How Much Water Should YOU Drink?

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By Matt Stone

One of my greatest pet peeves when it comes to nutrition is the frequent use of blanket recommendations – many of them made on some theoretical basis, or made due to statistical probability (none of them particularly relevant to a real person living in the real world).  And I feel like, over the years, we at 180D have been picking through these one by one – especially now as we leave this sort of standard view of nutrition in the dust at an accelerated rate.

These blanket recommendations really degrade what nutrition, or dietary manipulation, can be – which is an amazing medical tool.

The food pyramid is a real travesty, and gives nutrition a bad name.  Dietary needs radically change – sometimes on an hourly basis.  Nutritional needs can differ after exercise, or waking up in the morning vs. nutritional needs in the evening for example, or in a stressful situation.  Even my nutritional needs change throughout the course of a single day, and from day to day.  Only someone in tune with their own biofeedback mechanisms and the inner signals of the body would possibly have a chance at meeting these nutritional needs optimally.  I have no doubt that, in those that are making a conscious effort to eat healthfully, that information which drowns out our inner signals causes the most collateral damage.

Today we focus on one of the simplest and most pervasive health prescriptions given to the masses – drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day (2 quarts/2 liters), or “drink half your bodyweight (in pounds) in fluid ounces.”  When you see how much of a health liability this one, simple recommendation is – you will realize how basically any mindless recommendation that is intended for brainless followership can lead to disaster.  More importantly, you’ll see that by focusing on how the body works, you can make more improvements than many can by eating a puritanical health food diet.  I suspect that many health disciplines and ideologies and diets could be outdone simply by having people focus on the concentration of their urine, while eating whatever they want and not thinking about it too much otherwise.  At least for some conditions.

We know that dehydration is bad.  When I get dehydrated I get cranky, and often get a headache and start feeling run down and scratchy-throated.  If you are exercising – wow, look to see a substantial decline in performance as you get progressively dehydrated.  Okay, we got that.  But we never hear ANYTHING about the negative effects of being OVERHYDRATED.  Well, I hope to level the playing field here…

As I reported in the RBTI Update, I find that I feel better when my urine Brix is higher than 3.0 – roughly.  When I say “feel better” I mean mostly that my energy levels are higher, mood is much brighter and calmer, and my feet and hands tend to run warmer – signs that my body is in a pro-thyroid parasympathetic dominant state, which I consider to be more of the healing, anti-stress condition of the body that many with low metabolism issues should strive to spend as much time in as possible.

I find the refractometer to be remarkable in that sense, as negative emotions and physical states (pain, fatigue, blurred vision, dizziness, migraines, seizure, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, heart palpitation and arrhythmia, irritability, cold hands and feet), are strongly correlated with the reading on the refractometer.  When the refractometer dips too low, those with such tendencies start to see those problems being expressed.

Interestingly, 180 peep Kevin recently turned me onto the fact that the specific gravity of urine (brix basically – you can see a conversion table HERE), is something that is paid attention to in the medical and veterinary fields.  And it’s generally thought that anything below a specific gravity of 1.012 (3.07 on a refractometer) is considered too low – or a mild state of overhydration.  That rings true for me.  Here’s another couple of links he sent to me that you might find interesting…

Urine Specific Gravity

Refractometers and Specific Gravity

The most major and alarming symptoms of overhydration are well-known.  Filed under Water Intoxication – a potentially deadly form of severe overhydration, Wikipedia says…

“At the onset of this condition, fluid outside the cells has an excessively low amount of solutes (such as sodium (hyponatremia) and other electrolytes) in comparison to that inside the cells causing the fluid to shift through (via osmosis) into the cells to balance its concentration. This causes the cells to swell. In the brain, this swelling increases intracranial pressure (ICP). It is this increase in pressure which leads to the first observable symptoms of water intoxication: headache, personality changes, changes in behavior, confusion, irritability, and drowsiness. These are sometimes followed by difficulty breathing during exertion, muscle weakness, twitching, or cramping, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and a dulled ability to perceive and interpret sensory information. As the condition persists papillary and vital signs may result including bradycardia and widened pulse pressure. The cells in the brain may swell to the point where blood flow is interrupted resulting in cerebral edema. Swollen brain cells may also apply pressure to the brain stem causing central nervous system dysfunction. Both cerebral edema and interference with the central nervous system are dangerous and could result in seizures, brain damage, coma or death.”

Bradycardia by the way presents symptoms such as “fatigue, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, chest discomfort, palpitations, or shortness of breath.”

So, I have been putting a lot of emphasis on this lately with the people I’ve been working with.  And it is quite helpful.  Some only experience episodes of overly-diluted urine occasionally, while others in worse shape have clear urine all day and night and urinate frequently.  Unfortunately, these people often have one of the telltale symptoms of overhydration – dry mouth/thirst, and sip water or tea (because they are freezing cold, typically – think of the men in Ancel Keys’s Starvation experiment drinking 14 cups of coffee a day and complaining of virtually everything listed above) throughout the day.  They sip to the detriment of their metabolism, energy levels, and emotional and cognitive well-being.

One way I envision making the restoration of metabolism a lot more efficient, is by putting more and more focus on what is going on at the cellular level.  After all, metabolism begins with our mitochondria generating energy.  For our cells to produce energy, they need a certain concentration of glucose and electrolytes at any given time.  When levels become too low in the intracellular environment, the cells have no choice but to start dumping out water in buckets, which often triggers a very strong and sudden urge to urinate and/or bouts of frequent urination as often as 5-6 times per hour.  You might see this happening when you haven’t eaten in a really long time, after a stressful event, or in the middle of the night around 4am.

When overhydration occurs, the electrolyte and glucose “batteries” of your cells get flooded and cannot produce energy normally.  The result is you feel horrible and trigger an adrenaline response, with any number of different symptoms – certainly reduced peripheral circulation (cold hands, feet, and tip of nose).  For whatever reason, it is easier and easier to achieve overhydration the lower metabolism gets.  It’s as if sugar and salt is increasingly difficult to hold on to, or is in scarcer supply at the cellular level, in a reduced metabolic state.  Likewise, the time one can go without supplying sugar and salt decreases – often surfacing for the first time in the middle of the night – interrupting sleep in the form of bedwetting, night sweats, nightmares, night terrors, and so forth.

There’s a strong connection to adrenal fatigue here as well, as those who focus on this condition often advocate taking in really large amounts of salt, or drinking water with salt added.  This prevents overhydration.  I have noticed that salt works as well as anything at keeping the footsies warm, especially when ingested in the form of salty food, which digests slowly – causing a steady release of salt into the system for hours.  But I feel that monitoring urine Brix with a simple refractometer and adjusting food, fluid, and salt intake accordingly is a much better way of doing it.

Anyway, what I’m getting at here is very simple…

Drinking the standard amount of water recommended to the masses can literally ruin one’s life – physically and emotionally.  This is not overly sensationalized shock talk.  This is really happening.  And few ever connect the water dots to their mediocre health, crappy mood, and unstable mental state.

And if something that simple can have that big of an effect, so can just about any health “tip” out there.

While I normally tell people to just follow their instincts with their salt cravings, sweet cravings, and desires for fluids – the problem with overhydration is that a symptom of drinking too much is dry mouth and excessive thirst.  So we have a real potential for triggering a vicious cycle here with too much drinking.  Fluids that encourage us to drink beyond thirst (for motivations other than thirst) can be a problem too.  These include coffee, tea, and diet drinks (addictive stimulants), fluids that warm us up when we are cold, and most certainly alcohol.  Alcoholic beverages seem to be really debilitating for those in a weakened metabolic condition.

If you have very clear urine and some health problems like anxiety, chronic fatigue, migraines, yada yada, you should work hard to get some color back into your urine – in effect increasing the glucose and electrolyte concentration of your cells.  I’m not talking about dehydration,  just ideal hydration – and keeping it as stable as possible in what is probably the ideal range (let’s say, 3-4 on a refractometer, but there is probably a great deal of individual variation here).

If you have a bout of frequent urination, you should have something salty and carby immediately, and avoid fluids for an hour or two until cellular concentrations return to normal.  It doesn’t really matter what this is.  The simplest is what one 180 peep recently adopted, which is dissolving a nice spoonful of a 4:1 salt/sugar mixture under the tongue for rapid absorption.  I haven’t tried this, but it sounds simple for those overwhelmed by the thought of balancing all this out for yourselves in real life.  I just eat something kinda dry.

Water is very strong.  If you tend towards overhydration, I would not drink it by itself, or have any fluids lacking sugar and salt (like tea), without taking in food with it.  I drink quite a bit of water with meals, thus packaging the water with electrolytes and carbohydrate.  But if I’m thirsty in between meals, which is rare unless I’ve just completed a workout, something like Gatorade (the powder that you mix yourself is better – uses sucrose and not HFCS) or the equivalent if you want to make a homeblend with something sweet and salty (fruit juice, water, pinch of salt), would probably be ideal. Milk is good too, especially with a little blackstrap molasses added to it.  Coconut water seems to be really good, as do soft drinks – especially those with sucrose like Sierra Mist and not high-fructose corn syrup.  I drink plain water by itself sometimes, but I’m not sensitive to overhydration like I was in my metabolic lowpoint while starving out in the Wilderness years ago.  And being pretty tuned into my hydration levels and the warmth of my hands and feet and stuff, I know when I can drink it and when I can’t.

People with chronic thirst induced by overhydration are often very intimidated by the thought of drinking fewer fluids.  But it doesn’t take long for this chronic thirst to subside I find.  So give it a week.  It might make a huge difference for you.  It’s a big help towards getting those icy hands and feet thawed out, smoothing over anxiety, increasing energy levels, and more.

And, of course, Eat the Food.  This will keep you from being so sensitive to overhydration in the first place.  And monitoring hydration levels and eating the food work in tandem for raising metabolic rate.  I have a feeling that the more one focuses on ideal hydration levels, the less one will need to overfeed on foods like pancakes and pizza – making the process much more efficient.

You can get a cheap refractometer from www.repairrecoverrestore.com if you feel the need to monitor this more scientifically.

This is not an exact science, and there really is no map for how to take advantage of this hydration insight.  Your comments and personal experiences, as well as your thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.  I’m just in the process of trying to figure all this out, and I need YOUR FEEDBACK!  I will be discussing this on Sean Croxton’s Underground Wellness show coming up soon.  Stay tuned for that.

As of December 1, 2012, you can now read much more about hydration and over-hydration in the eBook, Eat for Heat available on Amazon.

 

 

244 Comments

  1. I am pretty sure that when you are urinating frequently with clear urine you are actually dehydrated at the cellular level, not overhydrated. That is why you are thirsty and have dry mouth because the body is craving water because it cant hold on to it. I think it is more hyponatremia than overhydration that causes those symptoms. Your cells need water more than anything but they wont hold onto it unless there is enough electrolyte and sugar in the cell. So I completely agree with you on how to solve the problem. But I think you can have all the symptoms you talked about and still be severely dehydrated.

    Reply
    • You got it CM. I agree 100%. The body isn’t hydrating, and this can be very dehydrating. Just like drinking alcohol can be very dehydrating.

      Reply
    • I drink and advocate drinking lots of water. NOT lots of fluids. Some fluids like coffee are diuretic in nature and will flush water from your body. Water is a natural mineral carrying agent and can carry minerals into your body. This why you need good high quality water and from the ground if possible rather from a bottling company or a plastic container. Water not only carries with it good minerals but can carry bad ones like fluoride for example and antibiotics and residues of toxins like pesticides. Nikken has the best water solution for your household water needs.
      Water should be charged as well. It naturally resonates with a negative charge when it comes from the clear cold mountain streams that are drinkable.
      One of the best books I have read on the needs of the body for water is written by a man named Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D.
      http://www.watercure.com/waterforhealthforhealingforlifehardcover.aspx
      I have been following his advice and have recovered completely from lower back pain that has plagued me for over 15 years.
      Hope this will help you all.
      Oscar

      Reply
  2. BTW Matt, what do you think about the whole Sea Salt vs. Table Salt thing with RBTI?

    Reply
    • I think it’s minutiae, for the most part.

      Reply
      • health lies in details. you basically want to avoid the anti caking agent in the table salt.

        Reply
      • Hearsay recently told me that things added to table salt (probably anti-caking stuff) can cause scarring in blood vessels and whatnot. My preference is for salts that are from evaporated sea water, not just for the lack of additives, but also for the trace stuff that isn’t NaCl. That said, Coffee and tea make up about 80% of my fluid intake each day, and I add salt to every cup. Since I’ve started to do that (as well as a few other things, mostly from the 180 Archipelago) my feelings of dehydration/need to drink water/need to pee hourly have vanished.

        Reply
      • I feel the same way, Matt. I still eat items with sea salt in the ingredients list, and my numbers haven’t swayed from the “healing range” since I got the numbers there a while back. Minutiae, exactly.

        As for drinking, i don’t agree on the 3.07 on the refractometer statement, but hey, to each his own and this is what we’re learning. For me, as long as my brix is between 1.5 and 2.0, i’m feeling fantastic and never “crashing” – but then again, I’m still on the RBTI program and haven’t left it since it’s treating me so well.

        Reply
    • Hey, thanks so much for sharing this. I drink up to 8 liters a day, I only drink plain tap water. I feel tired most of the time (it’s true that I don’t sleep much) so I also tend to drink a lot of caffeine – which makes me feel dehydrated and so I drink even more water. I am a vegetarian so I eat a lot of dairy. I tend to snack a lot – basically I never stop eating, because I have big sugar and salt cravings even when my stomach feels full. I often have headaches, fatigue, I have always cold feet and my back often hurts. I seriously suffer after drinking alcohol – my whole body aches terribly, especially if i had been exercising before or during (dancing) consuming. Reading this article and going through some of the comments made me realize that something is seriously wrong… My dad has been always telling me that it is unhealthy to drink so much water, but everybody else admires me and says they should try to drink more water as well – which is quite understandable, given that everyone says there are only benefits in drinking a lot of water! So thanks for opening my eyes, I think this should go viral!

      Reply
  3. So what should be a normal urination schedule, if you feel good? 4 or 5 times per day? That seems to be normal for me…

    Reply
    • That’s seems about normal. Less than that usually means dehdyration. More than that usually means too diluted.

      Reply
      • Hey matt, thanks for the info, what would you say about those who wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, why is that happening and how would you correct it?
        I read once about a pinch of sea salt in water before bed and my mother, who has the issue refused to drink more water before bed thinking we should would wake up twice instead of once to pee.
        Thanks
        ian

        Reply
        • I would eat some saltines or pretzels to get the salt in, and take in no fluids to get that salt. Usually it is running out of glucose and electrolytes that causes the cells to resort to dumping water out to concentrate the scarce amounts of these at the cellular level at that hour. That can help. So can tweaking with meal schedule and working on improving proper circadian rhythms. Eating heavier early and lighter late in the day can often help. Although I’ve seen ice cream or a candy bar before bed do amazing things for a bedwetter kid. Eradicted the problem immediately. Play around with it and let us know what you find.

