Top Doc: “Drinking too much plain water can harm your health” – Here’s what to drink instead to have more energy and lose weight

Almost every doctor and nutrition expert on the planet recommends drinking water. It also seems to be the one thing that all non-experts agree on, from the keto meat eater to the leafy plant eater. And it makes sense, considering our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water. However, most of us aren’t drinking enough of the right kind of fluids to optimize our bodily functions. And as a result we are tired, groggy, constipated and we carry a few extra pounds behind us.

In fact, when it comes to middle-aged and older women, dehydration has reached epidemic proportions. As many as 95 percent of women over the age of 40 are dehydrated, says Howard Murad, MD, author of The secret of water. As we age, stress, poor diet and environmental toxins damage the body’s cell membranes, weakening their ability to retain water, she explains.. “This damage leads to subclinical dehydration and exhaustion, headaches, brain fog, mystery cravings, and the resulting weight gain.”

But as important as drinking water is to our health, proper hydration can be surprisingly elusive, especially as we get older. As our cell membranes become less able to conduct water into our cells, it takes a special type of water to achieve a true state of hydration. This is where “electrolyte water” comes into play.

What is electrolyte water?

Electrolyte water most commonly includes, well, electrolytes minerals that carry an electrical charge when dissolved in water to help revitalize body cells and optimize their overall function such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. In fact, electrolyte water is becoming so popular that manufacturers are producing versions in hundreds of flavors and variations and they’re flying off store shelves.

IV liquid water on a grocery store shelf

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What is liquid drip?

One brand of electrolyte powder that has made an unusually large splash is Liquid IV. The name conjures up the image of getting a quick infusion of health-enhancing nutrients, just like people get intravenously in the hospital, with no needles or painful shots. Advertised as a hydration booster, this powdered mineral mix comes in individual packets also called sticks that can be added to bottles or glasses of water.

Each packet promises to deliver hydration twice as fast and more effectively than plain water alone. Tests have also shown that these packs contain three times more electrolytes than the traditional sports drinks of our youth like Gatorade. Another brand of electrolyte mix sticks popular with keto enthusiasts is LMNT.

These types of ready-made mineral blends gain favor with hydration experts. An electrolyte drink mix with no added sugar would be the first thing I’d recommend to help people hydrate effectively and quickly, says Dana Cohen, MD, author of extinguish. Her advice: Start by salting your water, not your food.

Why do we need electrolyte water

Electrolytes play a number of crucial roles within the human body. These nutrients help nerves transmit electrical impulses and support muscle function, preventing muscle cramps and fatigue. Electrolytes also help the body maintain a healthy pH balance and support the kidneys in their crucial role of filtering fluids and toxins.

Nutrition expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of over 35 books, including The new Fat Flush planexplains, Minerals are the candles of life and adding electrolytes to water is a perfect hydration solution.

When it comes to dehydration, we often lose not only water, but also electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which are critical to bodily and cellular function, explains Dr. Cohen. To properly replenish what we lose through sweat, we need not only to replace water but also to replace electrolytes as occurs when drinking an electrolyte water such as Liquid IV.

And it’s not just people who exercise who benefit from electrolytes. The body consumes minerals for countless other reasons, such as processing alcohol or sugar that we have consumed, or when we were ill or undergoing medical treatment, while pregnant or nursing or even traveling or stressed.

Electrolytic water versus plain water

Drinking too much plain water can flush out vital nutrients and electrolytes from our cells and tissues, actually harming our health and limiting our body’s ability to perform, explains Dr. Cohen. Researchers have found that our cells have difficulty absorbing plain water to undo chronic low-level dehydration such as we may experience every day without realizing it.

In fact, when we lack sodium, potassium and magnesium, many of us were dehydrated on a cellular level. And by the time we experience obvious symptoms like thirst or weakness, we’ve already been dehydrated for a while. James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., author of The correction of obesityagrees with Dr. Cohen, saying: True hydration is replenishing water, more lost minerals.

