The headlines were abuzz this week with news that Tom Brady drinks 2.5 gallons of water each day.
Brady’s new book, The TB12 Method, comes out soon, listing the New England Patriots quarterback’s guiding principles on diet, exercise and hydration.
Writes the five-time Super Bowl Champion: “TB12 is simple: Drink at least one-half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. That’s the minimum. Ideally, you’ll drink more than that, and with added electrolytes, too. This makes sense, considering the composition of our bodies.”
That means for the 225-pound Brady, he’d be drinking 112 ounces a day — minimum. But Brady adds that when he’s working out hard, he’ll drink up to 300 ounces of water. That’s two-and-a-half gallons of water. That’s nearly 19 bottles of water at 16 ounces per. That’s more than 37 standard eight-ounce glasses of water.
That’s a lot of @#$%&* water.
It didn’t take long for people who know about this sort of stuff — you know, like, doctors and clinical dieticians and even “hydration experts” — to weigh in.
Dr. Mark L. Zeidel, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told The Boston Globe that drinking that much water could be highly dangerous.
“You can take in more water than your kidneys can get rid of, and if that happens, your blood chemistries will go down,” he said. “If you change that number, your brain cells start swelling and shrinking and it can cause permanent brain damage.”
Still, some doctors said that in the heat of the summer — working out hard, pouring sweat — there may be times when that much water would be beneficial.
“Hydration expert” J. Luke Pryor, director of elite athlete performance at Central California Sports Sciences Institute, told Men’s Health that he could envision a scenario in which that much water was necessary.
“When you’re in preseason football, and it’s hot outside, you have your equipment on, and you’re out there for up to four hours once or twice a day, and you’re sweating a lot, you’re losing a lot of water and need to replace that water to maintain health, safety, and performance,” he said. “Drinking upwards of 200 ounces a day would be fine if the temperature, humidity, and solar radiation are really high. So, 25 cups wouldn’t be outlandish in a situation like that.”
But the question still remains: How much water should you and I drink?
In yet another article, this one in Men’s Journal, the author writes “You’re Probably Drinking Too Much Water.”
For years we were told to drink eight glasses of water a day. That recommendation just isn’t right. It originated from a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board paper that said humans require roughly 2.5 liters per day, but the paper also noted we get most of the fluid we need from food and other beverages (fruits, veggies, soup, juice, even beer — all loaded with water). Yet for some reason, the second half of that message got glossed over, while the “drink more water” part became emblazoned in people’s minds. As a result, experts now fear we’ve become so focused on staying hydrated that we’re guzzling water to life-threatening extremes.
And this article quotes Dr. Mitchell Rosner, a kidney specialist at the University of Virginia, who offers THE definitive answer on how much water to drink.
The prescription is actually pretty simple: Drink when you’re thirsty. “Thirst is the body’s physiological cue that you need more fluids,” Rosner says. “Listen to it.”
So, there you have it. Simple. Drink when you’re thirsty.
Also, disregard Brady’s other ridiculous assertion, that drinking lots of water can prevent sunburns. Cuz’ uh, it can’t.