Talking about a recent episode of the Radio 4 show Inside health, resident GP Dr Margaret McCartney, said she had been ‘driven to the wall’ by NHS urine color charts which encourage patients to match their pee color to shades in the color chart (which range from white to mahogany). The charts read “One to three, healthy pee (light colors), four to eight, must hydrate (dark colors)”, which Dr. McCartney describes as “complete nonsense”.
“There’s this assumption that if you don’t drink the required amount, something is going to go horribly wrong…we should all be living our best lives, but it has to be done in an evidence-based way.”
Professor Neil Turner, a kidney specialist at the University of Edinburgh agrees with Dr McCartney. “Contrary to many opinions you read everywhere, you should drink the amount you think you need. The body is very good at determining how much water you need and telling you so by making you thirsty,” a- he said on the show.
You don’t have to drink eight glasses of water, he says: “I’m a really big tea drinker and I barely drink water,” he admitted – which isn’t maybe not what you expect from a kidney. expert. He says your daily fluids can come from anything, including tea, coffee “and even the occasional beer.” It’s about drinking down to the volume you feel comfortable with.
The only people who don’t drink enough, Turner says, are people who are sick or disabled to the point that they physically can’t reach a glass of water.
So what about the color of urine? This seems to be the go-to advice from doctors when it comes to hydration and health. Is dark urine “bad”, light “good”? “Not really,” Turner said. “If your urine is dark, it shows that the kidney is doing its job to keep the water inside you and if you continue not to drink you will start to feel thirsty – and that’s what the kidney is doing. . It tries to keep a calm state in the body and it works with your sense of thirst to control things.
When it comes to counting glasses, Turner says the only people who really need to monitor how much they’re drinking are those who live with things like urinary tract infections or kidney stones — conditions that benefit from increased fluid intake. .
Turner goes so far as to suggest that this obsession with hydration has been promoted by companies that manufacture water bottles and ship water around the world. “It’s very bad for the world and it doesn’t do us any good. It is very unusual for us to see healthy people come in because they are dehydrated.
The conclusion? Just drink if you’re thirsty or because you want a bev. If you’re tired and think a glass of water will refresh you, go for it. If you fancy a diet coke or a cup of tea, have one. But don’t force yourself to drink more fluids because you saw an infographic on Instagram or a wellness influencer said that drinking more water is the key to good health.