How to Hydrate Without Drinking Water

There are ways, but not shortcuts.

Cat recently saw a product claiming it would hydrate you without drinking water. So she reached out to RD Miriam to get the details. Do these products work? Because let’s be honest, sometimes you’re just sick of drinking water.

Well, the short answer is: no, your body needs to have water. But there’s obviously more to it than that, so let’s take a look.

What’s going on with these “hydration” products?

They add in vitamins, minerals, and maybe electrolyte replacement with the goal to help with your hydration status (essentially how hydrated or dehydrated you may be). But there’s also a marketing element to the product labels, and you can bet that the goal is really for the company to be making money with their big claims. 

Do hydration products work? 

In extreme environments (super dry and hot), or when you’re really sweating a ton working out, you’ll sweat out sodium and potassium, so you’re not efficiently hanging onto any fluids. You’ll probably feel lethargic. You may notice you’re not peeing enough, or when you do, it’s really dark, indicating dehydration. In those cases, you do want to supplement your water with some electrolytes. 

After a really sweaty workout session, Cat and Miriam will add an electrolyte drink. And another important component of fitness hydration is to remember to pre-hydrate, drink water during exercise, and post-hydrate.

But what about the claim that we don’t need as much water?

There are products out there that claim things like “8 ounces of this replaces 24 ounces of water.” Miriam will remind us, though, that just like there are no good fad diets, there are no good hydration shortcuts.

Look at the labels. In one Miriam checked out, the first ingredient was cane sugar, so you’re basically just drinking extra calories, which is one of the easiest ways to gain weight. There may be some micronutrients like in a multivitamin, but wouldn’t a vitamin be better? Many of these products are basically giving you expensive urine. 

So is there a  better way to hydrate?

Yep, and it’s pretty simple really.

  • Drink water.
  • Eat a small meal after working out.
  • Get your daily fruits and veggies. 
  • Take a daily multivitamin.

Are foods hydrating?

Oh yes, there are some great seasonal fruits. In fact, watermelon isn’t even one of the top. The most watery fruits and veggies are:

  • Cucumber (that cuke from the garden is 95% water!)
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries

Listen to what your body is craving. While this may sound counterintuitive, foods with a high water content will counteract bloating. Your body is smart. If it thinks you won’t get enough water, it will hold onto it. On the flip side, it will also know if you’re serving it well. So if you’re craving a big bowl of berries, have at it.

And while we’re talking about foods, let’s also mention herbal teas, which are also a great hydration source. There are some beautiful, delicious herbal teas. Chamomile is truly relaxing and will increase your melatonin production. Mint can soothe your gut. If you’re looking for a water alternative, give herbal tea a try.

What about carbonated waters? 

Cat usually feels less hydrated after drinking bubbly water. Is it less hydrating, or even dehydrating? Well, not really. Carbonation by itself doesn’t reduce hydration. BUT, watch out for extra added gunk. Some flavored sparkling waters are adding actual fruit juice (and calories). Anyway, water and bubbly water hydrate the same, so do what your body likes.

Ok, we’re convinced water is the answer, but it can get soooooo boring!

It’s a-ok to make your water more fun. Try adding mint or basil, or a citrus slice or squeeze (an unexpected fave could be a squish of grapefruit). Cucumber is another fan-favorite, although Cat does not like cukes in her water.

And now that you know how to hydrate, you’ll have plenty of energy to tackle the body-sculpting, fat-torching workouts at Studio SWEAT and Studio SWEAT onDemand!