We all know that water is not only important, but essential for life. But what you dont know may surprise you. It is estimated that approximately 75% of the US population is chronically dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can slow the metabolism by as much as 30%. glass-of-waterTo make matters worse, in 37% of the American population, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. Not only does this lead to the consumption of more calories, but a significantly slower metabolism which means unwanted weight gain. Mild dehydration is also the number one cause of daytime fatigue.  Most people combat the fatigue with a cup of coffee or energy drink. Guess what? Caffeine is a diuretic and causes even more dehydration. Having difficulty concentrating at work? Even a 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty concentrating on small text or a computer screen.

So, how much water should we be drinking? Most sources suggest drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. The Institute of Medicine suggests drinking even more than that.  Drinking 5 glasses of water daily can decrease your risk of colon cancer by 45%, reduce breast cancer risk by as much as 79%, and reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50%. Plus, it curbs hunger pangs and helps prevent midnight munchies!