Everyone is telling you to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, but is it solid advice? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never counted how many glasses of water I gulp down each day. I have, however, used this piece of advice to recommend clients drink more water, but maybe it hasn’t been the most useful advice.

After reading this article, I’ve fallen down a very interesting rabbit hole. Falling Down A Watery Rabbit Hole According to a bunch of surveys that have been done over the years, most of us aren’t getting the recommended minimum, 8 glasses of water (or roughly 2L) every day. Any fluids obtained through daily caffeinated and alcoholic drinks (apparently diuretics – causing dehydration) don’t count. But where did this optimal daily water intake come from? What’s interesting is that when a Dartmouth Medical School study (PDF) went looking for the origin of this “8 glasses of water” recommendation and scientific studies to back it up, they came up blank. It seemed to have been an offhand afterthought and did not exclude other sources of dietary fluid. This recommendation does not take into account a person’s metabolism, activity level, body size, age, health or climate lived in. These factors will have a huge affect on how much fluid our body needs. Why Do We Need Water? Around 60% of our bodies are made up of water. It’s only common sense to agree that water is crucial to our proper function and health. But are we going over board with 8 glasses every day? We lose water every day through excretion, perspiration and other bodily functions and it’s vital we replenish that, but over doing it can, in some rare cases, lead to “water intoxication“. When You Need More Water

  • With increased activity
  • In hot temperatures
  • At higher altitudes
  • When breastfeeding or nursing
  • When unwell or suffering from disease
  • After a massage (similar effect as increased activity)

Water Myths Debunked

  • When You’re Thirsty, You’re Already Dehydrated Your body has evolved to give you ample warning to top up well before you reach a level of dehydration. Trust your thirst.
  • Caffeine And Alcohol Are Dehydrating It’s been found that regular drinkers or caffeinated drinks build up a tolerance to the diuretic effects. With alcohol it will take a couple of drinks before the effects become negative. HOWEVER, please don’t use this as an excuse to abuse coffee, alcohol and ridiculously sugar-filled, caffeinated soft drinks – they’re still no good for you, just in different ways. I’m a big believer in moderation, just try to do the right thing the majority of the time (everyone has their vices).

Get More Hydrated Without Drinking More Water Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (which are high in dietary water) will go a long way for maintaining a healthy level of hydration and loading your body up with a bunch of other good stuff. Also try drinking more healthy teas like green or white for their awesome antioxidants. To make the water you do drink taste a bit better, more hydrating and alkalizing, just add a slice or two of lemon. For athletes or those working in hot conditions, an electrolyte drink will help prevent dehydration. We’ve used and liked the Hydralite products, and they’re easily found in most chemists. Summary Think about it – when we were small tribes of hunter and gatherers, we wouldn’t have lugged around huge canteens or been able to pop into a 7/11 for a bottle of Pump to meet some ridiculous daily minimum. They would most likely have gotten most of their water from the foods they ate. Watering holes would have been dangerous areas to hang around for too long – predators need to drink too. Stop beating yourself up if you aren’t getting 8 glasses of water. Trust your body – drink when you get thirsty (try to opt for the healthier drink options) and get more fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet. Also see:

Sources: image 1 by alexander_witt, image 2 by wader, image 3 by the meeting place north