Staying hydrated and drinking enough water are crucial for your body to function properly and maintain good health in the long run. Regardless of whether you lead an active lifestyle, reside in a hot, dry, or humid region, or have experienced several unpleasant hangovers, chances are you’ve experienced dehydration at some point.
Consequently, you’re likely familiar with the unpleasant symptoms that come with it, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and dryness in the mouth.
Drinking water regularly throughout the day can prevent an unpleasant outcome, but is it feasible to consume excessive amounts of water daily? If you were to drink a gallon of water each day, what effects might it have on your body?
How much water should you have in a day?
Before diving into the potential advantages and consequences of drinking at least a gallon of water daily, it’s important to note the recommendation for daily water consumption to recognize how much might be too much for you.
According to the Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, men require approximately 15.5 cups of fluid per day (equivalent to 3.7 liters or almost one gallon), while women need about 11.5 cups of fluid (2.7 liters or three-quarters of a gallon).
This total comprises all liquids from beverages, water, and food. Food and drinks contribute roughly 20% of the daily fluid intake apart from water.
At the same time, these are just general suggestions. Truthfully, everyone’s daily water limit will ultimately differ based on a few key factors personal to the individual.
“The amount of water you need to drink over the course of the day is affected by your gender, age, weight, what your diet is comprised of, and how active you are—which can cause needs to vary a good deal,” the Nutrition Twins explain.
Considering this, it is difficult to determine the individual outcomes of consuming a gallon of water (equivalent to 4.5 liters) daily, including the potential advantages and drawbacks.
While the popular TikTok Water Gallon Challenge from last year may have encouraged you to increase your hydration routine or sparked your interest in the impacts of drinking more water, it is advisable to seek advice from your healthcare professional to determine the optimal amount of water required to meet your specific requirements before hastily consuming large amounts.
If your doctor approves of drinking one gallon of water every day, there are some effects you should be aware of as you continue to maintain this habit. Additionally, for further guidance on maintaining proper hydration, consider reading What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Lemon Water.
You may lose weight.
The Nutrition Twins suggest that when you begin consuming at least a gallon of water per day, you may notice a decrease in your appetite.
This occurs because our brains can sometimes confuse thirst with hunger, leading us to eat more food instead of drinking the water our bodies truly need when we are dehydrated. Consequently, inadequate hydration can cause us to consume additional calories and food.
Conversely, guzzling a gallon of water each day can help repress your urge to overeat and manage your cravings, enabling you to react accordingly when you genuinely feel thirsty versus hungry. This can then, in turn, result in weight loss.
“When you drink more and are properly hydrated, that hunger no longer exists, and you can shed pounds as you stop consuming extra calories that were a result of dehydration,” says the Nutrition Twins.
You may lose touch with your sense of hunger and satiety.
On the flipside, regularly drinking a gallon of water a day might also potentially blur your organic body cues and intuition when it comes to experiencing a genuine sense of fullness, even after eating a reasonably portioned meal.
“While drinking plenty of water can help you to prevent mistaking thirst for hunger,” the Nutrition Twins warn, “if you’re drinking a lot of water in an attempt to squash hunger for weight loss, and you’re constantly causing your stomach to feel distended, you may stretch your stomach and adjust to this feeling—and it will require more food to feel full.”
In other words, drinking a gallon of water a day does not give you the license to go off the rails with your other healthy dietary habits. Though resisting the urge to overeat can be challenging, maintaining a healthy awareness of your eating habits relative to your new drinking routine will be beneficial to your overall health.
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You may spend a lot of time running to the bathroom.
“Drinking a gallon of water each day may help mitigate constipation in addition to any related symptoms,” say the Twins. However, daily consumption of this much water could also lead to more frequent urination.
“When you drink too much, it can’t all just stay in your body—it has to make its way out. So, frequent bathroom trips are to be expected,” they say.
If you don’t want to spend a significant portion of your day looking for a restroom, it’s important to be cautious about when and where you consume water and not exceed the recommended amount.
Additionally, do you truly desire to frequently wake up during the night to use the bathroom or be the individual on road trips who needs to stop often to find a restroom? I doubt it.
It may make you aware that you need more electrolytes.
According to the Nutrition Twins, drinking a gallon of water every day may make it easier to recognize when you’re experiencing an electrolyte deficiency or that you need to add “a pinch of Celtic salt to your water.”
“If you’re drinking a lot of water and continue running to the bathroom when you don’t drink it with meals, it could mean that you don’t have enough electrolytes to absorb the water,” say the Twins. “So, it’s running right through you—literally.”