          Reply
  4. That was an interesting read and confirmed my thoughts on it, as I rarely drink water, only after exercise. I actually do not like the taste of it at all when I am not in high need of fluids. I actually prefer broth or milk when I am thirsty or even soup, as I love the combo of broth with meat and veggies. I have often been told I drink too little, and tried to drink more water by recommendations, my body just would not accept it. I would get sick of it. And my metabolism is not even up to scratch really, body temperature is way too low, still between 35 and 36,5. So nowhere near the 37 I am going for.
    Thanks for this post Matt.

    Reply
  5. Salt/Sugar 4:1? Wasn’t it the other way around?

    Reply
  6. Thanks for the shout out Matt!! Are their any prizes that along with a shout out from you? Maybe a new car or maybe you could write me in as a new character on South Park. Oops, I forgot, wrong Matt Stone. Haha!!

    I also wanted to point out that a low refractometer reading (and therefore a low specific gravity reading) may also possibly indicate that your body’s production of ADH is less than normal. When ADH levels are low in the body then you will have to urinate frequently. The various forms of diabetes insipidus are a good example of inadequate ADH production and/or utilization. People with “neurogenic” diabetes insipidus usually drink alot of water but since their body produces very little to no ADH they can’t hold onto the water that they drink and thus they have to pee very often and thus they can become dehydrated. Without adequate production/utlization of ADH you may loose most of the water that you drink.

    Slide 10 on the link bellow:

    http://tinyurl.com/89zrscm

    ***Notice that the urine specific gravity for diabetes insipidus is considered to be 1.010 or less. That would equate to a 2.56 brix reading on your refractometer. And I am with Matt, I feel better when my refractometer brix reading is 3.0 – 4.0. Actually, somewhere around 4.0 seems to be my sweet spot.

    Also, oddly enough, drinking excessive amounts of water can inhibit your body’s production of ADH and the excessive intake of fluid has been known to induce diabetes insipidus. And therfore, if I understand this correctly, in a round about way, drinking to much water may possibly cause dehydration. Crazy, huh????

    Just google overhydration and adh

    http://tinyurl.com/84p2qqh

    http://tinyurl.com/6s9nu75

    So, if someone drinks alot of water or eats alot of something that contains alot of water then they could potentially become overly hydrated and thus your body’s production of ADH may decrease.

    Excess water intake can potentially = lowered ADH production

    .

    Reply
    • Dude, the shoutout IS the prize! Can’t believe you would think a car would compare to a shoutout from me! Yes, I’m certainly eager to learn more about the wonderful world of ADH/vasopressin.

      Reply
  7. Great post Matt. I’ve read about (and tried) so many “diets” over the last year but all of them were consistent on the “8 glasses of water a day” rule. I love that you buck the trend and make people think. I’ve since found many articles saying this recommendation is indeed overstated.

    Reply
  8. We can have too much water; what about too much salt, or too much sugar? I’m partially saying this rhetorically, and also legitimately asking. This is really important stuff and I’m super excited about this article. Enough to use the word ‘super.’

    I still think the conductivity meter can help a real lot here as a complement to the refractometer. It’s a bigger investment, but for the extra clarity and information it can reveal I think it’s worth it. It’s also a snap to use.

    It also would shed some more light on hypoglycemia vs. hyponatremia. The ‘SCR’ or ‘sugar to conductivity ratio’ is something that seems to be hardly mentioned at all in RBTI, but if you translate that into more conventional terms, weighing the concentration of salt vs. the concentration of carbohydrates could really help to clarify how well a person’s hydrated — just enough, or under hydrated or overhydrated.

    The specific gravity will take carbohydrates and salts into account together. The conductivity meter won’t pick up nonelectrolytes like sugars, so taking those two measurements together, you can get a better idea of what’s happening.

    For example: over at RBTInotes, the person who won the contest has a very high Brix and a very low conductivity. The refractometer will read around, say, a 6 or 7, but at that point, this person might be having seriously low salts – hyponatremia.

    They can drink and drink and drink as much water as they can, but what’s likely is that their Brix will stay elevated while their salts go way too low.

    I have the opposite problem: low Brix, high conductivity.

    It really is a balancing act. If we have too much water, that’s not good. But it’s also not good if we have too much salt, or too much sugar.

    I do think that very low sugars and salts are much more of an immediate issue than high sugars and high salts. And if people just used a refractometer, they’d probably be light years ahead in terms of their functioning understanding of nutrition.

    I’m just trying to keep up with the posts here and keep the cogs turning. Though I really do think that, even though the Hanna DiST6 is expensive, it’s still very quick and easy to use. And it isn’t THAT expensive, all things considered. 100 bucks (including shipping) is an investment, but for around 130-140 between the conductivity meter and refractometer, I think you’d get a more complete set of information.

    Though I just can’t help but wonder about the discrepancies between Reams’ perfect equation and the medical field’s perspective on the specific gravity of urine.

    You could have the same specific gravity, but a very, very different SCR. You could have the same specific gravity with a very, very low Brix and a very, very high conductivity, as you would with a very, very high Brix and a very, very low conductivity. Though the way you’d deal with each of those cases would be very, very different.

    I also want to say that the first part of the perfect equation is ‘CS’ for common sense. Common sense tells me that if people are potentially poisoning themselves with water that using a refractometer to gauge where they fall on the hydration spectrum is WAY better than trying to go on biofeedback alone, especially when the damage done by dehydration or overhydration can mess with your biofeedback. Having one objective reference is way better than having none.

    I still remember how ecstatic I felt when I knew nothing at all about RBTI but you started writing some articles about the refractometer and hypoglycemia. My blood sugar was measuring anywhere from 80mg/dl to 150mg/dl or so when I was feeling like I was having low sugar episodes, and it confused the hell out of me and made me feel like I was crazy. That really shed some light on the situation, to say the least.

    Thanks for sharing, as always. Lots to think about, and really exciting stuff as always.

    Reply
    • Jib, SCR is actually extremely important if you go by Dr Manthei and his student Michael Olszta. I wrote a blog post about it. The SCR tells a lot about a person, and the SCR is actually more important than either the brix or the conductivity readings on their own. I had the same problem as you at first – low brix, high conductivity. I’ve changed that and have been in the healing range for about 4 weeks now after cheating my way out the healing range over the holidays. The secret for me was replacing the distilled water doses with fresh-squeezed fruit juice. I found the brix of the juice, and if it was at a level that it cause my urine brix to spike, I would dilute it a bit with distilled. It took a week or two of experimentation but eventually I found the perfect ratio (for ME, of course) of juice to distilled, and was able to keep my brix at 1.5-2.0 ever since.

      I fully agree with you that refractometer plus conductivity meter is probably the best purchase a health-enthusiast could buy. I’m having the best time of my life lately – more dietary freedom, drinking less straight water than ever before, and yet leaner than ever (my six-pack magically reappeared) with energy levels constantly high. All thanks to RBTI.

      Reply
      • Rick, could you post your blog address please? I’m just starting with rbti and would love to read it. Thanks.

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      • There’s definitely a difference between a refractometer reading of say, 2.0 that was achieved by drinking milk or juice and a 2.0 that was achieved by drinking plain water. I’ll keep tinkering and experimenting for sure. Of course, this post is not for RBTI’ers, but just the general public. My main concern was that people who were living in the brix basement and experiencing all kinds of coinciding symptoms could read a post like this, stop drinking so damn much, and see instant improvements in many disorders.

        Reply
    • Thanks Jibber. No question that Reams’s use of more specific tools is a step up from any mainstream stance on specific gravity of urine alone. I’m sure it has value somehow, I just don’t know the inner complexities of Reams’s equation. Few seem to. And Reams did all of his work in a controlled environment, whereas real people trying to do this in the real world have very irregular and dynamic lives. But I’ll keep thinking about it for sure.

      Reply
    • I wonder if this is one of the missing pieces in my puzzle – high sugar, low salt. When Matt first started talking about sugar crashes from too much water, I thought that might be one of my issues, but since buying/using my refractometer, it seems I have much more of an issue with HIGH brix readings than low. But I haven’t been overdrinking water, and I certainly don’t avoid salt in my diet.
      The refractometer is definitely helpful, if only in helping one realize what the particular feedback means. I definitely know what low sugar feels like for me, that’s easy to diagnose, but I’m still trying to figure out what high brix feels like – I routinely shoot up to 7 and above, like yesterday morning when all I had was a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk and a banana. Sometimes when I see stuff like that I wonder if I haven’t permanently screwed my kidneys (dumping sugar into urine, the doctors call it) or pancreas (symptom of diabetes.)

      Reply
  9. As a singer, I was ALWAYS told to drink water so that your urine would be clear! Just another angle to completely screw up my body. Over the last 6 months I’ve switched to drinking coconut water when thirsty. I still drink water, but I’m careful to not over hydrate because I had many of symptoms.

    As I was reading this, I decided I needed a coconut water, went to get one and decided to give some to my chihuahua because I was thinking about how much water he drinks and stuff. He loved the coconut water…guess he needed to replenish his salt/sugar intake.

    I wish more people would read this.

    BTW, I loaned out Diet Recovery to a friend, talk about 180 as much as possible and although I will never wear a L in a t-shirt, I think I’m going to cut out Eat the Food and frame with a fork and spoon next to it…

    Reply
    • Haha. Thanks Myndie. Yes, you hear pretty much everywhere that you should be peeing clear, which is pretty stupid. When I worked for the Forest Service, there was a little safety manual that said, during hard labor in the heat, you should drink 1 liter of water per hour!!! One of my ranger co-workers almost died and wasn’t drinking anywhere near that much!

      Reply
  10. RBTI advices 1.5 brix though I do better with 3-4 brix as you say, 5+ brix seems to high again.
    Your recommendations on salt are opposite of RBTI, what are your thought now about the salt reading in RBTI.
    My salt reading is too high (~30 mostly) but I do urinate too frequently even though my brix hardly ever drops below 1.5 . Should I perhaps add salt to taste? (I hardly eat salt now)

    Reply
    • Yeah, adding salt may help you. There may be some unforeseen dangers with having a high salt level, but based on my own biofeedback I feel much better when my salts are brix are 200-300% higher than the perfect equation. Perhaps there is a way to get them back down but feel like I do now at higher levels. Who knows.

      Reply
      • Thats so confusing if even when my conductivity is way too high I might still need more salt. I’m going to experiment a little with it and see how my salt intake (very little salt vs salt to taste) changes my conductivity reading, my peeing and how I feel :-).

        Reply
        • I’m various curious to hear how your salt intake affects the ratio between your refractometer reading and your conductivity reading. Been meaning to play around with this myself.

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          • I decided to forget about the details for now and focus on my sleep problem, first things frirst I guess. But I will get back on this (if I can get some proper sleep again).
            I send you an email about it because I really don’t know what to do anymore :’(.

  11. Mattie Cakes,
    As my water consumption and exercise mania have both decrease a Miracle has occurred. My nightly pee adventure has vanished, no 3am stumbling bathroom vists any longer. Now my first pee is a lovely golden hue, very chic as golden pee is the new black healthwise!
    I stopped drinking tea during your visit, stopped caffeine too. When I need heating up I head for Thee Carbs, a wise old tradition from our forefathers and mothers too.
    Thank you kindly for snatching that water bottle out of my hand and breaking my tea addiciton.
    xo
    the hag

    Reply
  12. Two questions:

    1. Excessive thirst is a symptom of diabetes.

    2. I had pyelonephritis last year and was hospitalized, ended up with sepsis too, and have been commanded repeatedly to drink a lot of water.

    I’m wondering what your thoughts on these two things related to water consumption would be? I am overweight with 96 BBTs, no ovulation and trying to conceive, and trying to wade through your RBTI to fix these issues.

    Reply
  13. I was peeing like crazy for years with no major symptoms. It wasn’t until many sources of stress accumulated and I reached a tipping point that I started having major adrenergic symptoms along with the peeing. It seems that peeing clear has the most detrimental effects at the time of the day during which I’ve experienced the most stress previously, for me the middle of the day to early afternoon. If I pee clear at some other time of the day I notice changes in my mood, concentration, and energy but it’s no where near as bad as peeing clear during the middle of the day. For lunch, I eat only starch and sugar and this seems to help quite a bit to keep the cells well fed and the adrenals relaxed. I’ve also found that laying horizontally and/or taking a 20 minute nap after lunch is extremely helpful in keeping the midday stress response to a minimum. The non-diet factors can be just as important.

    Nothing makes me pee more than dairy. I can eat it in small servings with no detrimental effects, but anything over a few ounces and I’m peeing clear, especially when I eat it at night.

    Reply
    • I find dairy to be a little rough at night too. Not salty cheese, but certainly ice cream or milk in the evening. Interesting. If you really like peeing a lot, you should try the milk diet!

      And yes, you’re right. Just peeing clear doesn’t mean you’ll have symptoms. It’s only when you get into a progressively weakened condition do these clear peeing fiascos come packaged with acute problems.

      Reply
  14. The way I like to think about this is that cellular sugars and electrolytes can become diluted by two ways — 1) drinking too much water, or 2) eating in such a way that does not provide sufficient sugars and salts to the cells. Either way the internal concentration of nutrients is too low and the cells will transport water out of the cell in attempt to maintain appropriate concentrations of sugars and salts.

    Reply
    • Much simpler Luke. You’ll have to start writing my material for me!

      Reply
  15. Matt, thank you. You touched on this topic a couple weeks or so ago, and it caught my fancy. I stopped being a “water pusher” on myself, and it feels right to drink less, and I’m much less chronically thirsty and feel better overall.

    Related, perhaps: can anyone recommend a good brand of pH test strips?

    Reply
    • Steph, I find that the cheap ones on amazon do fine. If you have a Prime account, then you can’t go wrong. http://amzn.to/xSdUxw

      Reply
      • Thanks, Tyler!

        Reply
  16. Wait! So I don’t have to overfeed if I’m balancing my salt and sugar? If I read you correctly, and that’s what you’re saying, that would be awesome… I’m findIng that trying to eat a bunch of food in one sitting very challenging.

    Reply
    • I’m saying that hopefully, by taking advantage of the hydration insight, that we can rely LESS on overfeeding to raise metabolism. But it certainly helps to eat big early in the day for getting levels up and steady the rest of the day and night.

