There has been an ongoing myth for years that we need to be drinking 8 cups of water per day. As nice of an idea as this is, it’s not that simple. So how much SHOULD we be drinking? The truth is, as with everything related to health and nutrition, everyone is different! Many of my challengers (and me!) are currently taking part in a program that involves a lot of water drinking, so I wanted to check the facts!
8×8 Glasses of water debunked
The original of this myth is usually associated with a 1945 recommendation (that was misread to begin with). While we DO need to stay hydrated (for reasons mentioned below), a lot of the water that we need can be ingested in the form of fruits and vegetables! So, if you’re eating a lot of produce and drinking a few glasses of water per day, and have none of the added factors below, you’re probably doing okay!
How do I know if I’m thirsty?
Some of us are not as in tune with listening to our bodies as others! Sometimes thirst can present as hunger, headaches, dry mouth, sluggishness, yellow urine, and dizziness. The first step is to have some water! Did it help? Are you suddenly craving more? Then you’re probably thirsty. If you find it difficult to drink (like you’re forcing yourself), odds are, it’s something else, and you’ll have to evaluate from there. It always amazes me how young children seem to be so much more aware of whether they’re thirsty or not!
Can I drink too much water?
Technically, yes. A lot of people worry about this because of the rare cases of athletes over-drinking (hence the creation of Gatorade!). Odds are, this won’t happen to you. Looking at the science of it, your kidneys can handle around to one litre of water per hour without worry of intoxication through sodium over-dilution. That’s roughly 4 glasses of water per hour – half of what we were all worried about getting in to begin with!
People are far more likely to get too little water than too much. If you don’t eat veggies with every meal and fruit a couple times per day, it won’t hurt you to drink a couple extra glasses of water per day. And no, coffee doesn’t dehydrate you (although you may have to pee a little more, and it can cause headaches in some people!).
Water for weightloss
Water CAN, however, benefit anyone that is trying to lose weight. It has been proven that drinking water can increase your metabolic rate by up to 30%! That’s a pretty huge bump for anyone on a weightloss regimen! Drinking water before meals has also been proven to reduce calorie-intake and overeating at meals. As mentioned above, it is also a great way to TEST if you are actually hungry before going for a snack – try a sip of water first, and see how it makes you feel! Finally, many people who are on a fat loss (that’s how I really like to think of it! Most of our weight is good stuff!) are also exercising regularly. Some of us (See: me!) sweat like crazy, and it can be difficult to stay hydrated without going over that 30oz mark. The trick to avoid low sodium levels here is to replenish! Many turn to gatorade, but they are way too high in sugar for me. If you workout for close to an hour per day and want a healthier alternative as an electrolyte replenishing supplement, contact me!
Recap/Who needs more water
So! To recap, not everyone needs 8 8oz glasses of water per day. A good ballpark amount is to take your body weight, cut it in half, and change it to oz. For example, I’m 175lbs as of the writing of this article. Half of that is 87.5lbs, so I round it up to 90oz of water per day. If I don’t hit that number, I don’t worry about it because I eat a lot of water-filled foods, but generally I actually end up hitting OVER this due to all of the exercise I do.
- Drink the amount that feels right for your body
- If you aren’t used to listening to your body, drink a sip of water as a test before jumping to conclusions
- Water can be a great tool for weightloss
Those who may need more water:
- Anyone who exercises
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Anyone after spending time outside on a hot day
- Those on a high-protein diet (example: keto)
- Those with an illness that causes fever or stomach trouble
I hope that this helps anyone who has been wondering about how water works as a health tool! Reach out to me if you have any more questions!