“Add electrolytes or a pinch of Celtic salt to your water and see if your trips to the bathroom decrease,” the Twins suggest.
You may become more regular—and less bloated, too.
If you’ve ever had constipation troubles, there are a few foods or beverages out there that can help you get things moving again at a healthy flow rate. However, another simple solution to overcoming that backed-up, bloated feeling so you can poop to your body’s content is to simply drink more water.
“Many people struggle with constipation and the bloat that comes with it simply because they don’t drink enough water. So their stool ends up being hard and difficult to pass,” says the Nutrition Twins.
“If you aren’t getting enough water and increase your consumption as you strive to drink a gallon of water, you’ll help to make the stool softer and easier to pass. And as you become more regular, the bloat that came with constipation will be relieved too.”
You may look younger.
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Evidently, any water fountain can essentially function as a mini Fountain of Youth. According to the Nutrition Twins, water carries nutrients to the skin that helps hydrate while simultaneously filling the spaces between cells.
“This helps to prevent dehydrated skin that can look sunken and weathered,” they say. “Staying hydrated also plumps up the cells making skin look more youthful.”
You may have more energy.
According to the Nutrition Twins, water’s natural properties are sufficient to keep you energized and sustained throughout the day, making caffeine from coffee or energy drinks unnecessary. They suggest that consuming a gallon of water can provide the necessary replenishment and revitalization.
The Nutrition Twins explain that water is responsible for transporting nutrients and oxygen to the brain and working muscles. When dehydration occurs, even in small amounts, tiredness results due to the impaired flow of oxygen to the brain.
Additionally, the heart has to work harder to distribute oxygen throughout the body, leading to exhaustion. Research has shown that mild dehydration, which accounts for 1/3 of body weight or 1.5-4.5 pounds in a 150-pound person, can cause fatigue with just a 1.6% loss of water.
You may have more difficulty digesting your food.
While proper hydration is essential to maintaining your overall health, those with digestive issues might want to think twice before drinking this much water daily.
“Although this likely only will be the case for some people who have digestive issues, drinking large amounts of water with meals is not a good idea as it dilutes digestive enzymes, and these people may have more issues digesting their food,” the Nutrition Twins advise.
You may experience nausea, fatigue, confusion, or headaches.
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Do these symptoms sound familiar? Perhaps you felt similar symptoms when a bit dehydrated. Interestingly enough, you’re also at risk of experiencing nausea, fatigue, confusion, and headaches when you have too much water. If you go overboard with how much water you consume each day, you can increase your chances of developing other serious health issues.
“When you get too much water, it dilutes the sodium in your body, which can lead to hyponatremia,” says the Nutrition Twins. “This can put you at risk for seizures, going into a coma, or even dying.”
You may prevent urinary tract infections.
For those who tend to be susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs), chugging tons of cranberry juice isn’t the only beverage-related tactic to help to avert discomfort. According to the Nutrition Twins, drinking lots of water can be a UTI deterrent.
“Water not only dilutes your urine, but it means that you’ll be urinating more frequently, which flushes bacteria away from the urinary tract, preventing infections,” says the Nutrition Twins. “One study showed the women who drank 1.5 liters of water daily had a 50% reduction in recurrent cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection.”
You may prevent kidney stones.
Kidney stones are painful, hard mineral deposits that can develop in your kidneys. This pain only further intensifies when your body attempts to “pass” them, expelling them via your urinary tract. However, the Nutrition Twins assert that water can help minimize your chances of possibly developing kidney stones.
“One of the best ways to prevent kidney stones is by drinking plenty of water to prevent the stone-forming crystals from sticking together,” says the Nutrition Twins. “Research has shown that for every 0.5-liter water increase, you can significantly reduce stone formation.”
You may have less joint pain.
While there are foods and drinks that can make joint pain worse, there are also things you can consume that may aid in alleviating these aches and keeping your joints healthy. Drinking water and staying hydrated is one recommended strategy that the Nutrition Twins claim can help your joints feel loose and limber.
“Being properly hydrated lubricates the joints, so you may move more easily and feel less pain and stiffness,” say the Nutrition Twins.
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In conclusion, making a habit of drinking a gallon of water daily can have profound effects on your body. From improved hydration and cognitive function to enhanced digestion and healthy skin, the benefits are extensive.
Proper hydration supports optimal bodily functions, boosts energy levels, aids in detoxification, and even contributes to weight management. By prioritizing adequate water intake, you can experience the transformative impact it has on your overall well-being.
So, raise a glass and embrace the positive effects of staying hydrated for a healthier and happier you.