      Reply
  17. Here’s a question for you, Matt. Drinking water does not seem to have an effect on me with these symptoms. I drink a good amount of water and seem to need it (maybe because I like salt). But, drinking juice is an excellent way for me to bring on a huge sugar crash very quickly and cause a lot of symptoms (dizziness, blurred vision, anxiety, etc.). How can that be? I recently have tried having carrot juice in the morning before breakfast, and I literally cannot tolerate it. Water, on the other hand, is no problem.

    Realizing now, this was probably my biggest problem during the RBTI experiment. I was drinking juice and skim milk instead of water, in an effort to avoid hypoglycemia, and it was all crashing my sugars.

    Maybe one of these days I’ll try the refractometer, but curious if you have any insight about this.

    Reply
    • Amy, you should definitely get a refractometer. It’s really the only way to truly identify how your body handles different fluids and fluid amounts. What you might think is a crash, may actually be the exact opposite. There’s times where I feel absolutely horrible and I test and my brix is at a 5. I then consume a bit more liquids until it goes down to about the 2.5-2.0 range and I feel 10x better.

      Once you use the refractometer enough, you begin to see patterns and react in a much more accurate way to combat your symptoms.

      Also, too much of a sugar intake might push your pancreas to produce too much insulin as well, resulting in a crash. It’s important to identify whether it’s really a crash or high brix though.

      Reply
      • Interesting, it never occurred to me the sugars could be pushed too high. The insulin thing did occur to be because drinking skim milk made me feel awful and I’ve heard it’s insulin-raising. Once I can afford one, I’ll try the refractometer. Although, for now listening to my body seems to be helpful on its own in guiding what I do.

        Reply
        • Amy, go look at the types of refractometers that Matt and rbti.info recommend, and then go to EBAY and buy one there. They are only like $30

          Reply
    • I think juice is a very common trigger of that effect. I don’t recommend it outright. I personally prefer drinking water with meals and not drinking much of anything in between meals unless I’m thirsty, which is pretty rare actually. I’m not afraid to drink some water by itself if I know I need some more fluids. But I am careful about overdoing it. I certainly would have done things differently in my Ranger and chef days, as I drank at least a gallon per shift with both jobs. Some saltier and less sweet gatorade would have been much better I’m guessing.

      Reply
  18. Think of the impact this will have on the toilet paper industry! Peeing only five times per day as opposed to five times in an hour. Great article.

    Reply
    • Hey, I didn’t know Canadians used toilet paper! I thought you just used tree bark.

      Reply
  19. But but Dr. Reams said …

    Matt, awesome post. I’ve found that this is my biggest issue. I feel like the general RBTI recommendations for daily fluid intake are absolutely detrimental to people who’s brix crashes easily. It is definitely important to your own reading in which you feel the most comfortable. The guidelines of staying between 1.5-2.0 might work for some but it seems like 2.0-3 works best for most that have trouble retaining liquids.

    When I worked with Lita Lee in the past, she always recommended drinking salty fruit juice. When I’ve been doing RBTI lately, I’ve avoided the salt since everyone seemed to look down upon it. I think I’ll start adding more in again to some fruit juice. Btw, here’s a quote from Lita Lee on the subject:
    “Fruits and fruit juices, in particular orange juice and tropical juices are helpful in keeping blood sugar stable and decreasing adrenalin. Frequent fruit juice and salty snacks can help relieve a yo-yo blood sugar and the fruits juice provides a source of calcium and magnesium. Avoid grapefruit/grapefruit juice (high in estrogenic bioflavanoids) and apple juice (high in pectin which feeds bowel bacteria). Be sure that the starchy fruits (bananas, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, etc.) are ripe so that the starch is converted into healthy sugars. Salty fruit juice, by raising glucose to normal, lowers adrenalin, helps convert T4 to T3 and this is very helpful in preventing and relieving the “jitters” (a racing pulse which comes from adrenalin dominance).”

    Reply
    • Aside from the Lita Lee starch-hatership, pretty cool. I think the airlines got it right. Pretzels and soft drinks keep people calm and relaxed.

      Reply
  20. Hi Matt,

    I found your blog in December have been working at getting a little warmer over here in order to resolve some hormonal issues. This issue of liquids seemed to be the turning point for me. Despite eating lots of good quantities of carbohydrates I just couldn’t get my temperature to stay stable and warm, especially my nose (it was like I was keeping it in the freezer!). It took me two days and I was steadily warm all of the time. It has been about two weeks now since I have really worked at upping my concentrated intake of salts and sugars without water and the only time my body did not respond to this was this past week when I was under some huge emotional stress. However, within 48 hours I was back to my happy warm and not frequently urinating state. Maybe I should have eaten more concentrated sugar and salt when under stess?

    I have been so happy to have found this piece of the puzzle. Thank you so much for voicing this. I am also interested to hear others reflections about their experiences. As I said to a colleague of mine the other day, comments on blogs are probably some of the best reflections of whether something really works or not–even beyond a scientific study.

    Reply
    • One more thought, which your point about coconut water made me think of. About a year and a half ago I read The Fourfold Path to Healing. In there, there was mention of how our heart works and that it is not in fact a pump. Important to this whole cycle is in fact some kind of fat source that works in tandem with salt and water in body to keep it hydrated. Perhaps this is where coconut water comes in? It provides that needed fat component in order to ensure hydration? Maybe that is why it works so well…?

      Reply
      • Coconut water does not have fat in it. That would be coconut milk which is the flesh grounded up and the solids are filtered out. Coconut water just has a nice ratio of sugar and minerals. C20 is god mode.

        Reply
        • So why does coconut water give me a headache? I thought it was the Sulphites that they add to the beverage. I like the flavor and can get it cheap, but ugh. It hurts to drink it.

          Reply
          • I have no idea why coconut water would give you a headache Kerry. Maybe it’s a detox headache =P (joking, idk) I would suggest trying a better brand without preservatives. C20 really is the best, they’re grown in certain soils and picked young I think to have more sweetness, Other brands I’ve tried cannot compare and sometimes taste completely different. Goya doesn’t have my blessing lol. Although other brands do claim to have more minerals. That stuff is expensive though, I’m kinda poor, so I don’t get to have it that much, but man, when I do…And remember folks, obey your thirst.

    • Words can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am for having encountered this simple, yet truly remarkable insight. Glad you are reaping the rewards, and getting the premise behind how to tweak it effectively and make it work. Awesome sauce.

      Glad you understand the power of blog comments too. They keep theories and cure all in check. The comments of others have forced me to think further and further outside of the box over the years, keep pushing myself to learn more, find more solutions, and so on. Being a “blogger” is looked down upon, but, used correctly, there’s no higher form of communication. A writer or scientist can sit in a room and conjure up all kinds of theories – drifting away into la-la land. Put it on a blog and open it up to comments and you get your theories slapped around pretty quickly – forced to evolve and realize ever greater levels of complexity. I would be nowhere on this adventure without blog comments.

      Reply
      • You are right. At 29 years old, I have already watched my mother suffer for years with poor health and then pass away from cancer when I was in my early twenties and then I faced my own very serious health issues four years later of which I have spent the past year working to resolve. Thanks to blog comments and some serious time spent researching online I have almost completely recovered (hormonal issues notwithstanding but thanks to your water insight we might be getting there soon as well…). I am a school teacher so I am well aware of the dangers of “theories” that don’t stand up to practice. Keep going on the insightful research. Many thanks for sharing it.

        Reply
  21. Matt,
    Would a small latte type beverage be too detrimental? I am trying to get over exhaustion and constant fatigue but sometimes need a small boost on days when I’m really dragging. I’m talking like 8oz with a lot of milk here.

    Also, when should one give in to extreme thirst? I am super thirsty all the time but drinking never helps, it seems to make my mouth drier. The feeling of thirst can get really overwhelming though.

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t drink the latte. Coffee is like water only stronger in its effects. I suspect you are the type that needs to be particularly wary of over-drinking. Fatigue and dry mouth are both strong indicators to me. The first questions I ask someone with fatigue are “how much water do you drink, and how often do you urinate?”

      Instead of trying to drink nothing, drink something different. Make a homeblend gatorade with diluted grape juice and some salt added to it. See what that does for you. Or have just a single bite or two of fruit when you are thirsty. Like an apple.

      Reply
  22. Matt, thank you! This is a really compelling topic and makes me wonder about the criteria used by many holistic-type medical or naturopathic doctors to determine hydration levels through the urine. I don’t believe I have ever heard of a case of over-hydration pronounced by any of these doctors! Drinking only a small amount of water followed by a 6-oz cup of jasmine tea in the a.m. and slightly salty broth with a meal or diluted concord grape juice if I feel thirsty still yields a “diagnosis” of dehydration and the need to … yada yada… 1/2 my body weight in pure water… I am beginning to doubt their methods of diagnosis.

    Reply
  23. Man, I feel so sad right now … I had good health, I ate bread, sugar, cookies… anything I wanted when I wanted. I was lean, strong and energetic. Of course there’s a point where you want more… It can be a muscle magazine, the girl you like drooling at some ripped guy in a movie … something that makes you take your health to another level.

    I’ve found that for most of the people I know (incluiding me) that’s when the problems start. Going to the gym 4 times a week, drinking 2lts of water daily, increasing protein … I wish I never started doing those things.

    About 6 months ago I realized something was wrong, one day I drank almost 4 liters of water and I still was very thirsty. You don’t have to be a certified nutritionist to realize thats a bad sign. The worst thing is that you can find any number of idiotic responses to that … “you have been dehydrated for so long that when your body finally starts getting the water it needs, it asks for a lot of it” …

    I drink coffee and I’m trying to limit myself to 1 cup per day only, and milk doesnt make me want to pee right away like water or tea, but I’m not drinking plain water anymore. It’s good to see that there are people like you that doesn’t blindly follows the mainstream health recommendations. Thanks Matt =)

    Now if I could only go back a few years in time and slap myself…

    Reply
    • “There’s a point where you want more.”

      The plight of the human psyche right there.

      Really appreciate this comment Omar.

      Reply
    • Yeah, where’s the “Like” button? Spot-on comment, Omar. I feel you.

      Reply
  24. That’s interesting Tyler, and frustrating too. Ms. Lee’s advice is exactly the opposite of Dr. Larry Wilson — a guy who has specialized in adrenal burnout and adrenal exhaustion for 20-25 years. He also advises against sea salt, etc..

    Here’s his advice — would be great to get your comments (and Matt’s and others as well):

    “I recommend everyone avoid wheat, spelt, sugar and cow’s milk dairy products except butter. If other food allergies are present, avoid these foods for a while.

    Avoid Isolated soy protein as it is of poor quality and contains many anti-nutrients.

    Reduce all sweets, eat very little fruit and avoid all junk food.

    Avoid all vegetable oils except for olive oil.

    Avoid all juices. They are too yin, most are too sugary and they can concentrate food toxins, upset blood sugar and weaken the adrenals.

    Use sea salt rather than table salt.”

    ???

    Reply
    • I don’t think much of that is necessary. Keeping a refractometer reading stable is probably a hell of a lot more efficient than just trying to follow some dietary rx like that. Having warm hands and feet is probably the best single indicator of relaxed adrenals – in their healing state. Wheat, sugar, junk food, fruit, and juice are all very useful for achieving that state. As are naps, meditation, sunbathing, earthing/grounding, and many other things. In fact, table-salted pizza washed down with some root beer could probably give the adrenals more regenerative power than just about anything I can think of. But perhaps it is mistaken to equate incrased peripheral circulation with adrenal repair.

      Reply
  25. I’m reluctant to ditch aiming for the RBTI healing range of 1.2-2 in favor of shooting for much higher numbers just because it feels good.

    How do you know you are not burning up energy faster than you are replacing it at a brix of 3 and that you won’t suffer long-term consequences for forcing your brix higher?

    How do you know it’s not more healing to feel a little cold with a brix of 2 (indicating perhaps that your body has decided it needs to conserve energy?) when you are not yet fully healed?

    And how do you know the specific gravity number that correlates with a brix reading of 3 is any more reliable than the “ideal” ranges for things like serum testosterone, electrolytes, etc., which are merely averages of the lab values for generally unhealthy “healthy” people? In other words, the specific gravity of 1.012 might make a decent demarcation line between healthy and unhealthy in a population with generally subpar health, but in someone with “perfect health” perhaps the specific gravity of their urine would actually be lower.

    I appreciate that in RBTI (and so in health, generally), there is a great deal of variability in terms of what will work to bring an individual back to balance, and what works for one person may destroy another. That said, it seems to me that it cannot be so subjective that even the test numbers themselves which we are aiming for should also vary greatly from individual to individual. Like, person A should go for a brix of 2 but person B should go for a brix of 4. At that point, it seems to become a nihilistic (or at least hedonistic) free-for-all.

    Reply
    • My own personal research has led me to believe that feeling calm, with warm hands and feet, and other signs of being in a pro-thyroid, parasympathetic-dominant, low-stress state is the predominant key to health. Or at least, the primary key to restoring health. But perhaps there is something I could drink to get my brix down in that range without having the negative symptoms. I understand very little about Reams’s equation, so I remain open-minded about it. But RBTI is not something that everyone is going to jump up and do. If I can help someone with anxiety have a quick fix by ditching the expensive water bottle they tote around with them all day – sipping, for “health,” then that’s great knowledge. No need to test pee or otherwise. I’m not interested in just promoting one system, when I sometimes prefer the simple, substantial tips that cause the minimal amount of interference and head space in someone’s life. I know you know what I mean Mike. I appreciate your comment. I’m not ditching the equation, but making an observation. And one that could be useful for those who are never even going to know what a refractometer is. Much less use it or follow the entire Reams protocol.

      Reply
    • I’d also be interested in hearing the answer to Joe’s question. Would be very helpful to those of us who lack RBTI skillz.

      Sir Eat-a-Lot

      Reply
    • The yellowy side of optimal looks good to me. That is a rough guide. Most are just obsessed with clear urine because everyone wants to avoid dehydration, which is great. It’s just, having clear urine has some negatives to it that people aren’t aware of. We shouldn’t be infatuated with hydration to the point our urine is super clear and solute-free.

      Reply
  26. Man. This is fascinating–and it makes sense. I feel like I’ve been eating the food, and I’m still struggling with cold hands and cold toes and certain points of the day. My solution has been to eat more, but I’m also peeing a lot, and peeing clear. I rarely drink plain water, but I do drink about 4 cups of black coffee in the morning. I guess it might be time to ditch that. I’m NOT looking forward to that headache.

    Reply
    • Josh,
      You might consider upping your magnesium intake while withdrawing from caffeine. I find that it’s really helpful for all kinds of headaches, and you can take it orally or transdermally (epsom salt bath, magnesium oil or milk of magnesia rubbed on your skin before bed or bathing). Good luck!

      Reply
      • I might try that. I take Jarrow Mag Citrate in the morning. I might try one before bed too.

