The symptoms of
hyponatraemic encephalopathy are similar to those of dehydration,
including nausea, vomiting, and confusion. Therefore, people with
symptoms may think that they need to drink still more, but further
water consumption can lead to seizures, delirium, coma and death.
The origin of "eight cups a day" may be a misinterpretation of
statements in physiology textbooks about total bodily fluid
requirements being eight cups per day. This "fluid" however, can
come from food, drink, and metabolism byproducts, not necessarily
from drinking eight cups of water.
The eight cups dictum
typically leaves foods out of the equation and focuses on drinking actual cups of water. Foods contribute a
substantial amount of water to the diet, as 90% of the weight of
some fruits and vegetables is accounted for by water. Water is found
in some surprising places.
Yogurt, salmon, eggs, and potatoes are
about 75% water, and four ounces of broiled salmon provides about
one half cup of water. What does all this information mean for
ordinary people? Do not stop drinking water. Our bodies do need it,
especially in the hot summer months when we perspire more. But if
you find that eight cups of water sends you to the bathroom
frequently, by all means drink less.
According to the ACSH, there is
no need to have a universal requirement, since everybody has
different water needs. We don't have a universal calorie requirement
and the same should hold true for water. To determine the amount of
water in various food types, log on to the
USDA site designed specifically to provide that information.
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