:
- Dark urine
- Decreased urination
- Muscle cramps
- Blood pressure changes
- Lightheadedness and fatigue
- Low energy levels and decreased performance
- Confusion and irritability
- Dry skin and dry eyes
- Extreme thirst
One of the easiest ways to tell if you’re dehydrated and need to increase your fluid intake is to look at your pee. If your pee is dark yellow, you’re likely dehydrated. Your pee doesn’t need to be clear, but it should be the color of light lemonade.
Dangers of Drinking Too Much Water
There are many health benefits of drinking plenty of water. From improved weight loss results to fewer acne breakouts, dietitians and nutritionists have long recommended water consumption. But as they say, too much of a good thing can be harmful.
Drinking too much water can lead to a condition called overhydration or water intoxication. It’s a rare condition, but it can be life-threatening. Also known as hyponatremia, water intoxication is caused by low levels of sodium electrolytes and too much water. Remember how we said you need a precise balance of electrolytes? Well, when you drink too much water, the balance of sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes is thrown off.
Hyponatremia occurs when you drink too much water in a short period of time. That’s why it’s best not to chug all your water at once. By chugging water, your bloodstream is flooded with water, diluting the natural balance of sodium. Low sodium levels can lead to serious complications, including brain swelling, coma, and death. Avoid drinking more than 200 ounces of water in a few hours, and definitely don’t participate in “water challenges” where you need to drink large amounts of water as fast as possible. These are dangerous and can lead to hyponatremia.
Marathon runners and people with certain medical conditions are at higher risk of water intoxication. To avoid this condition, try to sip water throughout the day instead of chugging it. Otherwise, you can drink until you’ve quenched your thirst. Of course, when you sweat more, you should also drink more water.
Fight Dehydration With DripDrop
So now you know that drinking a gallon of water a day isn’t the right choice for many people. But the question of whether you should drink this much water leaves out an important part of hydration. You see, you can’t just drink enough water. You also need electrolytes like sodium and potassium.
When dehydration hits, we need to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes fast. While IV therapy is a common treatment, it may not be practical — especially if you’re out on the trails or working on a job site. Instead of focusing on how much water to drink, think about how to stay properly hydrated. You don’t just need water. You also need precise amounts of electrolytes — something you can get by drinking DripDrop.
DripDrop is a fast, low-cost, proven alternative to IV therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate dehydration. When it comes to dehydration relief, DripDrop is in a category of its own. Built on 50 years of ORS science, our doctor-developed formula is designed to fight dehydration with unparalleled speed and amazing flavor. The convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop when you need it, where you need it.