        Reply
    • Yeah, coffee will gitcha even more than plain water.

      Reply
  27. Hmmm, maybe I need to try adding salt to my lemonade or juice? I’m 11 weeks pregnant and am really struggling with keeping my sugars up. Its nearly impossible or seems like it, to get it up above 3 and when I do it still crashes in the middle of the night, at least I assume it does, since I have to pee. I’m very worried about being dehydrated since most people would say a pregnant women needs plenty of water. This is my fifth pregnancy by the way, so I’ve been used to drinking a ton of water while pregnant and nursing. I’m starting to think maybe I’m not eating enough. I’m terrified of gaining too much weight, though, since I gained 35 pounds my last pregnancy on a Nourishing Traditions diet and only lost maybe 15 of it. My husband tells me not to eat too much! The good thing about the Nourishing Traditions diet was I had the biggest baby, fastest labor and best postpartum ever. I’ve suffered from postpartum depression with my other babies, but none with the last and I always credited my Nourishing Traditions diet with that.
    I really need help with how to stay hydrated without crashing my sugars. I really feel dehydrated by the end of the day even they my sugars are usually around 3. I’ll drink some juice then and in the middle of the night because I wake up so thirsty and my eyelids are sticking to my eyeballs. I just feel dehydrated, yet when I drink more, my sugars drop. Also, I really got worried when my midwife visited me last week and had me pee on a stick that she always has you pee on that tells her P.H. and vit. C levels and all that, and my p.h. was low and she said that usually means you aren’t drinking enough. I really hadn’t kept up on drinking my lemonade that afternoon since I was busy baking, so I felt a little dehydrated. So, please give me any advice you can!

    Reply
    • I would eat the hell outta the food. And eat your husband’s food too. You should be eating at least to appetite during pregnancy, and gaining weight will probably be great for the baby. I would also eat some nice salty things and avoid the plain water – adding salt to your juice and lemonade and drinking more of your fluids with meals instead of constant sipping. I think you’ll like that better. Sleeping during the night without waking to pee, in and of itself is enough to really increase the health of the kiddo – and mom. Eat and sleep as much as possible for maximum metabolism, and maximum kid awesomeness.

      Reply
      • I am eating to appetite, but I definitely don’t feel as hungry as I remember being with my other pregnancies. I had started doing the RBTI eating schedule before I got pregnant so I’m used to a small supper. So, even now I get full pretty fast at supper time. I don’t every sip any liquids, pretty much try to follow the lemonade schedule, drinking 4 oz. every hour, as long as I remember, I’m not strict about it. Today, I’ve had a headache all day, but if I tried to drink much at all my sugars would drop! I really felt dehydrated but couldn’t drink much. Now its 8:00 p.m. and I’m feeling much better, not dehydrated and no headache. I’m very frustrated with this. I started adding salt to the lemonade and juice that I’ve been drinking today, I hope it helps. I really want to make the healthiest baby possible, but I’m paranoid this time, since I’m not following my Nourishing Traditions diet very strictly at all. I don’t take any prenatal vit. and didn’t with my last pregnancy, either. I’m taking the Min-Col and some other calcium supplements and drinking raw milk. I’m also taking Vit. E., B-12, and B-6. I’m worried about getting enough Vit. A and D, especially since I can’t stomach my Fermented CLO anymore.

        Reply
        • What about carbs/sugars, Mary? Low glucose often leads to headaches. I know WAPF thinks all sugar will kill you in 24 hours, but that’s just not true. Try organic evaporated cane juice since it is minimally processed and has minerals in it.

          It’s still early days, but I have eliminated headaches in 3 people so far with a 4:1 sugar:salt mixture dissolved in small increments under the tongue. Why does it work? My theory is that it gives a quick glucose boost to the brain, and the salts provide better neural conductivity.

          Reply
          • Looking straight at the water intoxication model of headaches, the sugar/salt taken dry like that would force water to flow, via osmosis, out of the cell towards the increased concentration of the extracellular fluids (which increase when you take in some salt/sugar). This would make the cells in the brain shrink slightly, removing the pressure that overhydrated cells created.

          • Thanks, you guys! I actually just tried that a little while ago and it seems to be helping. I just listed to Matt’s podcast and thought I should try it. I didn’t measure or anything because I’m too lazy just put some dehydrated cane juice in a spoon and a few lumps of Celtic Sea salt and put it under my tongue. I actually had to do it twice because my headache came back and I was ready to cry with frustration since its seems like I’m having a really hard time figuring all this out! Does anyone know how else I can get Vit. A and D without taking my FCLO?

  28. You’re right on the money, Matt. To borrow from Rick James, water is a hell of a drug.

    I’ve been working on fixing chronic health problems and boosting my metabolism using a mix of your advice and Ray Peat’s. My body temperature is now significantly higher in the afternoon and evening than it used to be. But I haven’t seen much improvement in the mornings, when I still have all the warmth and vitality of a frozen Siberian mastodon.

    So why am I so much colder in the morning? Well, it just so happens that I drink a fair amount of tea, coffee, water, and juice in the morning (to caffeinate, rehydrate, etc.), but very little in the afternoon and evening. Needless to say, I’ll be testing the advice in this article with great interest.

    Sir Eat-a-Lot
    (Formerly the cold, miserable, sorry-a$$ mutha known as Sir Drink-a-Lot.)

    Reply
    • You are coming out of the fasted state in the morning as well. In the evening the effect of all that food is kicking in. If you eat more and drink less in the morning and eat less and drink more in the evening you should be able to balance it out and feel more even keel all day long. I would just eat and eat and eat and drink very little in the morning until you feel ragin’ hot. Then you can start having fluids and stop stuffing yourself silly – riding out the heat wave into the evening.

      Reply
      • Eat more in the morning? OK, twist my arm. :)

        Seriously, I appreciate the advice. I have been eating breakfast (usually fruit + gelatin + a bit of leftovers), but haven’t been making it a big meal. I’ll try adding more carbs and salty foods to breakfast while easing off the liquids. When you see flames shoot across the sky at 8 a.m. Pacific time, you’ll know it’s working.

        Reply
  29. A few weeks ago I ditched the scheduled distilled water, got really serious about quality sleep ( a sleep mask really helped), backed off the intense exercise and have been hitting the high-starch low-pufa marks and my temp is now consistently 98.5. Woot! Adjusting the water and the sleep really did it. Of course now I’m fat (5’7”, 163lb.) from all of the rrarf and rbti big lunches but I feel so much better.

    Reply
    • I weigh a little more than that at 5’5″. You’re not fat ;)

      Reply
    • Feeling good and functioning properly is the first step in any health pursuit. Keep those temps up for awhile, get to where you can stuff your face with ungodly amounts of food without gaining an ounce, and then start throwing in exercise when it feels intuitive and living a normal life without obsessing over food and stuff. I bet in 6 months you are losing some fat and on your way.

      Reply
    • Jessica, I did those things, too. I also learned that too much liquid also made me cold. So, reading this blog post and all its lovely comments has led me to feel like I’m on the right path.

      I am 5’7″ and probably about 185 right now. I am curvy, but definitely NOT fat. Neither are you. When I dieted and actually made it to 160, I was too skinny. It lasted a whole two weeks.

      My ideal weight has changed. I dont want to be a skinny PITA. I want to be healthy, happy, and vibrant and be able to handle stress well. :)

      When first starting reading what you had to say, Matt, I had NO desire to try RBTI. I wanted to run in the other direction. (I kinda did, avoiding those posts. mostly because I didn’t understand them; was still wrapping my head around overeating, eating to satiety. and getting rid of the diet mentality.) Meanwhile, I gained about 10 pounds. I know a part of that is actually the food and rehabilitation, and now I am ready for the next step.

      Oh, yeah, and I told a bunch of people about this site and how I an sleeping through the night and feel beyer all the time

      Reply
  30. When I feel like “sipping” on something at work I get some water and add cane sugar and sea salt in about the ratio you mention above (4:1). Man that tastes good. The first time I tried it I couldn’t believe how good just salt and sugar could taste together (duh).

    Reply
    • That sounds good. I’ll try it someday.

      Reply
  31. “I have a feeling that the more one focuses on ideal hydration levels, the less one will need to overfeed on foods like pancakes and pizza – making the process much more efficient.”

    I am finding this to be true for me. :)

    Reply
  32. Wow. Thanks Matt. I’ve been following RARF and RBTI for awhile. Many things have improved. In fact I was just thinking how great life is when my brix isn’t crashing. However, I still crash almost everyday (hit 1.0). I am still flippin’ freezing all the time and I still have to pee more than anyone I know. I’ve been working on getting my brix above 2 but I may try to keep it even higher and see what happens. This could be the missing piece. Maybe I can finally get my temp up.

    I have to say I was just crashing and ate some extra salty cookies and I can feel the warmth coming back. I hope someday I don’t have to wear 2 sweaters inside my house everyday. I used to blame it on how thin I was but after a year of following you, I am not thin any more. At 5’5″ and 136 I’m not overweight but all of the fat is like an inner tube around my waist. It ain’t pretty but least I am not the biatch I use to be.

    Reply
    • It should help. For those with really low sugar tendencies I like to see them get the hell away from the low zones – getting nice and warm and happy and then trying to spend as much time there as possible.

      Reply
  33. I usually have a daily crash too. So far, no matter what I’ve done, I get cold in the afternoon, and at about 3:00, I am just TOAST.

    I drive about 45 minutes around that time every day, and it’s usually to the point where I have to sit in my car and close my eyes for about 15 minutes before I can go meet with people.

    This also usually coincides with a lot of clear peeing. An obnoxious amount of clear peeing, so I’m fooling around with stuff today. I didn’t drink coffee this morning. I had some juice, probably three 4 oz. glasses throughout the morning.

    Just now, I was CRAZY thirsty, and peeing clear, so I got a Sierra Mist and had about 4oz of that and some pretzels. I’m interested to see if there’s any change.

    Reply
  34. Hey all,

    New to the blog; 5 mo pregnant and just starting rrarf with no real emphasis on sugar v starch or any particular macronutrient; just trying to eat plenty of good food to get me through the next couple of months before I start (another) dietary experiment–ha, what’s the term… Orthorexic?

    This is way off topic but you all seem to be a particularly intelligent/engaged readership and I didn’t find any particular place that Matt had addressed this issue–does anyone have any insights about diet, metabolism, hormones, acne? (Not pregnancy related, although it sure as h is worse at the moment). Personal experiences or articles would be greatly appreciated… Apologies if this has been covered in depth and I missed it.

    TIA

    Reply
    • Hi Kristen,

      You may have noticed that I mentioned in my comment above that I am working on resolving some hormonal issues. Well, to give a bit more background I have been working on resolving chronic migraines, severe PMS symptoms, acne, unexplained weight gain, insomnia, etc. I started taking my Basel Body temp about two months ago and am using that to chart my progress. That has been really helpful. I am using charts out of Katie Singer’s book Garden of Fertility. Really helpful book in understanding how to read what you are seeing…

      If you read through Matt’s previous posts you will get more of a sense of how all of the pieces fit together but basically this is how I understand it so far: the thyroid, adrenals, and hormones, including the sex hormones produced by the brain all work in tandem with each other, one affecting the other. Carbohydrates stimulate the thyroid to heat up the body thus affecting the whole chain reaction and helping things balance out. Progesterone is an important part of this whole cycle. It is needed to maintain a slightly warmer environment to carry a baby in as well as many other things. However, if the body is stressed for any reason (thus activating the adrenal glands), progesterone will be in short supply and you will see symptoms of hormonal problems. What Matt has pointed out in this post is that the concentration of sugars and salt in the cells seem to play an important role in this whole cycle as well and that we can all stay a little warmer and thus hormone happy if not water down the salts and sugars in our cells.

      If you are into trying things, I have also had a lot of success in supporting my healing process with Earthing (www.earthing.com or for us Canadians http://www.earthingcanada.ca). It sounds like a simplistic idea but while I saw some really good improvement in my BBT’s with RARRFing, I had no troubles staying well above 36.5 degrees C all of the time with earthing. My PMS was some much better last month and acne is a thing of the past! Now with tweaking my water intake I think I might be able to turn the corner and get my metabolism to be consistently where I want it to be. Who knows? Maybe I will even lose some weight? I hope this helps you on your journey.

      Reply
      • Anisa,

        Thanks so much for the reply. I’ve been programmer to believe that all these carbs will send my acne into hyperdrive–glad to hear it wasn’t the case for you. And so nice to not feel guilty about eating a sandwich–ha!

        Interesting that you mentioned earthing–my weirdest craving hasn’t been food related at all but this incredible urge to go jump in the ocean. Even with all the terrible mixed signals of modern abuse, our bodies are so wise. Off to order an earthing sheet. :)

        Thanks again.

        Reply
        • Kristen and Mary.

          This brings up an interesting point. If you’re regularly using the refractometer, are you going to refuse the ‘glucose tolerance test’ that comes up sometime mid-way through your pregnancy. I’ve been holding off on buying one, but the refractometer to me is a much better monitor than that horrible test.

          Matt, the docs give you 50 grams of glucose in one sitting and check your blood sugars at 1,2 and 3 hour marks. I’m assuming there is no fructose, but either way shouldn’t the refractometer supplant the need for this?

          Reply
          • The refractometer is not a substitute. The glucose tolerance test shows something different. I would get a glucose monitor and do it yourself at home, working to improve the rate at which your body clears glucose from your bloodstream. Plus, 50 or 75 grams is not a very good glucose fitness test. It’s better to see what your glucose response to an actual mixed meal is that contains a good 150-200 grams of carbs in it.

          • KarlaB, my midwife is very anti-medical and anti-testing, so I don’t have to worry about that at all! It’s very nice not to have to worry about all that testing. She’s the best midwife ever. It would be hard to find someone else that would let me get away with not taking pre-natal vitamins and rely mostly on my food for vitamins.

          • Ditto on the midwife. Based on my low risk (age, general health, prior healthy pregnancy, no family history of diabetes–gestational or otherwise) and my habits (healthy balanced diet, light exercise, plenty of sleep) we are opting to skip the glucose tolerance test. I feel comfortable with this because I’m living the recommendations that would be made–don’t eat processed foods or excess sugar (I certainly don’t avoid it, but eat a mostly whole foods diet with few added sweeteners) moderate exercise etc–if I failed the test. Also, my midwife pointed out that If I were to suddenly display warning symptoms of gestational diabetes, we could reevaluate and do the tolerance test later. So, I wouldn’t avoid it if I felt it was necessary later in the pregnancy. That said, definitely follow the advice of your primary prenatal caregiver.

        • If it is ocean bathing you want you might also try some transdermal magnesium gel.

