How much water is too much for the body?

Ok I drink about 4 liters of water a day. I have a one liter bottle I carry with me to class, at home, when I go out, etc…etc…

Is there such thing as drinking too much water, and actually gained weight from doing so?

Straight Dope column.

Cecil’s column mentions hyponatremia with too much water intake.

I attempted drinking large amounts of water this winter at any sign of a cold, and it did seem to make the colds last for a shorter time, but the most noticeable thing is that I didn’t get any sore throat symptoms worse than a little tickling or hint of painful swallowing.
THAT was a plus!

Ok I read the column but it doens’t really answer my question. My wife always complains about holding water, or that she’s bloated - you get the pcture I’m sure - but could this be happening to me? Could I be holding water? I have not seriously had a major change in diet, but I have certainly been drinking more water… Could I be gaining weight because of it?

Yes and no. Barring hyponatremia as mentioned by Cecil (which isn’t so much too much water but having your salt/water levels dangerously out of balance) it is pretty darn hard to drink too much water.

Will it make you gain weight? Sure but it is not ‘bad’ (i.e. fat) weight. Water has a grand total of zero calories. In general if you drink too much water you’ll just pee it right out.

I had friends who wrestled competitively. It was shocking the amount of weight they could lose just in water alone. For a day or two before weigh in they’d cary a cup around and spit into it constantly, they’d take dieuretics, sit in saunas, where multiple layers of clothing all day to sweat and so on. They could lose 20 pounds in no time flat. Once they were weighed in they’d go drink water like crazy and eat pizza to get their strength back.

I wrestled on an intramural basis and came up against a guy who clearly had wrestled competitively. I had weighed in at the top of my particular weight class. The guy across from me was easily four inches taller than I was and built noticeably more powerfully (borader shoulders, thicker legs, etc.). There is NO WAY that guy normally weighed anywhere near what I did but he had clearly dropped ‘useless’ water weight. He totally destroyed me in the match. Better trained to be sure but I wasn’t a complete push over…the main difference was he was far stronger and out muscled me.

It is normal to ebb and flow in water retention and your diet can also have a lot to do with it. I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless you think it is getting out of hand in some fashion. If so ask your doctor about it.

Unless you’re going into kidney or heart failure, or taking certain drugs (licit or illicit), your body should be able to process whatever amount of water you put into it. As long as you’re not dumping in liter bags by IV anyway. One must try very, very very hard to drink too much for a healthy body to deal with.

I am quite healthy, actually. I have been a bit unactive this winter because it has been a difficult winter for us, lots of snow. And extrememly cold. It is the weight gain I am worried about. I certainly hope there is nothing wrong with my kidneys. I haven’t had a lipid profile either in like ten years - damn Qadg talk about scaring me…