Will Drinking Just Water be Enough for an Active Lifestyle?

Why not just water?

T hat is a great question. And, consuming adequate amounts of water is very important for many reasons, there are certain situations where it just isn’t enough.

Take any type of sport as an example. With prolonged sweating, more than just water is lost. Have you ever sweat and noticed that your skin had a salty film on it? Things like Sodium, Potassium and Calcium are also excreted as a person sweats. It’s important to replace those important minerals as they are excreted. Those are collectively called electrolytes and they play a major role in proper muscle function. If this delicate balance is disrupted, muscle cramping can occur. In fact, a study published in a well-known Medical journal concluded that:

“Water intake after dehydration makes muscles more susceptible to electrical simulation-induced muscle cramp, probably due to dilution of electrolytes.”

Said another way, just drinking water as opposed to an electrolyte replacement solution led to a higher instance of muscle cramping. Ouch. Not something anyone wants to experience.

What about fasting? With the growing popularity of Intermittent fasting, some have noticed adverse reactions. This may be traced back to electrolyte depletion. You would assume the problem is made worse by extended periods of fasting, but that’s not actually the case. In fact, the electrolyte loss is more pronounced in the shorter fasts (say 16-24 hours). After that, the body starts to adapt and excrete electrolytes at a slower rate. 2 The 16:8 Intermittent Fasting program is one of the most common, so we can conclude that consumption of electrolytes would be very beneficial. In the early phase of fasting, kidneys are rapidly excreting water and, along with that, electrolytes like sodium, calcium and magnesium. If not replaced, this can negatively impact muscle contraction and ATP or energy production. When consumed, electrolytes can actually help make your fast more productive by helping your body burn stored fat and adapt to the stress of not eating. That is the reason most people fast, so it stands to reason that consuming an electrolyte drink with very few calories will maintain the fast while helping optimize electrolyte levels.

As you can see, water alone, in many cases is not as effective as an electrolyte replacement drink for helping ensure the proper functioning of the body that is required for optimal functioning. Pickle water is a tasty way to replace what is lost either from sweating or increased kidney excretion.


  1. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2019 Mar 5;5(1):e000478. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000478. eCollection 2019.
  2. https://www.amjmed.com/article/0002-9343(71)90152-5/pdf
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