How electrolyte water helps you lose weight

Replacing the body’s minerals by drinking electrolyte water, like Liquid IV, has another benefit: It can control cravings. Research shows that when our bodies lack water or minerals, we feel an extra need to overeat. Dr. DiNicolantonio says: We reach for food, like a bag of salty potato chips, to get the salt our bodies require.

Dr. Cohen says: Most of the time, when we feel hungry, we are actually dehydrated. But that hunger causes us to seek out food, rather than ultra-hydrating fluids, so we lose the ability to sense what true thirst feels like in the body. And this malfunction only seems to get worse over time. Dr. Cohen explains: After a lifetime of learning to ignore our thirst, the mechanism goes numb.

When we replace the minerals, however, and get true hydration, it leads to effortless weight loss. The proof: When people in a University of California-Irvine study added electrolytes to their diets, they lost 56 pounds in 6 weeks.

Actress Donna Mills, 82, a legendary star of the TV show Knots Landing, is a fan of electrolyte powers. She told us, “I’m increasingly aware of the importance of drinking water to overall health.” I try to drink at least two large bottles of water a day. Playing tennis helps after every couple of games, I go sideways and drink. Exercise reminds me of drinking. I like to put lemon wedges or electrolyte powder in the water.”

How to make an electrolyte water even better than Liquid IV

To achieve the deep hydration possible only with mineral-infused water, you can try Liquid IV packets for yourself buy on Amazon ($24.66 for 16 servings) or you can create your own electrolyte mix to add to water at home . For a time-tested recipe, we turned to health and weight-loss guru Jorge Cruise, bestselling author of more than 20 books. For over 20 years, Cruise has been helping women control their cravings and achieve proper hydration. His secret weapon is his homemade recipe for Zero Hunger Water. Follow this recipe to make this DIY bulk electrolyte mix.


1/4 tsp. salt (such as Redmond Real Salt (buy on Amazon, $10.84)

1/8 tsp. potassium chloride powder (as Nutricost, buy on Amazon, $23.94)

1/16 tsp. magnesium glycinate powder (as Doctors Best), buy on Amazon, $17.07

1/4 tsp. glycine powder (as Nutricost, buy on Amazon, $21.95), optional


Combine all ingredients in an empty water bottle and mix well. Add 16 oz. of filtered water and shake. Sip throughout the day to quench cravings, refilling as needed. Each bottle contains approximately 500 mg. of sodium, 500 mg. of glycine, 200 mg. of potassium and 60 mg. of magnesium. For an optional flavor, add 1 sachet of REAL crystallized orange, grapefruit or lime flavor and sweeten with stevia or monk fruit to taste. You can also add this mix to other beverages such as iced tea or sodas.

Cruise recommends drinking about 32 ounces of electrolyte water every two hours. As always, women with high blood pressure should consult their doctor before changing their sodium intake.

While the three electrolytes of sodium, potassium, and magnesium in this recipe are familiar to most of us, one thing on the list may seem new: the amino acid glycine. Glycine enhances sodium absorption, then bolsters the hydration capabilities of electrolyte water to quench false hunger, says Dr. DiNicolantonio. That’s why Cruise added glycine to his Zero Hunger Water weight loss recipe. According to Cruise, glycine makes electrolyte water three times more potent at giving people radical hunger control.

Real proof of the slimming power of electrolyte water

Cruise is amazed at the weight loss results he’s seen in his clients who use this electrolyte water recipe. I consider it the over-50s fat cure, says Cruise, who regularly assists clients lose up to 2 pounds a day by following his hydration advice. In fact, Sandy Rosser, 60, of Fayetteville, NC, lost 95 pounds with Cruises electrolyte water. Share, Calorie counting never addressed the root of my problem, which was mineral deficiency!

Cruise sums it up, saying, “If you’re craving carbohydrates, sweets, or salty snacks all the time, it’s actually a false hunger triggered by an electrolyte imbalance.”

For more information, listen to Jorge Cruises’ Zero Hunger Guy podcast and join his free Zero Hunger Water Club and get support at

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