Maybe this is TMI, but I feel like I pee, like, once an hour. You will never catch this bitch dehydrated! But I’m curious — what does all that water actually do? Does it all just… turn into pee?
Apparently, yeah, pretty much.
Exactly what your body does with the water you consume will depend a lot on your habits. Generally, though, what goes in must come out. While excess calories from both food and beverages can be converted into fat, water basically has no place to go but out. That said, “out” doesn’t necessarily mean peeing: Water can depart the body in the form of sweat, poop, saliva and even just our breath. These are all functions our bodies need, and without intaking the water our bodies use to produce these functions, we will, well, die.
People who exercise more or live in warm climates will likely require more water to help supplement the extra sweating they do. But obviously, sweating and these other non-peeing activities don’t account for all of our water consumption — if they did, we wouldn’t pee at all. Instead, we drink water that ends up converted into pee because our bodily functions produce waste. Our kidneys are continuously filtering our blood. In doing so, they produce urea and uric acid. Your kidneys also filter the water you consume that isn’t used elsewhere. Here, the water combines with urea and uric acid as well as the chemical urobilin, a compound generated from iron in the blood that gives urine its yellow color.
The color of our urine, then, is our best indication of how much of the water we consume becomes pee. If our urine is nearly the color of water, it contains smaller amounts of urobilin. The only way for this to happen is to drink a lot of water, thus diluting the urobilin. Therefore, if our urine is mostly clear, it’s mostly just water. Alternatively, if our urine is dark, it contains high levels of urobilin and the other byproducts of our kidneys that haven’t otherwise had the opportunity to be flushed out. In other words, you might not be drinking enough water.
So, to determine how much of a single glass of water becomes pee, we’d have to know how many glasses we consumed in a day. A person who doesn’t drink enough water is going to convert less of it to urine, because their other bodily functions require more of it. Further complicating the question of how much of a single glass of water becomes pee is the fact that we also consume some of our daily liquids from food. The water in foods like fruits and vegetables is processed the same way as the rest of the water in the body. Hypothetically, all the water from food could go toward sweat and the other water-consuming functions, while all the water you drink is processed through the kidneys and into the bladder as urine.
According to r/AskScience, our average water intake is about 2,000 to 3,000 milliliters per day, with 1,200 milliliters directly from fluids. A healthy adult will produce about 1,500 milliliters of urine a day. So, again, it’s quite possible that nearly all of a single glass of water just becomes pee.
But there’s nothing wrong with that!
It’s far better to drink more water than the body requires than to not drink enough. Now excuse me while I go pee for the eighth time today.