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Dangers of Drinking Contests

Last week, a man in Spain died shortly after guzzling 6 liters (1.58 gallons) of beer in about 20 minutes during a beer drinking competition.

Shortly after winning the contest, Joaquín Alcaraz Gracia began vomiting and went into cardiac arrest. He was taken to a local hospital, where he passed away.

What a tragic example of the dangers of drinking too many liquids, especially in a short time period of time.

When you put more liquids into your circulatory system than your body needs, you put significant burden on your heart and kidneys to deal with this excess volume. And this is true of all liquids, even healthy ones like water and vegetable smoothies.

On the mild end of the spectrum of consequences of drowning your tissues in liquids is unnecessary burden on and premature dysfunction of your heart and kidneys.

On the severe end of this same spectrum is death, though documented cases are limited to silly drinking contests that have become popular at fairs, festivals, and college parties around the world.

If you haven't read my article on this topic, please have a look here:

Why Drinking Too Much Water Is Dangerous

And please consider sharing this information with those in your life who don't know better and may, on a whim, participate in one of these "fun" drinking contests one day.

Please don't confuse staying healthfully hydrated with putting unnecessary stress on your heart and kidneys. If you sweat regularly, you need more liquids than someone who doesn't perspire as much.

But no matter how active or inactive you are, you shouldn't mindlessly drink X number of glasses of water daily in the name of cleansing and staying hydrated. Except in very rare circumstances, your sense of thirst should dictate how much you drink.

Don't forget that most vegetables and fruits are abundant in water, so the more water-rich foods you eat, the less you need to drink, but again, your sense of thirst shouldn't steer you wrong.

And what is to be made of conventional wisdom about it being wrong to wait until you are thirsty to drink, that this is a good way to get dehydrated? I respectfully disagree, as this doesn't jive with what I understand about how the brainstem, cardiovascular system, and kidneys work. The definitive details on this issue can be found throughout Guyton's classic textbook on Medical Physiology.

Again, the link to my article on drinking too much water can be found here:

Why Drinking Too Much Water Is Dangerous

Wishing you and yours a healthfully hydrated week ahead,

Ben Kim


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