          Reply
          • Doh! *smacks self on forehead* Great suggestion; I had read on one of the earthing sites that the ocean is a great way to ground because you can submerge your whole body at once, wasn’t even thinking about the other things I could get out of it. I do have symptoms of low magnesium (though I haven’t been tested) and I have been eating sea salt like a fiend, just shy of licking it off a spoon. Love the forum quality of the commenters here.

          • This dude on youtube called facelessfatloss talks about a megnesium product that is a deodorant or something and says it’s like the fastest absorbing kinda way. Who knows..he seems pretty smart about a lot though. Nice dude.

  35. Matt,

    Thanks, I’m no longer freaked out by having urine with some color too it! In regards to overfeeding, through force of habit and also time to relax after work and eat a good amount of food, I tend to eat the most at dinner in the evening and the least at breakfast (usually a couple of eggs and some avocado). How much of this timing is an issue with trying to get body temps up? I’m dealing with a host of health issues, gut dysbiosis, borderline hypoglycemia, low thyroid, irregular periods, blah blah..and I’m trying so hard to eat the food (the foods I can tolerate, im rather limited) and heal. So far less water and more salt is helping a lot.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • That depends entirely on your daily rhythms. I find that the morning hours are the most conducive to low fuel levels myself. That’s when I’m most prone to have a lull in energy, cold hands and feet. It takes some hard work to get myself warmed up during that portion of the day, whereas a single date at 3pm might be enough to make me warm if I’m feeling chilly at that time. So I eat lots of french toast with syrup and fruit at breakfast. Or something similar. Would love to see you carbing up in the morning at least. A breakfast like that will have you running on adrenaline all day unless you are a metabolic superstar like Chief.

      Reply
  36. Last night I couldn’t sleep as hungry. Faced with a dilemma: eat snack and sleep but wake to pee in the night or don’t eat, take ages to get to sleep and wake, sweating and hungry in the middle of the night and have to eat something. I went for the snack (banana and cottage cheese (hoping the salt might help) and sure enough I had to wake to have a long pee in the middle of the night. What is going on here? Ideally I wouldn’t find myself hungry at bedtime but I have a hard time hearing my hunger cues although getting better.

    Reply
    • Never deny yourself food when hungry. If you had consumed something a little more calorie dense and larger you would have fared better. Like a large candy bar. The sweating and hunger in the middle of the night feeling is a more extreme form of “having to pee.” I think the body dumps water out via sweat as the next step in the panic, “just ran out of glucose and electrolyte” and need to dump this water out to concentrate those fuels.

      If you continue to eat more and more by day then you can continue eating less and less at dinner. But start with eating less at dinner and that’s trouble, especially for someone who “leans” toward the underweight side to begin with. Eating less at dinner only works when you are really well-fed during the day, and well-fed in general (not underweight/overly lean). Keep at it and you will be sleeping through the night no problem.

      Reply
      • Matt,

        Why would someone who has been overfeeding for several weeks suddenly have a craving for a calorie-dense food 1 hour after having a huge dinner and being very full? This after having no cravings for weeks since overeating. Find it odd…

        Reply
        • Who knows. Did you have a hard workout before eating this meal or something?

          Reply
          • No but did the night before. It was an odd sudden craving for peanut butter…and cookies, but didn’t have any.

          • I have this sometimes too. I do pretty physical work most days, so I guess maybe that has something to do with it, but also I find, that anything with water in it will fill me up faster to the point to where I’m physically full but maybe my body still wants more energy. Like rice that’s too watery or potatoes. I craved something last night after a big meal, so today I topped off my last meal with as much pancake as I could manage. I’m tryin to do a chiefrok approach but finding that it’s kinda difficult without the proper knowledge (im waiting for his new posts damnit! =) and I realize I definitely am like, crashing or somethin in the morning, pissing way too much, I need stinkin sugar and salt I guess. So that’s why I gotta another comment asking Matt about powdered gatorade and adding salt =P GOOD LUCK

          • I suspect that getting to Chief status requires a process over time. I can’t fast all day right now. Cold and peeing all day. But I’ve decided to totally eat like a BOSS right now and step up my weight training. One thing that is clear about Chief’s approach is that it is a step-by-step process, and those steps are:

            1) Eat like a badass
            2) Get fat, hot, and diesel
            3) Lose fat spontaneously as you continue to eat more food, less often

            I have never tried overfeeding really hard on more palatable foods with wide variety and other factors that stimulate calorie intake. In the past when I tried to eat hard I couldn’t really take in that many calories. But things are different now. I can squeeze in 5,000-6,000 daily with no problems, and all it is seeming to do right now after an initial need to adjust my belt loop by a notch, is make my muscles grow extremely fast, clear my skin, reduce my need for sleep, increase my energy level, etc.

          • Dude, I think it would be really cool if you did an all out Chief experiment. Get a fat Mohawk goin an shit. That would inspire me a lot, and I’d get better information cuz you blog a lot faster than he does LOL. Sorry Chief, I know you’re busy helpin people an stuff I’m just bein a silly douche. Then you and Chief can travel across the country whoopin dat ass on people who drink diet rite and live off iceberg lettuce. I know that if I got better sleep and was able to work out I would be better off. I currently have wrist injuries (one strained, one sprained, it’s been a long time too..) and feel like I’m still not physically adjusted to be able to handle more “stress” to my body besides work.

          • Yeah, that’s pretty much my dream. I think what I lack that Chief has is straight up eating aggression. I would probably have gotten a lot further along in my ability to help people overcome their low metabolisms, while also making them totally free, liberated, and empowered from anything pertaining to health food, if I had been more Chiefy along the way. But I’m getting into it now. Chief and Corena’s line, “eating like a badass” says more than my entire Diet Recovery eBook haha. Only 4 words. What a time saver.

  37. Matt, I’ve gained 15 lbs (from 115lbs in Nov) and with a 5’0 frame, it’s something to get used to (moving into size 6 territory). I finished your Metabolism ebook (good stuff!) and am getting the impression that this journey (arriving at true lean weight) is going to take about a year. (The starvation study showed this.) So, are all these exercises (refractometer, salt/sugar intake, etc.) suppose to guide us in that course of a year, or will it all clear up once we reach our natural weight? Also, with all the RRARFing, how do I know that I’m not raising my ‘set point’?

    BTW, saltworks has some great flavored salts that could pep up drinks. I use their espresso salt for my Colombian hot chocolate (the real kind w piloncillo) and their vanilla salt for fruit juices.

    Reply
  38. Hi, Matt!
    It seems like everything I believed growing up is wrong, and here is yet another idea I’ve subscribed to for decades that might actually be hurting me. I am beginning to understand what you’re saying about hydration but wonder how detox plays into this. I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease last year, after 10 years of symptoms and other diagnoses (sero-negative RA, fibromyalgia, etc.); I also have amalgam fillings and other heavy metal/toxin exposure (unnecessary childhood and college vaccines! Yay!) In other words, I have been under the impression that I have a lot of junk to be flushing from my body so I’ve been exercising and sitting in the sauna or steam room 2-3 times each week, and therefore pushing fluids. I feel great when I keep up with that routine, but, not surprisingly, I usually have ice-cold hands and feet. In fact, I take a bath almost every night, just to warm up (which isn’t such a bad thing, because the epsom salt I add further helps with detoxing. But the cold body and icy hands and feet certainly aren’t desirable.) Good to know about the connection to over-consumption of water. But how do I find a good balance? I still feel like erring on the side of over-hydration would be safer, because at least I’m still eliminating the dead Lyme bacteria and other toxins from my system (I get really achy when my body doesn’t eliminate them fast enough, and slow elimination is tied to dehydration).

    Also, my ND recommended vitamins for adrenal fatigue, which I spread out throughout the day, so my urine always seems to be bright yellow from that. How else can I judge hydration levels, by how many times I urinate each day? And what’s a normal range? I saw 4-5 mentioned in a comment above, is that a good gauge?

    I found you right around the time that Lyme fell on my radar, so I’ve been pretty sidetracked by learning about that and haven’t read all of your articles yet. I apologize if you’ve already addressed these very topics I’m asking about. I’d love to hear your thoughts, or even just be pointed toward existing articles if it’s already been covered. Thanks so much!
    Continuing to enjoy your humor (oh, and the information is cool, too :)
    Alyssa

    Reply
    • I think there are a lot of misconceptions about detoxing. I think you get your batteries running on high and your pathways of elimination and liver will work a lot better. Henry Bieler, for example, describes someone with warm hands and feet…

      “As digestion and detoxication of food poisons depend greatly upon oxidation in the liver and intestines, it follows that the typical adrenal type, with his perfect oxidation, has thorough digestion. In fact, he may and often does boast that he can eat any and all kinds of food without discomfort. The exogenous uric acid products as well as the indoxyl compounds are completely detoxicated in the liver, do not accumulate in the blood, nor are they found in the urine.”

      This sort of points to other ways of looking at this. Keep in mind that you will produce way more white blood cells, and your immune system will be stronger if you can get your hands and feet warm and body temperature up. I know of no better way to address a chronic infection of any kind. Just make sure that if you do come off of drinking so much water that this move accompanies a full-on attempt at getting body temperature really cranking. Thanks for your comment. Glad to have you here.

      Reply
  39. No one is ever going to see this, but …

    This matches what I was warned about when I was considering baby swim classes (for six months and under) for my son. I did some research on what the dangers of that might be (not drowning – they are very closely monitored, obviously), and the #1 thing was water poisoning. The babies would keep drinking the pool water as long as they were in it, and it causes some of them to seize or even die.

    We did not do those kinds of lessons. John can learn when he’s 3 and knows not to drink the pool water.

    P.S. I have been paying more attention to my water intake and my moods during the day, and it really does matter. I clearly have “issues” in the morning. I keep putting off buying a refractometer, but I will get around to it one day.

    P.P.S. The new site doesn’t let you subscribe to comments? :(

    Reply
    • I don’t think you necessarily need a refractometer. But damn it’s just all so interesting. Biofeedback is the big winner though, as even the refractometer has its limitations – like when you start crashing you can feel the negative signs and have to pee like a mofo. When you do, it is mixed with your more concentrated urine and may come out with a reading of like 4.0. Then, 45 later you pee again and it’s a 1.0. In other words, the refractometer can show the crash after the fact, but you detect the crash much sooner than it shows up on a refractometer once you get to know yourself well enough.

      Reply
      • This is exactly the phenomenon I’ve experienced – I can feel very clearly a sugar crash with shakiness, irritability, and/or cold hands and feet. But the refractometer will tell me I’m at 4.5. So the most helpful information I’ve gleaned from my refractometer is that I’ve been going *high.* And I haven’t figured out exactly what that feels like yet, and I never know when it will be high because it might be 6 in the morning when I first wake up, or 7 after a fairly healthy meal (cheerios w/ skim milk and banana) or as high as 8 after a huge mixed meal – but not always. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, as a matter of fact. Pretty frustrating. Not to mention I seem to be alone in my problem – Jib mentioned somebody on the RBTI site with high brix, but that’s all I’ve heard. On the other hand, this information is at least showing me why I haven’t lost any of the extra fat, as my sugars are kind of on a roller coaster ride all day, most days.

        Reply
        • If you feel noticeable crashes, then I would treat them as such. That’s why I’m not married to any one reading on a refractometer being ideal. Because the sweet spot varies from person to person. You may be hyponatremic by the time you get down to 4.5, and need to keep it at 7 to feel warm, toasty, hypermetabolic, and cheery. If that’s the case, so be it.

          The person Jib mentioned with very high brix and low salts is a severe diabetic (postprandial blood glucose spikes into the 500′s), and is passing quite a bit of sugar in his urine. Drinking water has no effect on this, and I believe probably makes it much worse by lowering metabolism and depleting cellular energy levels even more (which raises adrenal output, raising the blood sugar even more and preventing glucose clearance).

          The type 2 diabetics I have worked with have all had a long history of frequent urination, which, when they fixed that, felt much better and had great improvements in glucose clearance. Quick improvements too. Like a week to drop postmeal glucose from 359 to 180 in one person I’ve been communicating with.

          Reply
          • Interesting. Lots to think about. I know for a fact my postprandial blood glucose is under 120, so maybe I don’t have to worry about diabetes as much. I thought the higher levels in my urine (5-8 brix) were indicative of a diabetic issue – at least that’s what the doctors have always led me to believe. Right now my sweet spot as far as energy, warmth, and a sense of well-being seems to be between 4 and 5 brix.

            Are there any feedback clues you know of that would indicate urine brix being too high? I don’t want to have to keep peeing on a refractometer indefinitely, but I can’t seem to pinpoint any particular symptoms that indicate a high level. Except, wait, now that I think about it, really high, around 8 or so, my digestion seems to come to a standstill and won’t move for several hours. Hey, I just thought of that!

            Speaking of digestion – I can’t seem to shake this heartburn/reflux I’m having in the evenings. Meal, no meal, eat leafy greens, drink some milk, drink some orange juice – nothing wards it off for longer than an hour or two. Can’t seem to figure out where it came from and how to get rid of it.

          • Danyelle, when RBTI posts started, I tried to increase water intake to see what would happen. Started getting massive heartburn flare ups in the evening. By reducing water intake greatly and keeping salt intake about the same it has gone away again. Too much water for me would seem to effect stomach acid/bile… Do you drink lots of liquids?

          • I had actually been cutting back for several weeks now, but the water I do drink is usually in the afternoon, which could be contributing to the evening heartburn. That definitely could be it – I had been trying to drink water to bring my refractometer reading down – it seems to jump up after lunch – not necessarily because I was thirsty. I’ll check it out.

          • I was trying the same thing, to see if distilled water would bring down refractor readings, which it did. But the dinner time, early evening heartburn was very aggravating! Since stopping the extra water during the day, heartburn is gone!

          • Heartburn was an issue for me with RBTI. Took me a while to get over it too. Just stopping the constant drinking wasn’t enough. It took a week of eating really big to get back on track.

          • Thanks for that info, Undertow, I didn’t drink any water after lunch yesterday, and the heartburn was way, way better last night. Still there, but way better. But I was quite thirsty, so I would sip some milk when I absolutely had to. But if I can’t drink in the morning because of sugar crashes, and not in the afternoon because of heartburn, when can I drink? Or do I need to even? I have no idea how much I really need and my biofeedback is obviously all out of whack. I am excited to figure it out, though, because I think I’ve been drinking too much water for years and years. Guess I had a drinking problem.

          • That is good to hear Danyelle. Took me about a week to get the heartburn under control. But it was definitely the extra water doing it.

            Yesterday I tried the no drinking too, just some small amounts of milk with breakfast and dinner, and what ever water content came from my food. Had a horrible sleep last night, woke at at 2am and 5am with high levels of energy and way too warm (very restless body). Curious what that was about… Seems like there is a very fine line for hydration levels. Today I am sipping a sugar/salt beverage throughout the day and see what happens tonight.

