Posted by: Racheyroo | 2007/07/10

Too Much Water?

I run 21 miles a week and I work out for an hour everyday. I am about 3% body fat and I weigh in between 130-134. I always have a whey protien shake in the morning for breakfast along with 6oz. of light, fat-free yogurt, and 1/2 cup of wight watchers bran cereal. After I run, I eat an apple and I drink 1-2 liters of water. For lunch I have 1 small chicken breast and a full plate of steamed broccoli. I then drink about 2-3 more liters of water. I eat broccoli and salad throughout the rest of the day and before I go to bed I have another protien shake and maybe some more broccoli. I do have about 1 medium ice cream cone a day [well. almost everyday and I only allow myself to have one "naughty" day a week]. I drink 1-2 gallons a day. Is that ok?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Racheyroo
You may well be ingesting too much water. In general adults require 2.5 litres a day of liquid (this includes all liquids that you drink - tea, coffee, cold drinks, beer, fruit juice, milk, etc). You are ingesting 5 litres of water a day, so despite the fact that you are very active, this does seem excessive. When one drinks too much liquid (water or any of the other liquids mendtioned above) it dilutes the so-called electrolyte balance of the body, namely the balance of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium which can lead to serious problems and impair your athletic performance. According to Prof Tim Noakes, the leading expert on sports nutrition in SA, athletes should 'drink to the dictates of their thirst' and not 'go overboard' when it comes to drinking during and after exercise to prevent electrolyte imbalances that can even be fatal in extreme cases. Rather pace your water intake according to your body requirements as indicated by thirst. You present diet is also not ideal for an active sportsman because it contains far too little carbohydrate. I think it would be a good idea for you to consult a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area), so that she/he can assess your present intake and devise a more balanced diet to support your active lifestyle.
Best regards

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