Dehydration paranoia a thing?


By John DiTraglia - Contributing Columnist



The other day, thanks to the miracle of the modern hand-held TV channel changer, I was mindlessly watching 10 things at once when I saw an ad for Creative Roots soft drinks that said that up to one in two children is not hydrated enough, and it could be the reason why a kid isn’t acting like their self. During a science class, the Creative Roots team of fruits notices an underhydrated student and quickly springs into action. Soon a bottle of juice is launched and parachuted to the kid’s side so she can get back to focusing on her group science project. Creative Roots says its products can provide the juice flavors kids love with only one gram of sugar.

Whoa, that has got to be ridiculous – every other kid is dehydrated right now. As near as I can tell from ispot.tv this assertion stems from a study advertised at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/study-finds-inadequate-hydration-among-u-s-children that in turn references a report from 2015 that found that the prevalence of inadequate hydration was 54.5% in a sample of 4134 participants aged 6 to 19 years in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2009 to 2012. (1) They checked the first morning void of these kids and found that the concentration of the molecules that your body excretes in their urine was more than 800 mOsm/kg that is felt to be too high though still in the range of “normal.” In the public relations the authors from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School state, “Even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing quality of life and well-being for many, many children and youth.” and “Drinking enough water is essential for physiological processes such as circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, and waste removal. Although excessive dehydration is associated with serious health problems, even mild dehydration can cause issues, including headaches, irritability, poorer physical performance, and reduced cognitive functioning.”

I beg to differ that drinking a prescribed amount of water or sugar sweetened beverage (sugar is quickly metabolized so that essentially amounts to water) is something we should be proselytizing.

I also found out today from Peter Attia that there is a health guideline that says adults (of any size?) should drink 8 glasses of water that are 8 fluid ounces a day – the “8 x 8” rule. But I agree with Dr. Attia that this is silly. (2) In the absence of serious disease (vomiting, diarrhea, fever, out of control diabetes, heat stroke, rip roaring inebriation ….) just letting your thirst and the thirst of your child tell you when and exactly how much to drink.

And don’t forget that you can kill yourself by drinking too much water. Also, according to a study cited by Dr. Attia, the fastest marathon running finishers were the most dehydrated.

1. Kenney EL et al. Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2012. American Journal of Public Health, online June 11, 2015, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302572.

2. https://peterattiamd.com/do-i-really-need-8-glasses-of-water-a-day/

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By John DiTraglia

Contributing Columnist

This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper

John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- jditrag@zoomnet.net or phone-354-6605.

This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper

John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- jditrag@zoomnet.net or phone-354-6605.