          • Drinking too little makes that happen to me too. There is a fine line. I will feel way too energized, kinda restless-leggy, and super hot if I don’t get enough fluids in. Like right now I think I could start a fire with the soles of my feet. Cooling off by sipping some Graporade. (1 quart water, 1 quart grape juice, 1T salt)

          • Have you tried making your own homemade gatorade-like stuff? The added salt might fix this for you, enabling you to at least drink a little bit more.

          • Are you eating a decent amount of pork – the meat, not necessarily the fat?

          • Replying here, reply button missing on the other thread. I am going try making some homemade gatorade. See how that goes, thanks!

            But ya last night was weird, felt like I could get up and go for run at 2am, although I feel exhausted today, so will be trying more liquids today for sure.

          • Is the pork question for me or Mr. Tow? If me, no, I haven’t (knowingly) had any pork in months, neither the meat nor the fat. Strangely, I don’t even miss it – not even bacon. I’m not sure what happened. I gave it up, but my husband was reluctant, until he spent a week in Poland where he ate almost exclusively pork. When I picked him up from the airport, he said that every joint in his body hurt. Later, when he was talking about his meals (including 3 colors of coleslaw with every dish) he mentioned how much pork there was and how little/no beef or chicken. I suggested maybe it was the pork that affected his joints, he went along with it, so neither of us eat it now.

          • I was asking you. Just out of curiosity. Pork does strange things to the refractometer readings. And someone I communicated with today said eating pork belly made her body temperature plummet the following day, but about 2 degrees F! But I suspect it was actually the alcohol that she drank that did that. Anyway. Carry on.

          • I have been a water-crazy drinker for 10-15 years and have had reflux issues in the evenings. After my evening meal I would feel not great and drink tons of water to “detox” this feeling and this probably made it even worse. I will be trying this less water deal to see if it helps. Thanks.

          • Matt, why exactly would drinking with high sugars lower metabolism in the diabetic with high sugar low salts? Is it because of the already low salt concentration would decrease even further? or is it that the cells are already struggling getting sugar from the blood (despite it being very high) and drinking water lowers the available amounts to the cells making it even harder?

        • You’re not alone Danyelle! I too have high Brix levels, most of the time 5-7. And I encounter the same problem where I will get sugar crashing symptoms but still have a 5-7 Brix. My other problem is I have a very high conductivity reading, often in the 30-35C range. The conductivity should be 4-5 times the Brix (to be ideal, anyway), so even with my Brix at a 5-6 (it only occasionally goes up to 7), my conductivity is too high. This could also be why my Brix are so high, because there is a lot of salt in the urine which IS picked up by the refractometer and also raises conductivity very high.

          I am underweight, by the way, not overweight like many that report high Brix.

          I am currently trying to drink more often, 2oz every hour, but taper down before I know my sugars will crash which usually happens around 11:30am and 4:30pm. So maybe .5-1oz at the 10:00,11:00, and maybe 3:00 and 4:00 times. Ill keep everyone posted.

          Reply
      • I need a biofeedback cheat sheet. If you feel this, do this.

        Reply
  40. Hey Matt,

    I just read this article and was pleasantly surprised to see that you mentioned my little 4:1 sugar:salt mixture trick in your post. I’ve been experimenting with it more since I first wrote about it, and it keeps on producing good results. I had a friend who was super-stressed try it and the headache she had got better within 15 minutes. It’s great for any kind of afternoon slump, stress relief or “over-hydration event” and it tastes good too.

    These days I drink a LOT less water than I did a few months ago, and just pay attention to my internal state to avoid dehydrating when exercising. Eventually I will probably start analyzing my pee, too. :-)

    Rock on,
    Cameron

    Reply
    • Thanks Cameron. Glad you chimed in as I couldn’t quite remember who the hell said that. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but can’t imagine anything simpler. Simple is good. Perhaps I’ll patent a headache relief formula capsule with salt and sugar in it one day and get all Mercola on dat ass! Ka-Ching!!

      Reply
      • LoL, that’s a great idea. I’ll be your marketing partner, and we’ll call it something really catchy / cutting edge, like… Electrolyte-your-head-ache-away (dot com)

        Reply
        • Nah, we shouldn’t tell them it’s just salt and sugar in the pill. We should say that it’s like a special “proprietary Himalayan blend” or something, used by the Tibetans to cure headaches for long days of meditation. Or at least use some latin or something else schnazzy-sounding. Kind of like how the supplement industry calls aspirin “white willow bark.”

          Reply
      • How about salted caramels? All this salt and sugar talk drove me to buy a candy thermometer so I can make them.

        Reply
        • Or some of those yoghurt-covered pretzels? I think salted caramel sounds pretty wicked. Or maybe salted halfasses. I haven’t tried that yet.

          Reply
        • I made some salted caramel shortbread bars a few months ago when I was still afraid of grains, so they’re made with almond flour. But now I’ll just make up a batch with real flour and happily (and toastily) munch away. Love salted caramel…

          Reply
          • Oh! and we make this awesome salted caramel ice cream… OIy!

  41. Hi Matt, I just found this website and I’m pleased to see someone in the health world who’s much more levelheaded than many of the other “gurus” out there and is willing to adjust their views when presented with new evidence. I really appreciate the approach you take to health & nutrition and how you present it to your audience in an honest way.

    The worst thing is that the 8 glasses of 8oz recommendation sprung from a misunderstanding in a study (like so many other health recommendations.) The idea was that the average human needs about 64 oz of water a day but that was taking into account the large amounts of water found in food, things like bread and meat and especially fruit have lots of water in them so the actual amount of liquid one needs to drink (while obviously varying from person to person) could certainly be less than this arbitrary recommendation. I’ve always only drunk when I felt I needed to, forcing myself to drink when I’m not thirsty is just unpleasant.

    I drink A LOT when I work out though- not even so much when I’m doing cardio (which I usually keep in the 20-30 min range and I’ll take one, maybe two small sips) but when I’m weightlifting I get especially thirsty and go through a 20-30 oz of water in no time. What’s the mechanism going on there, out of curiosity?

    Cheers,
    Justine

    Reply
    • I pointed this out in the audio interview I just did (see next post) – about the total fluid intake later devolving into the recommendation to take in that much water.

      I notice massive increases in thirst when weightlifting too. I think the muscle cells must suddenly request a lot more water for growth. I know that starting a weightlifting routine, for example, will make me puff up and hold a lot more water in general. When I go from not weightlifting to weightlifting I usually gain 5-10 pounds in the first week. When trying to grow, muscle cells like to hold more water. At least that’s the premise behind the effectiveness of creatine supplementation, which keeps the cells superhydrated for better growth. That’s my guess.

      Reply
      • I need(?) to drink a lot of water when lifting, too. I add sea salt and blackstrap molasses to the water and try to limit it to 30 ounces per 60 minute workout.

        Reply
        • I was chugging water, but the last two workouts I have switched to 50-50 OJ/water with plenty of salt added. Tasty. Not sure if it is superior, but it tastes superior and makes me feel less water bloat.

          Reply
          • Out of curiosity what salt are you using and I can’t really get a grip of how much salt to use…Like, how much salt can you really add to a drink before it tastes like shit? And I was thinkin about maybe using that gatorade powder for keepin my sugars up at work (you an chief recommended juice) and I wanted to maybe add a lil more salt to that (u said gatorade used to be better when it tasted nastier) and I was also thinkin about tellin my mom to start addin a pinch or somethin to everything she drinks so maybe she’ll level out her minerals or somethin over time. She’s the diabetic non stop diet rite sipper. tell me about it…

          • Yes Bobo, it’s hard not to become diabetic when you are a non-stop diet rite sipper, I imagine. Adding salt to the gatorade and making a weak mix would probably be the ultimate. I use Kosher salt but any salt will help to achieve the desired effect. You’ll discover how much salt it takes to make something taste nasty. And your taste buds are probably the best gauge of how much you should use. That may be true for the sugar in it too. Maybe not. And you’ll also see that your tastes change depending on your immediate needs (which are effected by what you’ve eaten, how much you have slept, what time of day it is, and all kinds of things – which is what makes paying attention to our inner desires and preferences so useful from a health perspective).

          • Thank you very much for the information. I apologize but I’m not sure what you mean by weak mix lol. Like, only enough water just to make the solution cut err. And I forgot to ask but, would you use tap water if you had to or always go for distilled? Not to be on tap waters side, but thinkin about it, it seems like the minerals would better absorb with the tap cuz it’ll have less of a pull on them like the distilled would. or some shit… =)

          • Tap water contains some undesirables, but so does pretty much every type of water. Or every substance on earth for that matter when you think about it. The type of water one drinks probably gets way too much attention these days. Way more than it’s worth. But tap does taste crappy, and that’s more of my guiding force when it comes to water. I distill tap water at home because it’s free, doesn’t expose the water to plastic n’ stuff, and makes the water taste 10 times better, especially in Florida where the water tastes gnarly.

          • Hey Matt,

            What’s the deal with distilled water? Why should one drink, or not drink it? Why are you drinking it? Thanks.

      • Oops, I got so excited when I read this I didn’t check the next post! Hehe :) Thanks for the fast reply.

        That’s interesting about the weight gain, and it parallels my own experience as well.

        Reply
  42. Matt Stone, I have a question! I’ve noticed that my pee looks lighter at a 5 on the refractometer than it used to. Do you know what this means? (I’m still doing lots of carbs and extra salt..)

    Reply
    • Not sure. Hopefully it doesn’t mean you are dying or passing a lot of sugar into your urine. How are you feeling? Sleeping better yet? Anyone? Bueller?

      Reply
      • I was sleeping better… I was all set to write and tell you.. I had good run of making it through the night for a few days, and then boy got sick, and I was up a lot in the night. That set me back a bit.

        This salt thing feels like it’s really helping me keep things stable, and I’ve been drinkIng heavily salted OJ for the past few days. I think I’m figuring out how to use the sugar/salt combo to flatten the roller coaster. Then maybe sleep will come?

        When I tested my daughter’s pee once, I expected her reading to be a two and it was a five. she’s a carb lover…. Thought maybe the change in my pee color might mean I’m handling sugar better. ????

        Reply
        • It might mean that. I remember when I tried to eat a really high fruit diet my urine was like dark apple juice for several days, and smelled really sugary and strange. After about a week it got much more clear and the strange smell went away, along with some of the initial negative feelings I had from eating so much fruit, like feeling yeasty and my teeth hurting.

          I’m glad you are making progress with your experiment here. The salt does seem to do some great things for certain people.

          Reply
          • I think the salt is the missing piece…. I can drink a whole glass of orange juice w/ a ton of salt, and I completely avoid the rush and crash…..AND I don’t get acid stomach. Doesn’t make any sense to me, but who am I to argue?

            You mentioned lower sugars through juice rather than water. Did you say salted? Not sure, but I’m salting the hell out of anything sweet. Anyway, it worked!! That combo makes me feel really good, too! I’m am feeling the best I’ve felt in a loooong time (even with my broken sleep).

            Matt Stone, you’re a smarta guy!!

          • Taking 5 years to realize that our cells need electrolyte isn’t exactly genius level thinking skills!

    • maybe you might need to recalibrate? Just a thought.

      Reply
      • Yeah, clean the panel really good too. Sometimes it can develop a little film on it which keeps the reading too high.

        Reply
      • That was a good thought…. I checked this am, and it’s still calibrated, though.

        Reply
  43. I think I’m gonna think myself in circles on this stuff. After a lot of peeing the past couple of days, I decided to back way off the liquids. I made 16 oz of water with a 4:1 sugar/salt ratio. When I was thirsty today, I drank some of that. I haven’t peed nearly as much, and it’s not TOTALLY clear, but pretty close–and right now I feel pretty drained/like ass, but thirsty. The good news is that I’ve stayed warm all day. That’s new.

    Then again, it might just be the four funky cookies I ate.

    Reply
  44. Hey Matt.

    How’s it shakin? Sleep is getting better and been waking up to 97.9 and 98.2 type temps. But then they go down after breakfast. Well, meals in general. I assume that’s normal? So I guess my first question is: when are the best times to check temperatures.

    Second question, and I think I already know the answer (but need to hear ya say it!): Which is more important, raising temps or keeping sugars stable? And is there any number on either measurement that trumps the other?

    I hope this makes sense. But my temp is going down…perhaps I’m foggy.

    Fanks,
    KarenE

    Reply
    • It’s common for temps to go down after eating, especially after breakfast. But it is not NORMAL or healthy. It’s more a sign of reactive hypoglycemia (or at least, low energy supply at the cellular level). I would continue experimenting with more salt and less fluid intake, stuffing yourself silly when you do eat, etc. Find, for you, what is the most warming meal. That’s you homework assignment haha! I’m on a similar hunt for myself personally. Pizza is pretty much the winner right now, with its very high salt level, rapidly-absorbed carbs, low water content, palatability, and high everything-ness. But pizza is kinda my favorite, so it’s no coincidence that what my taste buds guide me towards is what I need most in the current state I’m in. I find the question “do you crave salty foods or sweet foods?” to be a particularly revealing question.

      Reply
  45. Oh, and I’ve peed clear and had a sugar reading of 3 and higher before as well. Though, it’s usually at night. Maybe the RBTI water washes cleared out the b vitamins from my system? I’ll keep an eye on it and see if that still happens with less water washin over me…

    Reply
    • At night the urine always has a higher brix than it would during the day, as if you have to adjust for the fact that you haven’t had anything to drink for many hours. The urge to urinate during the night is, in and of itself, a sign that the body is not happy with its cellular glucose and electrolyte concentrations, and is dumping out water to concentrate it.

      Reply
  46. What about dieuretics, like parsley tea? Could they help at the cellular level? I have that problem where skin is dry, lips slightly patched, feel thirsty, but urine is super clear.

    Reply
    • I think diuretics make the issue worse, not better. And yes, it’s typical for skin, lips, and throat to feel dry when urine is super clear all the time. It’s probably the body needing to rehydrate, but unable to do so unless the water comes packaged with lots of sugar and electrolyte.

      Reply
      • Thanks Matt! This is very promising as by allowing the dry symptoms (skin, lips, mouth) and having raisins and cheese before bed, got a 117/72 bp reading (rare now since I had kids), did not wake at night and slept deep, and had a morning BBT of 98.6 (5:50 am!). Right now, I’m at 98.8 (non-digital thermometer). Incredible, as I’d broached the topic of overhydration with docs multiple times before (I’m a very nutrient dense eater so I thought I was diluting all my enzymes therefore being nutrient deficient) and was always turned away from that idea.

