The Pros and Cons of Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day for 30 Days
As far as drinks go, water has always managed to be on top. It is the healthiest, most reliable, and most easily accessible beverage in many parts of the world.
Many people have theorized that drinking the right amount of water can not only keep your body healthy, but provide surprising benefits to your skin, appearance, and overall energy. But is that true? Can a simple glass of water do that much?
Enough people curious about that question devised a way to see for themselves.
Through an online sensation entitled, the 30 day water challenge, people across the nation gave water a true chance to see what it could do.
So why are we even talking about this? It's not like water can hurt us.
Actually, it can. Just like there are many harmful side effects to drinking too many sugary drinks or indulging in too much alcohol, your body can be put into unhealthy situations due to too much water.
Which is exactly why we are here to uncover the truth of just what's going on with the 30 Day Water Challenge. Is it helpful? Is it hurtful? Let's find out!
So What Is the 30 Day Water Challenge?
Alright, here's the deal. The 30 day water challenge only has two simple rules that you must follow for 30 days: you cannot drink any juice, soda, coffee, or alcohol and you must consume an entire gallon of water per day.
By cutting out all those sweetened beverages full of sugar, caffeine, and the like, you are left only being able to drink water. Which should be no problem, right? Water's so healthy; it should be able to go down easily.
Wrong. Getting through an entire gallon of water a day can feel like a never-ending marathon for some people. They want the rewards for sticking it out, but can't seem to get down all that water.
Which is why it can be helpful to understand a bit more of the details behind this popularized challenge.
What Can Water Do?
We're sure that you are aware of the fact that water has often been acclaimed to be the drink of choice recommended by doctors and nutritionists around the globe.
But did you know that a lot of common health problems can be solved just by drinking a bit more water? Things, like losing weight, alleviating headaches, and feeling more awake, can all be achieved through drinking a cool glass of water.
Which all sounds great! Nobody wants to suffer from headaches, and tons of people would love to shed a pound or two, but what is water really doing when it enters your body?
To put it simply, your body needs water to survive. Hydration is very important, and becoming dehydrated can lead to some potentially fatal outcomes.
Your body instinctively knows this and anticipates the prospect of dehydration quite regularly. Although it does take quite a bit of time for the thirst process to happen, your body sends out warning signals to you that you might experience dehydration, thus making you feel thirsty.
Once you begin to drink water to quench that thirst, you begin to feel something called anticipatory reflex, which is that satisfying feeling you get after satisfying your thirst.
You often feel this sensation quite quickly thanks to your taste buds. They fire off signals to your brain, letting it know that water is on its way, which in turn signals that satisfying feeling.
What's crazy is that it actually take quite a bit of time for the water you drink to fill up your organs and cells. So why do you feel so satisfied so quickly?
Much like how your taste buds signal the fact that water is coming, your brain signals you to feel as though you've had enough to drink. By doing this, your brain is preventing you from over drinking or putting too much water in your body to handle.
That way, your body can fill up its cells far faster than if it was dealing with a flood of water. Your body then feels satisfied itself, and you are able to continue with your day until that thirst returns.
Your Body, Your Rules: Water Consumption
Your body craves water to survive. Great. But how much water does it really need to feel healthy and happy?
The amount of water you should drink per day often varies depending on your size, weight, level of activity, and your environment. For example, a large athlete living in a warm environment will need to consume more water than a smaller accountant who does not exercise and lives in a cooler climate.
The general rule of thumb for adults is to consume about eight 8-ounce glasses of water or about 2-liters, per day. However, if you want something a bit more accurate to you, you can do a bit of math to figure out your total water needs.
To determine your own personal water intake, you'll have to take into consideration your weight, your activity level, and your climate. Adults should try to drink between half an ounce to a whole ounce of water per pound you weigh per day.
For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking somewhere between 100-ounces and 200-ounces of water per day. How do you determine whether to lie closer to the half an ounce to a whole ounce?
Think about what you do on a normal day. If you are sweating a lot or actively on the move, due to your job, working out, or your environment, you likely want to be closer to 1-ounce. If not, staying closer to the .5-ounce is probably more than fine.
