Food and Nutrition

The Number One Thing You’re Getting Wrong About Hydration, According to a Water Sommelier and Dietitian

Photo: Getty Images / Ridofranz
The list of ailments that dehydration can cause seems neverending. Fatigue, headaches, immune health, and even your mood can all be impacted by less-than-stellar hydration levels. Although drinking water seems like the obvious answer to preventing dehydration in the first place, one popular TikToker is saying that most people are getting it wrong when it comes to hydration.

Martin Riese, a water sommelier and author, posted a video on TikTok all about "the perfect hydration" formula. Given that he is a water sommelier, it's safe to assume he knows what he's talking about…right? But the truth is, he's not a nutrition expert. Given that TikTok is not known as a fount of truth for wellness and nutrition information, we are fact-checking all of his hydration-related claims with a dietician.

The "perfect" formula for proper hydration

So what exactly does Riese say we're all getting wrong about hydration? "Perfect hydration means the consumption of water plus electrolytes," he explains. It's not exactly groundbreaking, but he goes on to explain how electrolytes are found in some, but not all, types of water.

Essentially, he says, the body needs electrolytes for water to bring nutrition into the cell, and it also needs to pull waste out of the cell. So he is not a fan of purified tap water (which is what you drink from a water filter or most bottled waters). Riese recommends spring water or mineral water since they have "way more electrolytes." He also says bottled water plus an apple is even better than water alone, because the apple contains electrolytes. So how does all of this check out with a certified dietician nutritionist?

First, a refresher on electrolytes, where to find them, and what they do in your body. "Electrolytes are minerals that help your body balance the amount of water inside and help move nutrients into your cells and wastes out of cells," says Francesca Alfano, a certified dietitian nutritionist. "[Electrolytes] are important for helping your body absorb fluids and are a key component of proper hydration," she adds.

You definitely need electrolytes to stay hydrated, so Riese has that right. But it also begs the question of whether you need to proactively add electrolytes to all the water you drink, especially if you don't always drink mineral or spring water. "It is not necessary to add electrolytes to all of your water," says Alfano. "Electrolytes can be found in many fruits and vegetables and are common in foods that many people eat daily, such as spinach, avocado, yogurt, and bananas," she explains. According to Alfano, if you are drinking enough water in general and eating a balanced diet, you're likely doing enough to maintain healthy electrolyte levels.

"Your body also does a great job of working to maintain electrolyte balance in the body," she says. In some cases—after a workout or prolonged heat exposure, or when you're sick—she notes that you may wish to add a sugar-free electrolyte drink. "I also recommend being mindful of how much you are sweating each day," she says. "If you are someone who sweats a lot, replenishing electrolytes is important." Other than that, though? Water should do the job just fine.

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