Riverdale actress Madelaine Petsch has revealed she drinks 27 cups of water a day to stay trim.
The lifelong vegan 23-year-old also works out six days a week for an hour-and-a-half, and keeps her calorie intake under 1,700 a day, which is 300 short of the recommended daily amount for women.
But it was her hydration habit that caused a stir, after she revealed to People that she drinks 13 500-milliliter bottles daily – double the amount advised for females.
While each person’s water needs are different, experts warn this ‘hydration diet’ could be dangerous for the star’s fans as it can lead to a severe sodium deficiency.
Those who eat plenty of vegetables, in particular, do not need as much water because they get hydration from other sources.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online, nutritionists insist the rest of us should take this idea with a pinch of salt for risk of developing the dangerous condition.
Keeping hydrated: Madelaine Petsch, 23, revealed she drinks double the recommended water intake every day, as well as working out six days a week and eating under 1,700 calories
The Riverdale star, who is a life-long vegan, caused a stir with her comments about water
Experts warn fans of the actress (pictured in the teen high school drama) should be cautious before trying the ‘hydration diet’ themselves
‘Forcing yourself to drink a pre-prescribed amount of water each day presents the very real danger of Hyponatremia,’ Abbey Sharp, registered dietitian at Abbey’s Kitchen, said.
‘This is essentially a sodium deficiency which occurs because of the imbalance of H2O to sodium. While you may have heard that a low sodium diet is a good thing (it definitely can be), have too little sodium in our bodies can be deadly!’
Sodium, an electrolyte, helps regulate the level of water in and around your cells.
If your sodium becomes too diluted, your cells start to swell.
This can cause headaches and confusion and fatigure, but can also lead to muscle weakness, cramps, seizures, and even a coma.
The risk is particularly high for older adults and people on medication.
It is most commonly heard-of among endurance athletes, who overhydrate during a competition, or people taking illicit drugs like ecstasy.
For some, it works. Petsch says it makes her feel good, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently revealed he drinks half his weight in water every day.
The 40-year-old football star is revered for his surprisingly good physical health so late in his career as arguably the NFL’s best ever quarterback.
However, his lifestyle choices are extreme: in his new book The TB12 Method, he claims to drink at least 37 glasses of water daily – five times the recommended amount.
That said, nutritionists warn water should not be seen as our only source of hydration.
‘Most people around the world are chronically mildly dehydrated but the truth of the matter is you can get water from other sources, and overdoing it is extreme and dangerous,’ Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos of the Nutrition Twins told Daily Mail Online.
‘The sodium-water balance in your body is very delicate. If you throw that balance off, you could have a stroke.’
Sharp and the Lakatos twins both concede that it is difficult to assess Brady’s water needs without doing a personalized assessment of his activity levels, climate and other factors – indeed, he is an athlete who exercises a lot and sweats a lot.
‘Hydration needs are incredibly individualized,’ Sharp said.
‘It definitely sounds to me that what Tom Brady is suggesting he does is far more than he likely needs.
‘If he’s listening to his body’s cues and it works for him, then who knows, maybe he needs that. It seems highly unlikely.’
She adds: ‘My recommendation is to forget all of the standards about how much you should be drinking each day.
‘It’s not half your body weight, it’s not two liters, it’s not that any one size fits all.
‘Listen to your body’s thirst cues and keep plain water near by at all times to hydrate. Check in with yourself regularly to see if you are indeed thirsty and don’t deny those cues.’
The Nutrition Twins recommend checking your pee color as a good way to measure your hydration levels.
‘Look at the color of your urine. If it’s apple juice color that means you’re not drinking enough water,’ they explain.
‘If it’s clear, that’s good.’
Tom Brady claims to drink at least 37 glasses of water daily – five times the recommended amount. But nutritionists warn this could be damaging to your body’s sodium levels
For those that do need more, it doesn’t always mean resorting to cup after cup of water, they say.
Those who get enough fruit and vegetables in their diet, they say, shouldn’t have to be overly concerned about downing pints of water, since many are full of water.
Petsch, whose diet is vegan and full of vegetables, gets plenty of hydration from other sources. Tom Brady, however, barely eats any vegetables – driving up his need for excess water intake.
Brady is also known for consuming an alkaline diet. The idea behind it is that certain foods cause your body to produce acid. Problematically, this list is quite extensive: hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant, tomato, meat, wheat, dairy, eggs, refined sugar, and processed foods.
According to Brady’s personal chef, the family eats mainly a plant-based diet, with very few grains. And Brady rarely eats fruits. Eighty percent of his meals are organic vegetables, with the rest either salmon or steak.
Such a preventative lifestyle is far beyond anything most sports nutritionists would advise.
‘There are very few people that can eat like Tom Brady,’ sports nutritionist Mary Jane Detroyer, who is based in New York, told Daily Mail Online. ‘I would never recommend it. Athletes need carbs. You can get that from fruits and vegetables but it’s very, very hard.’
She adds: ‘Based on the science, I’m not sure the secret to his success is his low alkaline diet. The amount food can affect our acid levels is minimal.’