How Much Water Should You Drink a Day - My Surprising Findings
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How Much Water Should You Drink a Day – My Surprising Findings

12 Comments | Diet

How much water should you drink a day? Most people you ask these days will say that you need to drink at least 6-8 glasses per day. But is this really true?

In all 20 years of my existence, I’ve been told by doctors, parents, and teachers that you NEED to drink 6-8 glasses of water every single day otherwise you risk the chance of dehydrating your body.

How Much Water Should You Drink a Day

Oh no, she spilled. Now she won’t get her 6-8 cup minimum.

I never liked being told that I have to drink a “mandatory” amount of water each day, so I decided to do a little digging and actually found some surprising information behind how much water should you drink a day.

Does it make sense to constantly drink water?

In this article in Daily Mail, general practitioner Margaret McCartney concluded that the advice to drink 6-8 glasses of water per day is “not only nonsense, but thoroughly debunked nonsense.”

If you think about it, McCartney is right. How does it make sense to drink 6-8 glasses of water every day if you’re not even thirsty?

Drinking when you’re not thirsty

I’ve done this so many times before, that I’ve lost count. I used to constantly drink water because I thought it was helping my body.

Man, was I wrong.

In this study, scientists tested people who drank on set time intervals versus people who only drank when they were simply thirsty.

But experts now warn that drinking eight glasses of water a day is not good for you after all – and could be harmful.

The study basically concluded that the group who drank water on timed intervals were NOT more hydrated than the group who simply drank when they were thirsty.

Remember, there’s water in your food!

Do you remember when your mind was blown when your 3rd grade teacher told you that the Earth was 75% water, well… it’s sorta like that with food.

So unless you’re eating nothing but dry white bread all day, chances are that you’re getting a lot of water through the food you eat. In fact, the average person drinks 4 cups of water per day from food.

For example, a 10 ounce orange is 80% water, while even foods like a piece of beef can have up to 70% water. That’s why steaks get dryer and tougher the more you cook them, because they’re constantly losing water.

Do caffeinated drinks dehydrate you?

Last time I checked, you needed water to make coffee, soda, or any beverage for that matter, but why is it that most people believe that caffeinated drinks dehydrate you?

I used to believe the same thing. I thought that drinking coffee or tea would dehydrate me and cause me to lose water.

In this study The Effect of Caffeinated, Non-Caffeinated, Caloric and Non-Caloric Beverages on Hydration, scientists concluded that caffeinated drinks hydrate your body just as well as water. They showed that a cup of coffee hydrated your body just as well as a cup of plain water.

And the same goes for caloric beverage like milk and juice – they have the same hydrating effects as water.

But what about for weight loss??

When it comes to weight loss, it’s pretty much a universal agreement that you should be drinking a ton of water. In fact, some fitness experts even suggest drinking up to 1 gallon of water per day (16 freaking cups!).

Doing so will supposedly flush out toxins and help you lose weight easily. Well… that’s a bunch of horse feces.

When dieting, I do recommend you to try to drink a little bit more water, but not for reasons like detoxifying and accelerating weight loss.

The reason you should drink more water when dieting is because it helps curb hunger and helps you stay full.

Cutting down your calories is never fun, and when you start getting hunger pangs, one of the best things you can do is drink a cup of water. This will greatly help reduce your hunger.

So… how much water should you drink a day??

That depends. If you’re a professional athlete who exercises multiple times per day, then you probably shouldn’t be consulting me for advice. My guess is that you’ll need a lot more water than the average person.

But if you are the average man or woman who simply works out 3-5 hours per week, then my recommendation to you is to simply drink when you’re thirsty.

Bottom line:

  • If you’re thirsty, drink water.
  • If you’re not thirsty, don’t drink water

The human body isn’t stupid. It’s not going to burst into flames if you drink less than 6-8 glasses of water per day.

Hopefully this article gives you some insight to how much water should you drink a day. I realize the advice given in this article is the polar opposite to most water drinking advice, but if you think about it, does it really make sense to structure your day around drinking water?

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think below.

Michael - The Underwear Body - October 6, 2011

Good point and well made. Sometimes it seems like there are so many rules to this thing, so it’s always nice to be able to debunk a few fitness myths. I like your style.

Michael

Reply
Casey - October 6, 2011

Agreed on all accounts about the 6-8 cups of water myth. But the amount of water you take in also depends on your amount of activity. The problem with waiting until you are thirsty to drink water is that by that point your body is craving it, thus your brains knows you don’t have enough of it. You don’t become thirsty unless you are deprived of the amount of water you need.

Also on the caffeine note. Caffeinated drinks may be made of water, but their caffeine properties are what dehydrate you, not the water property. Caffeine is a natural diarrhetic – which flushes out fluids. When you bring a diarrhetic into play when talking about water, your body will just flush out any water that it brings in. Also since caffeine is aAgreed on all accounts about the 6-8 cups of water myth. But the amount of water you take in also depends on your amount of activity. The problem with waiting until you are thirsty to drink water is that by that point your body is craving it, thus your brains knows you don’t have enough of it. You don’t become thirsty unless you are deprived of the amount of water you need.

Also on the caffeine note. Caffeinated drinks may be made of water, but their caffeine properties are what dehydrate you, not the water property. Caffeine is a natural diarrhetic – which flushes out fluids. When you bring a diarrhetic into play when talking about water, your body will just flush out any water that it brings in. Also since caffeine is a diarrhetic it confuses your brain where to put water, so water doesn’t go to the necessary places your body needs (like muscles after a hard work out – so you become sore and stiff instead because of lactic acid build up).

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    admin - October 6, 2011

    Casey,
    Water intake definitely depends on activity. The more you exercise, the more you usually drink. I just don’t want people to go overboard with this. As for caffine, I personally have never felt any more hydrated from drinking a diet soda as opposed to a cup of water, but everyone’s different.

    Reply
Jordan-The Healthy Teacher - October 6, 2011

I like the general principle of drinking when thirsty, but that might be hard to do for people participating in intense exercise. Athletes come to mind. If athletes only sipped water when they were thirsty they would be screwed. For the average person that is not exercising though, I totally agree with the idea of drinking when thirsty, as it is possible to over hydrate and bloat yourself.

Great article

Cheers,
Jordan

Reply
    admin - October 6, 2011

    Pro athletes like Kobe Bryant definitely need more water than the average man. Glad you like the article.

    Reply
Michael McIntyre - October 12, 2011

I just the other week wrote a post about this subject. Great minds think alike lol

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    admin - October 12, 2011

    Haha, nice. Just checked out your site, great post and content!

    Reply
Jason - October 25, 2011

I’m researching this too, and just came across this new study that actually studied water requirements as we age…
http://www.knowguff.com/2011/10/newly-published-study-on-water-im.html
I’ll post another comment if I come across any more “science”

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Jason - November 11, 2011

A new study from the same blog I mentioned before…
http://www.knowguff.com/2011/11/low-water-intake-linked-to-high-blood.html

Reply
    admin - November 11, 2011

    Jason,
    Hmm.. that’s interesting. Personally, I think that as long as we don’t obsess over water intake and simply drink a reasonable amount, we should be fine.

    -Keith

    Reply
Ridley Fitzgerald - June 4, 2018

I need to drink more water! It’s awesome that we are getting some water through our food, but I’m still not getting enough. I’m trying to get better at drinking water, instead of soda, when I’m thirsty at work, so thanks for the advice.

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