Have you often wondered: how much water should I drink in a day, and been told it should be 8 glasses/2 litres at least?
But is that actually true, and what is the basis for it?
Do I need 8 glasses of water a day?
In 2007 the peer reviewed British Medical Journal included the: drinking 8 glasses of water a day ‘rule’ as the first entry in its list of ‘medical myths’.
The 8 glasses of water a day advise first came in 1945 when the US Food and Nutrition Board stated that the average adult body needs over 2 litres of water a day. Then, just two sentences later, the board said that most of this water allowance would be met through what you eat and drink anyway.
Somehow, that last sentence of advise has got lost over time, with people only remembering they ‘should’ drink 8 glasses of water extra, each and every day.
How much water do I get in my daily foods & drinks?
Water is present in fruit, vegetables, prepared foods like curries, stews, soups and more, as well as your daily cups of tea and coffee – and maybe even a beer or two on occasion!
There is no scientific evidence to support that you need an extra 8 glasses of water a day, on top of what you consume normally.
In fact, a study done in another prestigious science journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) found that once you have satisfied your thirst, continuing to drink could actually become unpleasant.
How much water should I drink?
A few things must be taken into account:
- How much you weigh
- What the temperature or season is
- If you have been active or exercising
- If you are breastfeeding
- Your general health eg if you have a fever
Sometimes you will need to drink more, sometimes less. Most people can stay healthy by just drinking water when they feel thirsty.
If you’re thirsty, go ahead and drink some water, and if you’re not, that’s fine. One of the key authors from the PNAS study concluded:
“If we just do what our body demands us to we’ll probably get it right – just drink according to thirst rather than an elaborate schedule.” Associate Professor Michael Farrell
- Why the eight glasses of water rule isn’t real – Stuff
- Water: How much should you drink every day? – Mayo Clinic
- ‘Only drink water when thirsty’ study suggests – Medical News Today
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