Give Me Those Sweet, Sweet Rewards
Icons from Flaticon
Are Sweets Controlling Our Lives?
Water is great, but sugar is often where it's at. That sweet taste of your favorite soda can often put a smile on our face. So what's the big deal if we indulge from time to time?
When drank in moderation, sugary sodas, juices, and coffees will not cause us much harm. They cannot offer the same types of benefits that water can, which often means that by cutting them out of your regular diet, you can begin to feel healthier.
All those benefits from above, like having healthier skin, finding more energy, and burning more calories, all come from cutting out the sugars in your life.
The daily limit of sugar is supposed to be between six to nine teaspoons per day. The average American actually consumes about 17 teaspoons per day, doubling the recommended amount.
This has become a major problem in our bodies, which unfortunately has lead to some serious side effects.
How Can Something So Sweet Be So Scary?
Overindulging in sugar can cause major havoc on your body. While it may taste sweet in your mouth, once it gets inside your bloodstream, it can turn evil.
It's important to understand just what sugar can do to you when you begin to eat too much of it. Here are just five of the scary consequences of consuming too much sugar.
Sky Rocketing Cholesterol
It is incredibly important to maintain good levels of cholesterol in order to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Excess sugar intake leads to higher levels of triglycerides, which is a fat found in the blood. This then leads to lower levels of HDL, which is the good cholesterol you want.
This unbalance can lead to heart diseases and potentially death if it is not managed properly.
Weight-Gain and Diabetes
An important thing to note is that eating sugar will not directly cause type 1 diabetes as many people assume. It can, however, indirectly cause diabetes.
Eating an excess amount of sugar will cause you to gain weight. If you keep eating sugar anyway, you could potentially gain enough weight to be considered obese.
Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, meaning that by consuming all that sugar, you may have indirectly given yourself diabetes.
Sugar also can worsen the symptoms for those suffering from diabetes since the disease makes it difficult for your body to control its blood sugar levels.
You Can Become an Addict
When we think of the word addict, we often think of things like drugs and alcohol. However, sugar holds a lot of the same addictive qualities as those types of substances.
Surprisingly, the addictive properties of sugar have often been compared to that of cocaine. When you often eat it in excess, you begin to crave it, losing control when you have it, and constantly desiring more.
While sugar itself does not create an actual addiction, when consumed, your body sees it as a type of reward. It feeds your cells and tastes good, making you want to eat more.
This cycle will then continue, often leaving people with headaches or mild amounts of pain when their sugar intakes are not fulfilled.
Sugar = Alcohol?
To your liver, those two items can often feel like the same thing. Consuming an excess amount of sugar can often lead to the same sorts of liver toxicity that alcohol creates.
It will take larger amounts of sugar to create negative impacts on the liver in the same way alcohol does, but it can happen. Negatively damaging your liver can lead to irreversible impacts later on in your life.
As if all that wasn't enough, you can also have a higher risk for a number of other diseases thanks to an unnatural level of sugar intake. Two of the biggest diseases on that list are cancer and heart disease.
Again, like diabetes, it is important to note that sugar intake will not inherently cause these diseases. Sugar is often an indirect link to both of these potential diseases.
It is believed that by consuming too much sugar, you can unintentionally trigger the release of a harmful protein in your body. This protein can then impact your cell's overall vulnerability to cancer.
A scientific study that spanned over 15 years found that those who consumed an excess amount of sugar, with approximately 25% of their calorie intake being sugar, were twice as likely to die from heart disease. This is a staggering difference, more than doubling your chances for heart disease because of sugar.
Water's Not Addictive…Right?
Well geez, sugar sure can be scary. Who would have thought it would be so addictive. Thank goodness water isn't like that. Right?
Ever heard of a term called psychogenic polydipsia? This is a term used to describe someone who drinks excessive amounts of water without the physiologic stimulus to begin drinking. Basically, they're addicted to water.
While we no know that the general rule for drinking water is eight 8-ounce glasses, roughly 2-liters, these people can drink anywhere from 3-liters to 25-liters per day.
They have come to the point where if they do not consume that level of water, they will begin to experience headaches, mood swings, feelings of dehydration, and a lack of control of being able to not drink.