        Anne Marie just posted alot of ‘thyroid’ type books she’s reading, but if I look into them, I know I’ll get sidetracked with other approaches to my issues (hormonal, weight, etc.). So I’ll stay away for now. Will focus also on balancing hydration to increase temps and slow down on RRARF as my husband finally (kindly) pointed out concern with the weight gain (except in one part ;). I was ready to slow down since my over-obsession with food and hitting the right sensation has now dulled. I can still eat to enjoy, and that’s fine with me. THANKS!!!!!

        Reply
  47. Thanks so much, Matt! Very enlightening! I pee frequently and am very thirsty. Would the adding salt trick work with my veggie juice and herbal tea too? If so how much?

    Reply
  48. Veronica. The ratio of sugar to salt is 4:1( 4T of sugar and 1T salt) ….so mix a batch of this up and add it by the teaspoon until it tastes good to you. Try it in distilled water first. This corrected my urge to pee every 1/2 hour.

    Reply
  49. Matt- Don’t forget, over hydration is one of the favored methods of suicide because of the availability and effectiveness of the technique. I learned that in a psych class in college.

    I for one, was never in favor of drowning or monkeying with my blood volume. Low blood volume: bad. Dilute blood: very bad.

    Reply
  50. Kombucha, gingerale, beet kvass and kifer……. I have been following Nourishing tradition type eating for a few years and love a lot of the old style ways and recipes. I have been under the impression that the kinds of drinks I listed were really good for detoxing and gut flora stuff and the more you drink the better. I can see now, from what you have written and all the comments that even these super drinks can be a problem with too much.

    The ration of sugar and salt is pretty good in gingerale and beet kvass so I guess that is good, I’m just going to slow down a bit. The other positive is that when making these homemade drinks, it is a lot of work so if I can make them less, that is fantastic. Thanks Matt for all your research.

    Reply
  51. Thanks, Heather! What do you guys think of using raw honey instead of granulated sugar? Or is there something better with the dry sugar that I don’t know about?

    Reply
  52. Hey Matt,

    I’ve been perusing and greatly enjoying your site. I’ve started feeding and resting. I can’t tell the color of my pee because of the vitamins I take. Do you recommend not taking vitamins and just getting nutrients from whole foods? Will a refractometer reading me affected by vitamins in my pee?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  53. I’m not a big fan of honey, although I have some local stuff in my cupboard. I prefer molasses or coconut sap sugar (both very high in minerals). I don’t use the same thing everyday. Yesterday, I used pear nectar…..there are endless choices of juice to use. I try to get the best quality I can. I’ve even stir date sugar into my water (lumpy) and it tastes fine too. Why not take your vitamins at suppertime so it won’t interfere with your testing. I have some whole food vitamins I’m using up, but don’t really take them everyday.

    Reply
  54. This is really interesting. I have had a low body temp (in the 97′s) for a long time. But since the birth of my first child a year and a half ago I have had major issues. Eight months after he was born I developed Esophagitis/GERD/Gastritis. I gave up dairy, changed my diet, tried supplements and nothing has worked. The only thing I could think of was when all this started I got my cycle back and maybe it was a hormonal thing.

    But after reading this and hearing my husband’s constant words “You drink too much water”, I am thinking I have been suffering from overhydration! I drink at least 2 quarts of water and lots and lots of hot tea because I am always cold. In the last 6-8 months I have to get up and pee in the middle of the night at least 3 times and I have frequent urination during the day too. I started drinking more water after having the baby because of breastfeeding and wanting to stay hydrated. After 1 and a half years later I am still breastfeeding and still having health issues, most recently brain fog, fatigue and memory issues. Do you have any tips for me? How much water should I drink and is this any different for a nursing mother? Have you heard of cases of reflux from too much fluids? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I think the digestive problems are most likely from reduced metabolic rate – typical after a pregnancy. Drinking more just magnifies the problem. I think the water indirectly causes the problem, not directly causes the problem – as I have had water trigger that effect in the past – but then increased metabolism and could drink water without that problem being triggered. If that makes sense.

      Reply
      • Thanks for replying so quickly! I am new to your site and don’t know much about how to fix metabolic rate issues. What advice or resources can you give me? Also, would say, a pinch of sea salt and a tsp of raw honey before bed help me from getting up to go in the middle of the night?

        Reply
        • That might help. Reading Diet Recovery is a good starting point, but don’t be too afraid of more palatable “naughty” foods. They seem to make the whole process just that more efficient. Once you get metabolism up you can get back to eating more “health food” if you desire. All this stuff about monitoring hydration levels and what not is a pretty new edition. So just stay tuned to the discussions we have going on about that, and recent posts.

          Reply
          • I will check out Diet Recovery for sure. I have toned down my liquid intake today and feel a lot better so far. How do you feel about liquids with meals? There is conflicting info on this. I have been avoiding them with meals to be sure not to dilute my digestive juices but I still drink water right after. When I think about it, I am drinking way too much liquid through out the day and that can’t be helping my digestion if my system is constantly diluted.

          • I drink quite a bit with meals. Eating makes me really thirsty, and I trust this. I notice no negative effect on my digestion at all. And I actually prefer to take liquid with meals rather than by themselves because they are coming packaged with plenty of electrolyte and carbohydrate. Even plain water won’t crash you out if you drink it with plenty of food.

          • Makes sense. I think I tend to drink too much with or right after meals and I feel overfull and bloated for hours. I must say though it is going on day 2 of decreases the amount of liquids I drink all day and I have felt better than I have in over a year. I am peeing less, not waking up 3-4 times a night to go. I don’t have that sick feeling when I eat and drink too much. My reflux has been pretty much nonexistent and I am not burping all the time. I am monitoring how much I use the restroom and the color and concentration of it to let me know how much fluids are right for me. I feel more awake and energized (this is sounding like a commercial, lol) but seriously, it’s true. I am not 100% better but I am a hell of a lot better than I was a few days ago. I am thankful for this article and your replies!

          • Hey Matt,
            What are these “naughty foods” of which you speak? Diet Recovery says 99% healthy food.
            Thanks!
            V

          • I suspect that, at least for some people, refined, highly-palatable foods are superior for raising metabolism more quickly. Like pancakes, ice cream, chocolate milk, pastries, pizza, that kind of stuff.

  55. Matt, why exactly would drinking with high sugars lower metabolism in the diabetic with high sugar low salts? Is it because of the already low salt concentration would decrease even further? or is it that the cells are already struggling getting sugar from the blood (despite it being very high) and drinking water lowers the available amounts to the cells making it even harder?

    Or is it just that blood sugar really has a lot less to do with cellular sugars than I think?

    Reply
    • I find that blood sugar and brix can actually move in opposite directions. Probably because being at higher brix lowers stress hormones, allowing sugar to clear from the blood and get into the cells, get stored as glycogen, etc.

      Just remember that stress hormones RAISE sugar in the blood and cause insulin resistance. Insulin LOWERS sugar in the blood. The key to improving glucose metabolism, in my experience, is minimizing stress hormones. Avoiding overhydration seems to be a big factor in minimizing stress hormones, for some people.

      Reply
  56. I’ve always been a big believer that we overcomplicate life, esp. nutrition so I keep looking and looking for simple ways to help myself that don’t include incredibly restrictive diets. I have disagreed (instinctively) about the water thing all along. I simply almost never want to drink it. I heard a story of some American missionaries to Africa. On a long walk to another village they all took along numerous bottles of water, and their African guide thought it was foolish. The Africans themselves drank very little fluid. So that got me thinking and I rejected the idea all that water was necessary but never knew why.

    This is another AHA moment, that I’ve been noticing off and on I will feel warmer than at other times but couldn’t put my finger on why…it’s likely that I’ve made myself colder after drinking tea! (I’ll have one or two cups between meals). Also I heard from people that drink out of an actual Artesian well that the water assimilates into the body far more quickly than the water we are used to consuming. I wonder if it has to do with electrolytes. Hmmm.

    One last thing–a question–’they’ say too much fructose can lead to cancer formation in cells, especially in concentrated, pasteurized (cooked) fruit juices because the sucrose and fructose are then compounded; that populations that have recently begun to regularly drink juices have seen a dramatic rise in cancer. Do you have any thoughts? I know you aren’t suggesting chugging it down or anything.

    Reply
    • No, I don’t see any clearcut relationship between fruit juice and cancer. If there is a connection it probably stems from insulin resistance, which I believe fructose can cause when consumed in the wrong context (such as without exercise, with a chronic low metabolism, with a lot of PUFA, or really late at night).

      Reply
      • Hepatic or systematic? Or does that even make sense?

        Reply
      • Oh, and by late at night, how late? and why exactly? is that based on RBTI eating guidelines?

        Reply
  57. Matt,

    Instead of salty water/juice, would an occasional spoonful of 4X1 sugar/salt be a good idea to stave off thirst? Maybe just before or after a small amount of water? Also, I usually do IF a couple of days a week (anywhere from 15-22 hour fast). I’m sure it will upset the purists, but I’m thinking a little sugar won’t hurt the fast too much. Otherwise, I tend to drink a lot of water to feel full, as the “8 Cups a Day!” crowd has preached to us for years.

    Reply
    • I would go really easy on the fluids while fasting. The sugar/salt mix should help, and would probably make the fast superior, not inferior – keeping the metabolism higher during the fast.

      Reply
  58. Thanks very much, Matt. One other question–totally different topic, but at least related to water/fluids. Athletes in sports with weight classes (wrestling, boxing and now MMA) are known for making huge temporary weight cuts. I’ve heard that some can weigh 170 pounds for a weigh-in and be back to 195 pounds just 24 hours later. I’m not even sure how this is possible, but I know it involves a lot of dehydration/rehydration. Is this as unhealthy as it seems–or can it be done in a safe way? One Olympic wrestler messed up his kidneys doing this years ago, and now refuses to cut weight as an MMA fighter.

    Reply
    • I think it’s probably very unhealthy. I used to do that some to make weight for wrestling in high school. But I quit the practice too. It’s miserable.

      Reply
  59. So woke up thirsty in the night – had a small drink of water as that was all I had at my bedside – peed (you’d think if you were thirsty you wouldn’t need to pee) – couldn’t get back to sleep because such a dry mouth – went downstairs drank a cup of coconut water – had to pee AGAIN (both times by the way a lot of pee). I had eaten plenty that day so I don’t think it had anything to do with blood sugar. I had drunk the usual amount of fluids that day and had salted my food. Its all so confusing …

    Reply
    • Yeah, waking up in the night is the time to have sugar and salt under the tongue. Not drink something. The thirst is probably from pretty severe crashing.

      Reply
  60. Thanks a lot for replying Matt but I don’t think that would have helped. I was extremely thirsty and the coconut water hit the spot perfectly – I slept great afterwards. I tried the little bit of sugar under the tongue/bite of fruit with the RBTI thing and it did nothing and I doubt sugar and salt under the tongue would have helped with my thirst. Plus there was no logical reason why I would crash from lack of food intake that day – I’m pretty sure I was not low in sugar – if I’m low sugar I wake sweating and I know I’d eaten well that day … although I was a little bit thirsty at bedtime. I wish the answer was as simple as a little bit of salt and sugar during the day but I’m not finding it to be so.

    Reply
  61. So I’ve been giving this all a go because I also tended towards overhydration. It’s very strange though, before my hands are feet were always cold and I was urinating a lot but my mood was at least decent. Now my hands and feet have warmed up and I urinate a lot less frequently, but I seem to be extremely tired and easily agitated while doing this. It’s the one problem I’ve kind of always had even when switching to a more healthy less processed diet. Not sure if there’s any easy solution to this but any suggestions would be great.

    Reply
    • I get agitated when I go too high as well. It’s more about keeping it in the sweet spot. Pay attention to what time of day you feel the warmest and most agitated (probably late afternoon/early evening), and then, start sipping small amounts of water a couple hours prior that time of day – just that time of day. I can’t drink water in the morning without polyuria for example, but can drink plenty in the late afternoon with no issues. You may have a different pattern. But pay attention to it and keep it in a tighter zone. Not too high, not too low. That should help. I hope.

      Reply
  62. Hi again Matt –

    I haven’t had time to read many of the comments, so not sure if you’ve addressed this already (sorry if you have). I followed your advice a few weeks ago and dried out my diet and bought a refractometer. The refractometer didn’t arrive until I was about 5 days into consuming less fluids. When we talked, you had asked if I was ever constipated and I said no. Within two days of drying out my diet, I became constipated.. by the third day I had hemorrhoids and every day I was extremely parched. I’ve never had hemorrhoids in my life and the constipation was very abnormal for me. Once I got the refractometer I tested my urine each morning and night (sorry, I just don’t have the time during the work day) and my brix numbers were consistently at 6.8 or above. As an experiment, I drank three-quarters of a liter of water throughout the day the next day which brought my brix number down to 4. I felt more hydrated definitely, but between that and the effects of a dryer diet, I decided to go back to more moisture in my foods and more fluids throughout the day. I haven’t been very strict about consuming water throughout the day lately and just tested my brix and it is again at 6.8. Clearly, I need more fluids – but I can’t deal with the constant urination when I consume water.

    Based on the very first comment on this post, it sounds like my body just isn’t holding onto the water because of the electrolyte imbalance. Perhaps adding the salt / sugar combination you talked about in your recent podcast will help my cells hold onto the water? Causing less urination? Also allowing me to drink LESS and still keep my brix low?

    I am guessing that for those who are over-hydrating and experiencing emotional symptoms like anxiety, the same can be said for those who are under-hydrating? Just grasping at straws, trying to figure out why I am so asymptomatic.

    I’ve pretty much given up on raising my body temp because I just can’t deal with my weight gain. I’ve raised my set point well beyond what it was originally. But I am still curious about the science behind rbti – so the refractometer and PH testing are intriguing to me. The other tests for rbti go a little beyond my comfort level because of the chemicals, but I’ve found the refractometer and PH strips very educational. For instance, I understand for accurate PH levels, it is determined by various calcium levels. My uPH levels were always about 5.5 or 6.0 and sPH level 6.5 or higher. One day my uPH was at 7 or higher and I tried to figure out what I ate the day before to cause that – turned out it wasn’t what I ate, but what I DIDN’T eat. I had completely run out of milk and I usually drink almost a half gallon a day. When I got more milk, I tested again and my uPH was back to “normal”. So, milk (raw, for me) does a body good!

    Anyway, just curious about the water/electrolyte/urination question above. Maybe if I can get that in more balance, other things will start falling into place..

    Thanks much,
    kk

    Reply
    • I think a homemade gatorade type of blend is probably what you need to hydrate without crashing and peeing your brains out. Try that and see. There are definitely seirous negatives to not drinking enough.

