How much water do you need? Does anyone really know? Does anyone even track their water anymore? At this point the only people I see tracking their water are the bodybuilders with their gallon jugs of it.
Everyone has heard the standard “drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water and you’ll be fine”. You always hear how water is the secret to weight loss and improved energy. Where did this come from though, and is it right? Well that’s what I am here to answer!
What does water even do?
- Maintain blood volume, nutrient transportation and waste removal
- Lubricates and protects tissues and joints
- Body temperature regluation
Where did 8 glasses come from?
The first appearance of a “minimum” amount of water was published in 1945 by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences. The academy spuriously suggested that “2,500 mL [2.5 liter] of fluid should be ingested on a daily basis,” although a primary clinical study was never actually cited.
8 eight ounce glasses of water first appeared in 1974 in a book titled Nutrition for Good Health written by Fredrick J. Stare and Margaret McWilliams. In the book the conclude 8 eight ounce glasses of water can come from any sources including: Coffee, beer, food, tea etc. This most likely got lost in translation and turned into exclusively water.
So what counts as a liquid?
Most drinks are mainly water. That would include beer, tea, coffee, smoothies, etc. These will still hydrate you. While coffee and alcohol (unless you consume a lot all at once) may dehydrate you in the short run by making you urinate more, in the long run it will not affect hydration status.
It’s not just liquids though, food also contains a lot of water! Most fruits and vegetables are 90% water. Even meat, fish, and soft cheeses are mostly water. Eggs come in at 75% water. So while you may not think you’re drinking a lot of water, you could just be eating it all.
So how much should I drink?
The easy answer is whenever you’re thirsty. If you are not drinking pure H2O you are probably consuming it through food and and other liquid drinks. You don’t have to exclusively drink gallons of water each day. There are easier ways to gauge your level of hydration. Most people hydrate just enough and don’t even realize it.
Exercise is a time I would recommend to pay attention to hydration status. To be safe here follow this recommendation. If you plan on exercising it is best advised to drink 6-10oz of water 20 minutes before exercise then 7oz every 15-20 minutes of exercise.
For everyone else, simple drink enough water to where you’re not thirsty. It you find yourself peeing 5 times a day and having it be mostly clear or slightly yellow, you’re doing just fine. If you like the idea of 8 eight ounce glasses of water because it’s easy to track then you can of course do that. Everyone is different and you know your body best. Drink often and don’t over think it. Just don’t be dumb.
So no, you don’t need 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day…