The claim: Water inside fruit hydrates the body more than a glass of water.
An Instagram post shared in May from Plantiful Facts claimed “water inside fruit hydrates the body twice as much as a glass of water” and that “healthy hydration is about the water you hold in the body, not the water you drink that passes straight through.”
The post, which garnered about 5,000 likes, also said water inside fruit is “structured water,” wrapped in a complete package that is used by your body and cells more efficiently than regular water.
“It’s much more hydrating as well,” the post claims. “You can drink eight glasses of water — and while that is still a way of putting water into your body, it could mean eight trips to the bathroom without it actually reaching your cells.”
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The post then suggested, “Get as much of your daily water intake from fruit and you’ll start to feel a difference. Get the rest from reverse osmosis or distilled water. And about 100 ounces daily total.”
Plantiful Facts did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
What nutritionists had to say
Plain old water is every bit as hydrating as fruit, according to nutritionists.
“Water that you drink is just as good at hydrating as water in food,” wrote Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN and author of “Healing through Nutrition,” in an email. “However, some fruits contain electrolytes like potassium and nutrients like natural sugars that may attract water and nutrients into cells.”
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The idea that eating fruit hydrates your body more because it stays in your system longer, as opposed to drinking a glass of water that “passes through” is incorrect, Savage added.
Water that one drinks from a glass versus water that one gets from fruits and vegetables go through the same process, licensed nutritionist and author Monica Reinagel said.
She pointed out that the water in a piece of fruit might be absorbed into the body more quickly because of the electrolytes, which are minerals that help regulate the balance of fluids in the body. However, someone would have to eat a pound of fruit to get as much water as one would get from a 16 ounce bottle of water, she said.
How much water is in fruit?
To do some quick math, one fluid ounce of water has 29.57 grams of water, so an 8 ounce glass of water has about 236.56 grams of water. If one were to eat a medium-sized wedge or slice of watermelon — a fruit with a high water content — let’s say about 286 grams, the person would consume 262 grams of water. That is a good way to hydrate your body, but it is not twice as much water as an 8 ounce glass of water as the post claimed.
“If we dive deeper, there are many different types of fruit with different water contents, and a ‘glass’ can be many different sizes,” Savage said. “That said, fruit can contribute to overall body hydration, and is a sweet, nutritious way to increase overall water intake. Especially for athletes, fruit can help to rehydrate and replete electrolytes.”
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An athlete or someone working outside might need to absorb water through his or her system very quickly to avoid dehydrating, Reinagel said, so getting water with electrolytes can help the water absorb more quickly. But for the average person, it is not a huge necessity, she said.
“Fruit is an incredibly healthy food, but as with any food, be mindful of portion sizes due to sugar content,” Savage said. “When in doubt, drink water, and aim for two to three servings of fruit per day.”
Stravos Kavouras, a hydration expert at Arizona State University, said in a video from Hydration for Health that the water people get from food rarely exceeds 20% of people’s total water intake.
“Even if your diet is extremely high in fruits and vegetables and soups, you will rarely exceed probably 30% to 40% of your total water intake. So the answer is no, it is practically impossible to stay hydrated if you just wait to get your water from solid foods. So this is definitely a big myth,” he said.
On the other side, an article from the Daily Mail in 2009 titled, “The vegetables that can hydrate you more than a glass of water,” said research carried out at the University of Aberdeen Medical School found that water-rich fruit and vegetables act like a “two-in-one meal and drink” providing minerals, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are lost in exercise. The research found that those fruits and vegetables “helped hydrate people more effectively than water or even sports drinks.”
USA TODAY could not find the original study nor any other news outlet that reported that study.
“Studies with specific keywords will usually show up easily on PubMed, and I couldn’t find anything, unfortunately,” Savage said in an email. “I think that some writers stretch the truth or misinterpret studies to create catchy headlines.”
Our ruling: False
Fruits and vegetables definitely help hydrate the body, and with its electrolytes can hydrate the body more quickly, which can help athletes or those working in the sun. But the claim that fruits contain more water than a glass of water, and that it stays in the body longer than normal drinking water, is FALSE.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Fruit does not hydrate twice as much as a glass of water