Advanced search

Drink when you're thirsty - what's the problem?

(81 Posts)
AuldWan Mon 17-Aug-20 18:10:48

There have been a few threads lately about water, not drinking enough, dehydration etc. But for thousands of years humans have got by perfectly well by drinking when they are thirsty. Thirst is an extremely sophisticated human sense - of course in a tiny minority of people it can go wrong, but for the vast majority of humans it works perfectly. It doesn't even have to be water - just fluid, and it can also come from food.
This is the current scientific consensus as I understand it - the idea that drinking x litres of water daily is good for us to de tox, keep our skin good, give us energy etc has no scientific basis and is essentially just made up non-science.
For example read this:
I mean - drink however much water you want - but humans only really need to drink if they actually feel thirsty. So lots on a hot day, on a cold wet day, not so much. Not complicated.

OP’s posts: |
CaptainMyCaptain Mon 17-Aug-20 18:15:29

I agree with you. I am baffled by the need to walk around with a bottle of water in a country that is rarely hot.

DPotter Mon 17-Aug-20 18:16:50

By the time the body recognises its thirsty AND you react to the thirst, you're already dehydrated - that's the advice we had in Aus.

steppemum Mon 17-Aug-20 18:19:44

The whole 'drink 3 litres of water per day' makes me laugh.

It is based on a complete misreading of some science. It is highlighted in the book 'bad science' (which is an excellent read)

The original scientific study analysed how much liquid the average human needed per day. That was all liquid in any form, soup, gravy, milk on your cereal etc etc. That figure was then taken and made into You must drink 3 litres of water per day.
Your stomach/intestine absorbs water out of your food, by osmosis. So it doesn't matter if the liquid arrives as coffee or water.

NerrSnerr Mon 17-Aug-20 18:20:08

My 5 year old didn't read that memo unfortunately. We have to be on at her to drink water every day, and if we don't by bedtime she complains it hurts when she wees. It's a constant battle. We have to make her drink a good amount before school because her water bottle comes back full most days.

I always have a drink near me as I often feel thirsty and her 3 year old brother drinks more than enough. She just says she doesn't feel thirsty.

DeeTractor Mon 17-Aug-20 18:21:27

Here come all the posts about people "guzzling water"...

FinnyStory Mon 17-Aug-20 18:22:02

I suspect this is "science" funded by the bottled water companies, just like the healthy low fat diet research was funded by the sugar industry, you need milk for calcium was funded by the dairy industry and Avocados are essential for health was funded by guess who?

TheMumblesofMumbledom Mon 17-Aug-20 18:26:05

If I wait until I'm thirsty then I'll already be getting a headache, so I drink little and very often.

If I want to go around guzzling from my huge sports bottle then I will.

Drivingdownthe101 Mon 17-Aug-20 18:26:23

I don’t really notice thirst, I have to remind myself to drink. I can often get to the end of the day only having had a cup of coffee and all of a sudden I feel lightheaded.
One of my DD’s seems to be the same.
I don’t get why people have an issue with others carrying water around with them though... I couldn’t care less what others drink/don’t drink 🤷🏻‍♀️

Clumsyduck Mon 17-Aug-20 18:28:18

Got to be honest I don’t really get thirsty unless it’s boiling / I excersise / I’m hungover

It’s always been this way so don’t think I’m about to drop dead Of some strange illness or anything .

I started drinking 2plus liters Of water a day at the start of the year to help improve my skin - which it has massively . Also don’t get mid afternoon headaches and feel generally better off for it

Cantfindaholiday Mon 17-Aug-20 18:34:19

Dpotter - I don't think there's any evidence for that though?

Bobbiepin Mon 17-Aug-20 18:37:40

When I'm at work I have a 750ml bottle of water with me at all times. I'm always talking in my job so get a dry throat a lot and constantly moving around. I would drink at least 3L on a work day but less at home. Lots of people confuse thirst with hunger too, so having a bottle around and stopping thirst before it occurs is a good way of managing weight.

heartsonacake Mon 17-Aug-20 18:55:40

If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

So you should never wait until you’re thirsty to drink or follow any guidance that says “drink when you’re thirsty”.

Cantfindaholiday Mon 17-Aug-20 19:00:50

Heartsonacake - but I can't find any evidence for this?

Drivingdownthe101 Mon 17-Aug-20 19:03:34


Heartsonacake - but I can't find any evidence for this?

But what does it matter? If people want to carry around a drink so they don’t feel thirsty, why does that cause anyone else any harm?
I drink far too little, always have. I have fairly constant headaches. If people remember to drink more often, and that involves carrying water around with them... far play to them.

Drivingdownthe101 Mon 17-Aug-20 19:03:43


UntilYourNextHairBrainedScheme Mon 17-Aug-20 19:06:40

It depends. Some people, especially but not only children and elderly people, manage to get very dehydrated and consequently develop UTIs, constipation and confusion, headaches and more if not reminded/ consciously reminding themselves to drink.

Cantfindaholiday Mon 17-Aug-20 19:07:03

Drivingdownthe101 - I don't mind if people carry water with them, that's up to them. I just don't like it when people say that you should do something (e.g. drink more water) without any evidence to back it up.

UntilYourNextHairBrainedScheme Mon 17-Aug-20 19:13:43

Also of course sometimes some people don't eat much (also applies very often but not only to children and elderly people) so are not getting liquid from food. It's perfectly reasonable to eat more some days than others, but if you're not eating much you certainly can't not drink much too and stay well.

heartsonacake Mon 17-Aug-20 19:15:46


Heartsonacake - but I can't find any evidence for this?

A quick google brings up lots of information:

“The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even before you begin your outdoor activity,” said Dr. Irvin Sulapas, a primary care sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor.

Another one here:

RedCatBlueCat Mon 17-Aug-20 19:18:14

I dont feel thirsty.
I "remember" to drink with breakfast, lunch and dinner. I rarely drink outside those times, and would only realise that perhaps a meal time drink had been missed when I go to the toilet at bedtime. Routine is the only way to get fluid into me - and yes, this still applied when I lived somewhere that got to 25C mid afternoon in the winter, and nearly twice that in the summer.

Cantfindaholiday Mon 17-Aug-20 19:21:39

What about

GinWithASplashOfTonic Mon 17-Aug-20 19:23:15

I know I drink enough water

But it's such a faff to lug a water bottle around. The bottle is too big for my handbag and it's a another thing to carry. I am conscious of plastic waste so spend ££ on a flask. Which I then leave at work, on the train in the car whatever.

Drivingdownthe101 Mon 17-Aug-20 19:23:30


Drivingdownthe101 - I don't mind if people carry water with them, that's up to them. I just don't like it when people say that you should do something (e.g. drink more water) without any evidence to back it up.

It entirely depends how much water you already drink as to whether you should drink more water. And you’re always free to disregard the advice of others based on your own research.

Cantfindaholiday Mon 17-Aug-20 19:24:49

And here: Doesn't it make more sense that humans have evolved to know when they need to drink as it is such a basic survival instinct?

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in