      Also, some people crash at some times of day, while not at others. I find that I can drink plenty of water in the afternoon and be fine. But I cannot do this until at least lunchtime without crashing. That mayb be another important factor – just knowing when to take in your water, or fluids.

      Reply
  63. I’m really glad I found this post. This is the first I’m hearing about this and it’s so interesting!! Like most people I’ve often heard your urine should be clear and if it’s dark you are dehydrated. I’ve always strived to drink at least 8 glasses of water and have clear pee…and I do. And I’m ALWAYS thirsty with a dry mouth and freezing cold hands and feet…and a low metabolism!! I’m not sure why I would believe the water thing..I mean, most of everything else I’ve heard is false so why wouldn’t drinking as much water as possible also be bad??

    So…I’m going to buy the refractometer. But other than that for someone who is brand new at this and always thirsty what would you suggest?? Only drink water with meals? Maybe drink coconut water instead of water?(even though unfortunately I hate the taste of it…)

    Thanks this has been a big help! :)

    Reply
    • You’ll be fine with water at meals, just don’t sip stuff all day for a while until you start to warm up and stuff. If you get really thirsty have some Sierra Mist or Gatorade, but just enough to ease the dry mouth feeling. Then you can start loosening up and finding the right amount of fluids for you.

      Reply
    • Yeah, someone else turned me onto that. I guess there was some really interesting news releases in Norway about urine and even using refractometers!

      Reply
  64. I think they are still missing the mark when it comes to the color of urine when they say ” You’ll know you’re hydrated when your urine is colorless or pale yellow and you’re rarely thirsty.” Sugars would be too low with the colorless version. So Matt, what do you do with a person who’s constantly crashing out unless I snack on sugary food and drink your “gatorade”? Even later in the evening I have to watch the color of my pee or I don’t sleep well. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • I’m finding salty things like saltines and pretzels and cheese to be great, and not really drinking much other than some water with meals and an occasional sip of gatorade or equivalent. It’s quite remarkable how moisturizing it is to the skin for example, when you stop drinking so many fluids and jack up the salt intake.

      Reply
  65. Wow! I just listened to your interview on the Underground Wellness Podcast and feel as though you have had a video camera on me with regard to the body’s reactions to over hydration. I would literally have to apologize to people in advance of shaking their hands for my ice cold paw. In the mornings I urinate a number of times, all crystal clear. I purchased a hot water bottle and super heavy duty wool socks in a futile attempt to keep my hands and feet at a somewhat comfortable temperature. I regularly wake up in the middle of the night urinate and towel off a massive amount of sweat that occurred during sleep. I’ve purchased Biotene toothpaste and mouth rinse in an effort to alleviate my dry mouth. All of this occurring in combination with jamming what now seems to be a ridiculously obscene amount of plain water a day. The dry mouth is what has been throwing me off throughout all of this as I have had my suspicions that I was taking in too much H2O. I do work out quite a bit, however not really pouring sweat when I do. I am also very thin and just thought since I don’t have a lot of fat that it was just normal to be cold.

    So I am excited to start adjusting my water intake and extremely grateful to have come across your research on this. Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • I”m finding that eating obscene amounts of salt is really helpful. Like eating a nice stack of saltines or pretzels whenever you feel a strong urge to urinate or pee clear or pale yellow. Be prepared to feel really tired. Like almost immobile as your body goes from the stressed state it has been in into the other side of the nervous system (the parasympathetic). But don’t be alarmed. It’s more like a deep feeling of relaxation and comfort. Good luck getting warm. Let me know if I can help you more. Small changes make a huge difference.

      Reply
  66. What should one do if their brix reading is always high? I haven’t been able to get mine below 6.5 and it is usually around 7 or just a little higher. Pretty much always stable, though. When I first started out with this it was usually around 5 and would drop to 2.5 or so. I am definitely warmer not drinking as much, but am worried about high brix. I never know if blurry vision and anxiety is cause of over or under hydration.

    Reply
    • AV – this same thing has been hapening to me, wonder if you’ve resolved anything? I have a consistently high brix, my hands and feet are warm now because I know how to eat for heat. Initially water restrction resolved my migraines but now I am getting them every single day, late afternoon , sometimes morning. Tried more water because I thought I had overdone it, definitely made me feel worse. Matt, any ideas?

      Reply
  67. Hey Matt!

    Does yellow pee from taking vitamins change a refractometer reading?

    Thanks!
    V

    Reply
  68. Would Kombucha (synergy) be an acceptable way to hydrate?

    I can’t believe what a problem this is for me, and I never even fully realized it till I read this article! I drink obscene amounts of water and still always seem to be thirsty. I also wake up in the middle of the night to pee, can’t fall asleep due to dry mouth, and have a host of hormonal imbalances (PCOS). I am scared to go thirsty! But if it will help me…..

    Reply
  69. What is your take on saunas? Believe it or not, my husband just bought us one and now I find this stuff and it all makes sense! I have a refractometer on order (they are on back order thanks to you :). I have increased my carb/food intake and my temps are starting to rise. I didn’t realize how much I am craving salt! Today I finally just took the salt shaker and salted my mouth twice and I loved it!! Coffee is becoming less and less appealing – go figure! So I am in and now wondering if the sauna will kill all of this. I would appreciate your thoughts!

    thanks, Pam

    Reply
  70. From Dr. Natasha of the “GAPS Diet”‘s new blog post:

    “As if that is not enough, then there is the water and electrolyte balance in the body, which also shifts all the time depending on many factors. Our mainstream medicine pronounced salt to be ‘evil’ and recommends reducing its consumption. Processed salt should not be consumed just as all processed foods should not be consumed (as these things are unnatural for human physiology and should not be called ‘food’). However, natural unprocessed salt (such as Himalayan crystal salt or Celtic salt) contains more than 90 minerals and not only is good for us, it is essential for our bodies to maintain the right water/electrolyte balance. Then there is the myth that we need to drink lots of water every day, even different amounts in litres-per-day are prescribed in nutritional literature. Following that advice blindly can get you into a lot of trouble, if your body is low on electrolytes and needs salt instead of water. No matter how clever we think we are, we cannot calculate how much salt or water we should consume at any given time: only your body knows that, and it has excellent ways of telling you what it needs – thirst for water, desire for salt or any particular food, which may have the right mineral composition. Make no mistake: your body knows the nutrient composition of foods on this planet!”

    Reply
    • Nice! Now if she could just let go of GAPS then she would really be onto something!

      Reply
  71. What does this mean then when my urine is always dark, almost like a strong yellow – turning brown type colour?

    Normally I would be scared of this but I’m not quite sure now. Does this mean I need to drink more water or cut down on the salt and sugar (something I’m not having much of anyway).

    P.S. I caught mold toxicity and get tremors and tingling around my body.

    Thanks a lot Matt. Love the site!

    Reply
    • I also have blood in my stool. I dont know who to see because my doctor wont do anything about it and just dismisses it as nothing or sometimes even a………Somatic Disorder. ??

      Reply
    • I would drink more water, eat more high water content foods, ease up on the salt and pork.

      Reply
  72. So yes I had the whole clear urine problem. This resulted in me being tired all the time and never wanting to do much of anything. I had tried several diets and tried to exercise a lot but nothing seemed to work. So I read this post and decided to give it a whirl. Funny enough when I first started I was just sipping water, which still caused me to have clear urine. Then I tried sipping gatorade…still had clear urine. Then I just stopped drinking anything at all…and oddly enough that worked wonders. I now have a golden yellow color, I sleep better, and I am more active then I’ve ever been before (my mood is a complete 180 as well). So now I’m almost scared to drink anything haha. I still get thirst cravings but I usually eat ice cream to help cool my body off instead. Not sure if I’ll be allowed to drink anymore because oddly enough…even when I don’t drink anything I still use the restroom 3-4 times a day. I do eat some fruit during the day so maybe that’s what causes it but I guess my body just can’t handle liquids or something.

    Anyway just wanted to say thanks Matt! Much appreciated advice you’ve given.

    Reply
    • You will need to gradually increase your fluid intake as metabolic rate rises. This will take time, but don’t be afraid to adjust accordingly as you progress. What works for a low metabolism and accompanying problems doesn’t necessarily work when things start cooking. In other words, as you change, what you eat and drink will need to change with it. Your tastes and preferences should guide you pretty well though. And yes, there is plenty of water content in food, especially fruits. YOu may not need a lot of supplemental fluids, especially if your salt intake is low and you are not out in the heat or excercising much.

      Reply
  73. I’m very pleased to discover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you book marked to look at new stuff in your site.

    Reply
  74. I have and use a hydrometer frequently to test the SG of my urine. Sometimes I even use Revici’s urotensiometer, but that’s a different story. Regardless, if my SG is under 1.010, I am usually peeing clear and not feeling well. The lower that goes – and in the past it has gone gone to below 1.005 – the colder and worse I feel.

    As a healthcare practitioner, it’s nice to see someone talking about overhydration, which is probably more common than dehydration. I see many patients who are constantly drinking – and constantly cold and peeing all the time!

    Like not having cell phones, somehow the whole world managed to survive a long time without carrying water bottles around. It’s not like the average American is riding horseback in the Old West for days and actually needs to carry water around. It’s almost safe to say that you could practically do the exact opposite of mainstream, conventional health wisdom and you’d be better off for it.

    However, as a side note, I wonder if you don’t find coconut water too cooling by itself? Potassium speeds up oxidation reactions, burns quick, and has a cooling reaction in the body. This is why we find high potassium foods only in warm to hot environments *naturally*: citrus fruits, sugar cane (molasses), peppers, tropical fruits, sweet potatoes, spinach, avocados, etc.

    I like a coconut water on a hot summer day, especially after working out hard, but tend to avoid it in the winter due to its cooling nature.

    Cheers,
    Sean

    Reply
  75. Do you have a link to a simple refractometer? I have a feeling it’s not simply priced. I might continue to listen to my body. These symptoms are similar to many other conditions. I’ve heard about the evils of drinking too much water for years; but I say my body calls the shots.
    Thanks for sharing. I may check this for myself.

    Reply
  76. Ive been doing this for 3-4 days now. Im training with weights and playing soccer. Ive been drinking 2L of fluid a day and those beeing with meals and when i workout.
    I eat food i like, bread with cheeze and greens etc on, salty chips, some chocolate etc and some tiny amount of fruit.
    What i noticed yesterday is a headache coming and i got a litle worse as the day progressed.
    I tried sleep it off but today when i woke up it had gotten worse.
    What can be the problem here? to little fluid? to litle salt? to litle potassium?
    Please help :) i dont want to take any pill to make it go away.

    Reply
    • Forgot to mention, ive struggled with cold hands and feet and also body temperature and some fluid retention in the past. After these all those things have gotten alot better, esp the temperature. But yeah as i said, headache not good ;(

      Reply
  77. Drinking excess amounts of water flushes out your system of toxins and as long as you have the right amount of foods in your diet drinking water is GOOD for you. Look at all the health freaks out there. Don’t let a few articles steer you away from drinking water!

    Reply
  78. Hi Matt,

    I apologize if you’ve addressed this elsewhere and I’ve missed it but I am just curious about your take on enemas, specifically coffee enemas. I developed some pretty challenging health problems immediately after my return from thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail back in 2010. I was only able to restore some level of health thru big changes in diet and also with the aid of regular coffee enemas. Anytime I feel like crap and I do one it works like magic and I feel the most normal I ever feel these days immediately afterward. I have always used salt in my enemas so they are basically a hypertonic solution. How do you think this impacts fluid levels in the body and I am at risk of dehydrating myself this way? As a side note I have always had challenges with frequent urination (with mostly clear urine) but I have also always been a big water drinker. It wasn’t until I changed my diet that I stopped urinating in the middle of the night and started sleeping straight thru only waking up to pee after about 7 or 8 hours.

    Thanks for all your great work!

    Reply
  79. Interesting article. What about those of us that are hypertensive & hypokalemic (low potassium)?

    Reply
  80. I’m so happy to have found this article! After reading it, I realize that I suffer from over-hydration because I have nearly all of the symptoms you’ve listed: near clear urine, fatigue, cold hands & feet (sometimes, but not always), headaches, pain, dizziness, light headedness, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, heart palpitation & irritability I’ve always attributed many of those symptoms to my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, but they could be partially due to over-hydration.
    I’ll be very happy to have my near-constant thirst disappear. I always thought it was weird that I’ve always got dry mouth when I drink so much (at least 3 liters per day) water, but now I understand. Thank you.

    Reply
  81. Hi Matt, I just finished Eat for Heat and have just started Diet Recovery 2. I realized this past weekend that I must be suffering from over hydration. I have most of the symptoms the worst being excessive thirst to the point where I can never be without my water bottle. I figured out that I average about 240 oz of water alone per day, plus coffee and skim milk and lots of fruits. I have drastically reduced my water intake starting Sunday and have already noticed a reduction in thirst. I have cut back to maybe 40 oz a day (4 days ago) and purchased a refractometer but am not sure what the readings mean and was hoping you could help. It says 1.018 for Urine spg, 1.338 No. Serum and 2 weight. I took the readings in the afternoon, and will take them again tomorrow morning. From what I can tell my readings for spg (specific gravity) appears to be normal.

    My temps have also been low ranging from 96-97. I have been following some of the advice in Eat for Heat but wanted to read the Diet Revovery book before really committing.

    Reply
    • Cool! And welcome. Those are decent for urine spg. I’m more familiar with using a Brix scale. What I would do is just observe how you feel and function at higher vs. lower spg and make necessary adjustments to stay in your own personal “zone.”

      Diet Recovery 2 in conjunction with Eat for Heat should help you get those temps up around 98 or above. If you have trouble let me know and we’ll figure out what’s holding you back.

      Reply
  82. Better late than never :)

    I work for these guys: http://www.h2opal.com/ that have come up with a device that precisely tracks liquid intake by attaching a sensor to your personal water bottle.

    In order to develop the best app that will really enable this product to work, we need to talk to people like you about your hydration needs and behavior, about your experience with tracker apps.

    For now we would need to skype interview about 5-10 people, just an easy talk over Skype about how you use your trackers / devices / apps, how you compensate for your hydration loss and about your habits.
    We will reward you with $20 worth of coupons of your choice.

    Please email me at danijel.kurincic@gmail.com asap, we’d like to complete the first round this week.

    Reply
  83. I have been drinking constantly over the last few days, in an effort to be healthier. It felt like I had to use the restroom every ten minutes, and it was clear like water. I decided to do some research to see if it is possible to drink too much water, and I happened upon your article. It explains why I have been getting headaches (mostly at night) and other symptoms you have mentioned. Thank you for this information! I do exercise daily, and will have to make sure to have Gatorade after a workout instead of a bunch of water. Curse the fine line of adequate hydration!

    Reply

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