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Are We There Yet?  vol. 210 Thumbnail

Are We There Yet? vol. 210

I was listening to the program 1A on NPR the other day, and the topic was hydration. Initially, I didn’t think it could hold my interest, but it was much more interesting than anticipated. Many people believe that we need 64 ounces of water each day to maintain our hydration. In the 1940s, the National Research Council did a study that showed that, on average, we lose about 64 ounces of water a day from our regular daily activities, which is where that belief arose. However, if you read just a bit further, the research stated that we replace up to half of the water we lose through our regular diet, so we don’t really need to be replacing 64 ounces.

One of the guests, Dr. Tamara Hew-Butler, told a story from 2000 where she was working in the medical tent at the Houston Marathon. “Runners were going down left and right, and it was a hot day. So, everybody thought that they were dehydrated.” The medical staff kept pushing IVs and water on these runners, and several ended up in comas, not from dehydration but from overhydration. There is a condition called hypernatremia in which your blood salt becomes too diluted.  The doctors noted that they see many more cases of overhydration than dehydration.

These days, you would be hard-pressed to find a person under 30 who isn’t carrying a water bottle. Some bottles are so large, I imagine that the owner will eventually need physical therapy from lugging around all that weight. We all see apps to track steps, activity, sleep, etc. in an attempt to maintain good health, and our obsession with hydration is no different. The water bottle allows the owner to track their hydration over the course of a day and easily keep track of a goal.

The water bottle industry has blossomed where a perceived need (hydration) and the mechanism to track progress (water bottles) come together. It’s estimated that the water bottle market exceeds $8 billion annually. Water bottles are now even a fashion statement for some. My kids are constantly replacing perfectly fine water bottles.

The great philosopher Plato wrote that “Our need will be the real creator.” It’s debatable whether we really need so many water bottles, but if a big, designer water bottle helps people feel more healthy, it’s not such a bad outcome.

Take care and stay safe.


Twenty Days in Mariupol (Prime Video)

The award-winning film from the last international journalists inside the Russian siege of Mariupol. An extraordinary account, seen through the lens of the AP’s Mstyslav Chernov and two colleagues documenting the atrocities and their own escape.