MacroDiet ~ Navigation Menu
George Ohsawa, in his "Zen
Macrobiotics," published in 1960
"Learning to drink
less is very much more difficult than learning to eat wisely and simply. But,
it is very necessary. Seventy-five per cent of our body weight is made up of
water. Cooked rice, for example, contains sixty to seventy per cent water;
vegetables contain eighty to ninety per cent. Thus, we almost invariably take
in too much liquid (yin).
accelerate the macrobiotic cure, you had better drink less . . . enough less so
that during a twenty-four hour period you urinate only twice [or thrice] if you
are female or three [or four] times if you are
drink-as-much-as-you-can system is a simpleminded invention because the
originator of such a theory completely ignored the marvelous mechanism of
kidney metabolism. He erred in conceiving the kidney to be similar in structure
and function to a mechanical sewage system. Large quantities of liquid will
flush out and clear a clay or cast iron pipe. The kidney, however, is not a
cast iron pipe. It contains tissue that must be flexible and porous so that the
processes of filtration, diffusion, and reabsorption can take
"If liquid is taken in
large quantities, the minute openings in the semi-permeable kidney tissue
decrease in size (these openings are surrounded by tissue that is sponge-like,
that soaks up liquid and swells) and little or no liquid can pass through. For
all practical purposes, the kidneys are locked. The net result is a complete
reversal of what the drink-as-much-as-you-can system
"Help your tired,
overworked kidneys: Drink less."
Drink Wisely During Exercise, Athletes Warned
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD on Thursday, July
July 17, 2003 -- Forget that advice to drink all you can
before, during, and after exercise.
For water and for sports drinks, the
new message is to drink wisely. Too many fluids are at least as dangerous as
too few. But even though the USA Track & Field association changed its
guidelines in April, the word hasn't reached everyone.
Most people still
think you're supposed to drink as much as you can. But that advice is dead
wrong, says Timothy David Noakes, MD, PhD, chairman of exercise and sports
science at the University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of
South Africa. An authority on endurance sports, Noakes advises South Africa's
national rugby and cricket teams. He's the author of Lore of Running, for years
a bible to many serious runners.
"People have been coached to think that
dehydration is the worst thing that can happen during exercise, so now you have
a dangerous situation," Noakes tells WebMD. "A woman only needs to put on 2.5
kg of fluid to kill herself. It adds up real quickly -- it is easy to get
overloaded. It is frightening how easily it can happen."
It's often said
that by the time you get thirsty, you've waited too long to take a drink.
Nonsense, Noakes says.
"The idea that thirst comes too late is a
marketing ploy of the sports drink industry," Noakes says. "They tell people
their thirst is not giving them right information. There is absolutely no
biological information that is correct. The answer is just drink what your
In an editorial in the July 19 issue of the British
Medical Journal, Noakes notes that from ancient times until 1969, people didn't
drink during exercise. Then an influential -- and, Noakes says, error-filled --
scientific paper concluded that this led to dangerous overheating. Soon after,
the first sports drinks hit the market, and advertising encouraged people to
drink all the fluids they could.
That still wasn't a problem, until
amateur running became popular. Elite athletes don't have time to drink too
much. It's a totally different story when people run/walk marathons over five
"They are running so slowly they can drink all they want," Noakes
says. "There is no place outside of a pub where fluids are so available as in a
marathon in the U.S. And unlike a pub, you aren't limited by having to pay for
it. It doesn't take much to get fluid overload."
Fluid overload waters
down the blood. It leads to dangerously low salt levels -- a condition known as
hyponatremia, in which the blood has too much water and too little sodium.
Brain cells absorb too much water and the brain swells. It pushes against the
skull, leading to seizures. Finally, a person stops breathing. This is what
killed a woman during the 2002 Boston Marathon.
"Humans are actually
designed quite well for dehydration," Noakes says. "There is very little
evidence it has any effect until one becomes very dehydrated -- by which time
your mouth is so dry, and you have such extreme thirst, that this would never
happen. You are going to find water or a sports drink. There is no way you will
be seriously dehydrated when you start a race."
Not everyone goes quite
so far. Other experts who spoke with WebMD agree that it's terribly dangerous
to drink too much water or too many sports drinks. But they are uneasy about
The USA Track & Field association web site carries
advice from Noakes and Douglas J. Casa, PhD. Casa is director of athletic
training education at the University of Connecticut.
"I'd bet many more
people running Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race were dehydrated than
overhydrated," Casa tells WebMD. "I am not downplaying hyponatremia. But the
advice of don't drink the water is not good advice for soccer and football
players and runners who are out there sweating."
appropriate fluid replacement. So does Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of
sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Bonci is the
nutritional consultant for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Panthers as well as for
the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
"It is not one size fits all," Bonci
tells WebMD. "Each and every person doesn't need same amount of fluids. Not
everybody has the same sweat rate, the same sodium loss rate."
So how do
you know how much to drink?
"The solution is not to drown oneself,"
Bonci says. "Just water alone is not going to be the best recommendation. You
also need something with some carbohydrate and some electrolyte in it. So water
alone during exercise, no. Drinking until you slosh or drown, no. The
guidelines are 20 ounces of fluid before exercise, and over the course of every
hour of exercise drink between 28 to 40 ounces of fluid. That is not enormous
Casa has a simple rule. The next time you set out to
exercise, weigh yourself before going out. When you get back, step on the
scales again. If you lost weight, you should drink more the next time. If you
gained weight, you should drink less.
How much more or less? It's easy
if you have a metric scale. For every kilogram you lose (or gain) during
exercise, you need a liter more (or less) fluid. If you don't have a metric
scale, it's one liter of fluid per 2.2 pounds.
And don't forget salt,
Bonci notes. It's also a good idea to know your individual rate of salt loss.
That can only be measured in a sports clinic. But there's an easy way to tell
if you lose a lot of salt when you work out.
"Some people are truly
greater salt losers than others," Bonci says. "Those whose sweat stings their
eyes, those who get that crust on the skin, should not put all their faith in
sports drinks. Their salt should be from food. Those who lose salt have to be
more vigilant about adding maybe some extra soy sauce to their meal the night
before. And they have to be careful about not overdoing it on
SOURCES: British Medical Journal, July 19, 2003. USA Track
& Field Guidelines, April 19, 2003, accessed July 17, 2003, on the USATF
web site. Timothy David Noakes, MD, PhD, chairman of exercise and sports
science, University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South
Africa. Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition, University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center. Douglas J. Casa, PhD, director of athletic training
education, University of Connecticut.