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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?

Brunette Drinking From a Glass of Water
"The body is about 60% water, give or take. We’re constantly losing water from our bodies, primarily via urine and sweat. There are many different opinions on how much water we should be drinking every day.

The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.

However, there are other health gurus who think we’re always on the brink of dehydration and that we need to sip on water constantly throughout the day… even when we’re not thirsty.

As with most things, this depends on the individual and there are many factors (both internal and external) that ultimately affect our need for water.

I’d like to take a look at some of the studies on water intake and how it affects the function of the body and brain, then explain how to easily match water intake to individual needs.


Can More Water Increase Energy Levels and Improve Brain Function?

Many people claim that if we don’t stay hydrated throughout the day, our energy levels and brain function can start to suffer.

There are actually plenty of studies to support this.

Bottom Line: Mild dehydration caused by exercise or heat can have negative effects on both physical and mental performance.


Does Drinking a Lot of Water Help You Lose Weight?

There are many claims about water intake having an effect on body weight… that more water can increase metabolism and reduce appetite.

Bottom Line: Drinking water can cause mild, temporary increases in metabolism and drinking it about a half hour before meals can make people automatically eat fewer calories.

Does More Water Help Prevent Health Problems?

Woman Drinking Water From a Bottle
There are several health problems that may respond well to increased water intake:
Constipation: Increasing water intake can help with constipation, which is a very common problem.

Cancer: There are some studies showing that those who drink more water have a lower risk of bladder and colorectal cancer, although other studies find no effect.

Kidney stones: Increased water intake appears to decrease the risk of kidney stones.

Acne and skin hydration: There are a lot of anecdotal reports on the internet about water helping to hydrate the skin and reducing acne, but I didn’t find any studies to confirm or refute this.


Bottom Line: Drinking more water may help with several health problems, such as constipation and kidney stones.

Do Other Fluids Count Toward Your Total?

Cup of Coffee

Plain water is not the only thing that contributes to fluid balance, other drinks and foods can also have a significant effect.

Most foods are also loaded with water. Meat, fish, eggs and especially water-rich fruits and vegetables all contain significant amounts of water.

If you drink coffee or tea and eat water-rich foods, then chances are that this alone is enough to maintain fluid balance, as long as you don’t sweat much.

Bottom Line: Other beverages that you drink also contribute to fluid balance, including caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea. Most foods also contain water.

Trust Your Thirst… It’s There For a Reason:

Maintaining water balance is essential for our survival.

For this reason, evolution has provided us with intricate mechanisms for regulating when and how much we drink.

When our total water content goes below a certain level, thirst kicks in.

This is controlled by mechanisms similar to things like breathing… we don’t need to consciously think about it.


For the majority of people, there probably isn’t any need to worry about water intake at all… the thirst instinct is very reliable and has managed to keep us humans alive for a very long time.

There really is no actual science behind the 8×8 rule. It is completely arbitrary.

That being said, there are certain circumstances that may call for increased water intake… that is, more than simple thirst commands.

The most important one may be during times of increased sweating. This includes exercise, as well as hot weather (especially in a dry climate).

If you’re sweating a lot, make sure to replenish the lost fluid with water. Athletes doing very long, intense exercises may also need to replenish electrolytes along with water.


Water need is also increased during breastfeeding, as well as several disease states like vomiting and diarrhea.

Older people may need to consciously watch their water intake, because some studies show that the thirst mechanisms can start to malfunction in old age.

Bottom Line: Most people don’t need to consciously think about water intake, because the thirst mechanism in the brain is very effective. However, certain circumstances do call for increased intake.

How Much Water is Best?

At the end of the day, no one can tell you exactly how much water you need. As with most things, this depends on the individual.

If you want to keep things simple (always a good idea), then these guidelines should apply to 90% of people:

When thirsty, drink.
When not thirsty anymore, stop.
During high heat and exercise, drink enough to compensate for the lost fluids.
That’s it."

Words and pictures above taken from this interesting article by Kris Gunnars, read full article and related links here

All the best Jan

6 comments:

amanda peters said...

Interesting post, I drink a lot of coffee, far to much really, but during the summer I will drink more water, like you say I go with what my body needs at the time. Trouble is I need to pee every thirty minuets!!!
Amanda xx
P.S Thanks for leaving comments on my blog I am pleased you like my photos, I just wanted to say I read your posts but might not comment on them every time, but I do read them.

NCmountainwoman said...

When I was working, I always drank plenty of water. Now that I'm retired I often forget until I actually become thirsty. I'll have to work on that. Thanks for the reminder.

Gloria Baker said...

When in hot times I drink more water but usually I drink water (not sodas) and love juices too!!
Nice post!

handmade by amalia said...

We have a very hot summer but because it is quite humid as well you don't always feel the thirst and its important to be disciplined and drink a lot. I've always been told that room temperature water is the best.
Amalia
xo

Red Rose Alley said...

Jan, this was so interesting to me because I always wondered if the coffee and tea helps with our water intake. I always drink decaf tea, and as you know, that's mostly water. Water is such a wonderful thing, and I'm very grateful to have it in my life.

Thanks for the info, Jan. Have a terrific week.

~Sheri

Lowcarb team member said...

To Amanda, NC, Gloria, Amalia, Sheri ... many thanks to you all for reading and commenting. It's always good to read your thoughts.

Hope the week is going well for you all.

All the best Jan