Do You Drink More Water Than The Average American?

Written by mindbodygreen

Image by Halo Sport / Contributor

Whether you've worked up a sweat from an infrared-heated studio class or just from being outside on a day so hot your clothes cling to your body, it's time to drink up. 

Even mild dehydration can mess with your mood, energy levels, concentration—and that's just for starters. But here's the thing: Chugging a half gallon of H2O isn't always the best way to rehydrate. (And let's be real—the average American drinks less than three cups of water a day!)

When you sweat, your body loses more than just water. And when you rehydrate, the body absorbs plain water very slowly. (This explains why drinking water quickly can cause you to feel bloated.) So if you're pushing yourself, or if dehydration has set in, you need fluids with a fast absorption rate. Water isn't enough. 

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What your body needs in this case is nutrients along with your H2O. A drink with a balance of carbohydrates in the form of sugars and electrolytes helps our bodies absorb fluids more quickly than pure water. But the key here is balance. Too much sugar, which is way too common among sports drinks, slows the absorption of water. On the other hand, a drink with a balanced ratio of sugar and electrolytes—like HALO Sport, a USDA-certified organic hydration drink that contains only 2 grams of natural sugars along with vital electrolytes—actually speeds up the absorption and rehydration process. 

We learned about the organic sports drink, which comes in four flavors like Pink Lemonade and Blood Orange, from experts like integrative medicine doctor and mbg Collective member Amy Shah, M.D., and celebrity dietitian Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D., CDN, who recommend it to their clients as a cleaner but non-boring way to keep hydration levels up. "It's very difficult to find a clean way to hydrate—aside from water, of course," says Glassman. "But HALO Sport has done it. What's really special is that it also has antioxidants and important minerals your body needs to function efficiently—and it tastes incredible."

We spoke with personal trainer and nutritionist Amy Rosoff Davis—who trains A-list celebs including Selena Gomez and Taylor Schilling—about why hydrating and rehydrating is an unskippable part of your workout and daily life, and what affects our fluid levels the most.  

What do most people misunderstand or get wrong about hydration?

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Most people don't realize how truly important hydration is for every system in your body to function properly. Having enough water and being hydrated increases cell function, circulates blood, flushes out toxins, helps carry oxygen and nutrients to cells, and can help you lose weight and increase your metabolism.

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Any foolproof ways to ensure you're staying hydrated?  

Drinking water consistently during the day, eating foods with high water content, and choosing beverages that aren't full of sugar or chemicals to help you hydrate are the best ways to quickly and efficiently rehydrate.  

I personally sip on water all day; eat lots of fruits, veggies, and soups; and drink HALO Sport for electrolytes, trace minerals, and antioxidant properties to properly hydrate. I love that it has only natural, not added, sugar just from lemon juice and a little bit of stevia. 

How do we know we're entering dehydration territory, especially in the summer when we tend to sweat more? 

First off, sweating is great for your body! It flushes out toxins and heavy metals and all the bad stuff your body wants to get rid of. Obviously, I'm a big fan of exercise—and infrared sweating! But, after you get rid of all the bad stuff, you have to replenish, and hydrate.

But the No. 1 sign you are dehydrated is if you are thirsty! You may feel sluggish and tired because your body can't carry out normal functions if you're dehydrated. If your pee is bright yellow, you are dehydrated. Watch out for these signs because dehydration is dangerous and can lead to UTIs and even kidney stones and chronic kidney disease. 

Also, watch your caffeine and alcohol intake—both are diuretics and are seen as a toxin in your body, so your body wants to flush them out. When you do, you also lose sodium, magnesium, and minerals that are needed for proper body functions. Thus, you're left dehydrated.  

All right, so sweating is good—but how does dehydration affect your workout? As a trainer, can you tell when someone you're training isn't properly hydrated? 

People who are dehydrated have way less energy and drive. I find they're usually sluggish and not as motivated as they are when properly hydrated. Also, oftentimes their skin isn't as clear, and their metabolism is sluggish.

Image by Halo Sport / Contributor

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When is it best to opt for an electrolyte drink vs. water? 

You must always stay hydrated—no matter how short or long your activity of choice is. It's essential for replenishing electrolytes and minerals that are lost during a workout. But a clean sports drink is a quicker and delicious way of getting vital electrolytes and antioxidants back into your system.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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