While it is extremely uncommon, yes, you can become addicted to water.
The Dark Side of Water
Even though we know water can be good for us and help us become healthier individuals, it's just as possible to overindulge in water as it is sugar.
Drinking too much water can lead to something called hyponatremia. This means that the sodium in your blood is overfilled with water, making it diluted.
In small cases, which often begin with water intoxication, you may just notice some nausea, bloating, or a headache, which can often be confused with dehydration. If things get to the extreme, hyponatremia can set in and can lead to organ failure, seizures, and be potentially fatal.
This can be a scary prospect that nobody wants to deal with. To help prevent those sorts of occurrences in your body, here are a few key warning signs that you may either be drinking too much water or are experiencing water intoxication:
Water Cure? More Like Watered Down Lies
Although it has been quite some time since the original theory came out, many people today still talk about the water cure. This theory was created by Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, more commonly known as Dr. Batman.
After being able to cure a number of prisoners by simply giving them water, Dr. Batman theorized that some diseases could be prevented simply by staying hydrated. He later amended his statements to say that it should be salt water in order to provide minerals into your diet.
According to Dr. Batman, the water cure can:
As much as we'd like to believe that these ideas are true, they simply are not.
Dr. Batman claimed to have done extensive research to come to the conclusion of these findings but truthfully did hardly anything. All he really ended up doing is speculating what he believed to be true.
He never conducted a formal study, never tested the difference between salt water and plain water to see its effects, and never tried to gather a group of patients suffering from ailments to see what and how it would cure different things.
Which is why he had to publish his theories in a journal he created himself. No reputable scientific journal would publish something without accurate details of research and findings.
Even though his findings were continuously proven to be false by other scientists in the field, many people did, and still do, believe in his words. But why?
Why would so many people believe in the things that he's said if it's proven to be false? Because they have seen results themselves.
Like we mentioned earlier on, there are a lot of great benefits to consuming water in your daily life. You can feel more awake, more energized, reduce the feelings of headaches, and even lose a few pounds in the process.
People see that some of what he theorized can happen to them and believe it can do everything else as well.
Don't be fooled. While we encourage you to drink water and stay hydrated as much as you can, the water cure is not real. It will not prevent or heal things like terminal cancer, bronchitis, diabetes, leukemia, or fibromyalgia. It will improve your health, but not cure diseases.
Show Me Those Results!
But if this 30 day water challenge got viral somehow, right? So why has it become such a likable trend that thousands are getting involved in?
The truth is, many people have actually seen noticeable results in their appearance, mood, and energy levels thanks to the challenge.
While it is not required, many people take a photo of themselves on both day one and day thirty to see how they progress. In many instances, like in the video above, you can actually see people's skin look brighter, more hydrated, and their eyes appear to have more energy to tackle the day.
While this may not have been able to cure them of any and all ailments, as the water cure suggests, it is able to help improve their hydration levels, making their body healthier.
This level of healthiness is why so many people have followed the trend and taken part in this challenge. Considering the other types of viral trends, this one is pretty tame in comparison.
It is still unclear whether this will yield results for all individuals, as many have reported little to no difference in their overall healthiness, but it can certainly encourage those who have abandoned water to pick it up once more.
Should You Do It?
The 30 day water challenge. Should you or shouldn't you?
Ultimately, the amount of water your body needs will depend on who you are. Creating one massive rule that everyone should drink a gallon of water a day can be potentially dangerous for some people, especially if they have a low level of activity and have a smaller frame.
We don't think the 30 day water challenge should be attempted, but we do think you should take the ideas of the challenge and apply them to your life.
Drinking a sufficient amount of water is key to your overall health. Take a bit of time to figure out the right amount of water for your body and aim to reach that amount every single day.
There are a ton of great benefits to filling up on water that you do not want to miss out on, but just like overindulging in sugar, too much water can cause some serious health problems.
Follow the trend's spirit, yet keep yourself safe by limiting the amount of water to what your body wants. At the end of the day, your body's health is far more important than some viral trend.
So know your limits, understand your body, and most importantly, stay hydrated.