- A claim that Chris Pratt drinks an ounce of water per pound of his body weight has sparked concern from health experts.
- Water intoxication due to excess water consumption can lead to dangerously low blood levels of sodium known as hyponatremia.
- Hyponatremia can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, and in extreme cases, can be life-threatening
- How much water you should drink in a day is highly individual but the color of your urine can give a good indication of how hydrated you are.
The health benefits of drinking water are well documented, but more isn’t always better.
A Vanity Fair article sharing details of Chris Pratt’s intense fitness and nutrition routine sparked concern recently due to the alarming amount of water the actor was said to drink daily.
The publication originally reported that Chris Pratt drinks 200 cups of water a day. However, they later amended the article, explaining that Pratt actually drinks around an ounce of water per pound of his body weight – and was advised to do so by a nutritionist.
Given that Pratt weighs over 200lbs, that’s more than 5.6 liters of water a day. Some experts say this is a dangerous amount and could result in water poisoning.
Water poisoning, or water intoxication as it’s also known, became a talking point over the summer when many people ended up with the unpleasant condition after trying the 75 Hard TikTok challenge.
As well as encouraging people to develop other somewhat extreme health and fitness habits, the trend involves drinking 3.7 liters a day – an amount that could make you sick.
Drinking water is shown to aid weight loss, increase physical energy levels, and enhance brain function, but it turns out you can be too hydrated.
Bari Stricoff, a registered dietitian at WellEasy, says she’s “taken aback” by the claims that Pratt is chugging more than 5.6 liters of water a day.
“It’s a significant amount of water, even for someone who is active and weighs over 200 pounds,” she says. “Drinking based on the ‘one ounce per pound’ formula might work for some but it’s not typically advisable and can be quite dangerous.”
Drinking too much water can lead to a dangerous condition known as hyponatremia. Essentially, hyponatremia is an imbalance where there’s an abnormally low concentration of sodium in the blood.
Stricoff says this is dangerous because sodium is an essential electrolyte that plays a pivotal role in maintaining fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions.
“Sodium helps to regulate the amount of fluid inside and outside of our cells, and when sodium levels in the blood become dangerously low, water moves from the blood into our cells to try and balance out the concentration. This influx causes cells to swell,” she explains.
When your cells swell, you can experience many unpleasant – and in some cases – life-threatening side effects. These include:
If you were to continue drinking excessive amounts of water in the long term, chronic hyponatremia is a risk.
“Over time, consistently low sodium levels can have detrimental effects,” Stricoff warns. “These include neurological issues such as persistent headaches, cognitive disturbances, and in severe cases, neurological damage.”
According to Jane Hutton, nutritionist at The Functional Foodie, making a habit of drinking too much water can also put a strain on your kidneys and accelerate a decline in kidney function over time.
“Excessive fluid intake can go beyond needing the bathroom, impacting fluid concentrations within the body and cells and electrolyte ratios and placing extra pressure on the kidneys,” she notes.
“If we are drinking more than our kidneys can deal with, the excess has to go somewhere and it will be distributed into the tissues and intracellular fluids, and into cells, diluting the electrolytes and throwing off how we function.”
You’ve likely heard that you should drink eight glasses or two liters of water a day. In reality, there is no hard and fast rule as to how much water you should drink every day. It’s actually highly individual and depends, in part, on your lifestyle.
Looking at Pratt’s water drinking habits specifically, Stricoff says when deciding how much fluid you need a day, you must consider the broader context of your life.
“The intensity and duration of Pratt’s workouts, his possible use of recovery methods like saunas, and even environmental factors like heat can all impact hydration needs. For example, if he was residing in a hot environment or it was summertime, higher water intake would be more justifiable,” she notes.
Still, 5.6 liters or more a day is an excessive amount for most people. Given the variability in individual needs, Stricoff says a more tailored approach is best.
You’ll need to consider factors like your body composition. “Larger individuals or those with more muscle mass typically require more fluids than smaller individuals or those with a higher fat percentage,” Stricoff points out.
Being physically active and living in hot, humid conditions may also mean you need to drink more to feel hydrated, while certain health conditions, like diabetes, can also increase thirst.
One of the biggest factors influencing your level of hydration is your diet.
“Diet and other general habits tend to govern what we drink. For example, if you eat fresh fruit and veg, water is a component of those which counts towards your intake,” Hutton explains.
On the flip side, if you eat a lot of spicy or salty foods you might find you’re more thirsty.
Deciding how much water you need to drink a day involves some trial and error and it’s not always easy to tell if you’ve had too much or too little.
“The color of your urine is the best indicator,” says Hutton. “A straw-like color is about right. Too pale, and you’re drinking too much. Too dark, and you probably need to drink a little more.”
“Remember, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so it’s best to try to have a drink with each meal or snack, and maybe a medium bottle of water to sip throughout the day,” she adds.
How often you need to urinate can also tell you a lot about how hydrated you really are.
“On average, a well-hydrated individual might urinate every 3-4 hours. If it’s less frequent and in smaller amounts, it could signal dehydration,” Stricoff says.
Conversely, if one finds themselves urinating every hour or even more frequently this could be a sign that you’ve taken things to the extreme.
Ultimately, hydration is a key factor in staying healthy, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
One of the best indicators of your hydration levels lies in how you feel.
“You should feel calm, energetic, and clear-headed, not constantly rushing to the loo,” Hutton surmises.
So, the age-old adage of everything in moderation still rings true — even for something seemingly as harmless as drinking water.