Have you heard that you’re supposed to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day? What about where you take your weight, divide it in half, and that’s how many ounces of H2O you’re supposed to get? Or how about the idea that you don’t need to drink water because you get enough from your food? And does drinking juice and soda count because the main ingredient is water? It’s easy to get lost with so much information out there with different opinions. So we got to the bottom of this important question, as well as why people saying that you’re supposed to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day, aren’t necessarily correct.
The truth is: optimal water consumption varies for everybody.
The amount of water you need to drink in a day depends on your weight, sex, activity level, diet, and even where you live. The Institute of Medicine has determined that for an average-sized healthy man living in a temperate climate with a moderate activity expenditure has an Adequate Intake (AI) level of fluid of about 3 liters per day (it’s 2.2 liters for women).
So, what does that mean in English?
Well, if you’re a guy, who’s a healthy weight, does an average amount of exercise, and lives in a mild to moderate climate, you need a minimum of three liters of total fluid in a day. And fluid means more than just straight up tap water. Juices, milk, and even coffee can count to your total. But really, plain water is your best choice because it’s calorie free, doesn’t spike your blood sugar, add calories and doesn’t have other chemicals that affect your body (think: caffeine). So what if you aren’t an average-sized person living in an average climate with average energy expenditure? Well, chances are, you need even more water.
Unfortunately not everyone within the USA has access to clean water due to the continuing environmental factors. Luckily, there are grants and funding available to assist with the supply of water on GrantWatch.
Great, but really, how much water should I drink?
If all of this sounds too complicated, you’re in luck, because unless you have a medical condition that otherwise prevents it, your body gives you all the tools you need to determine your proper hydration levels. If you’re drinking enough during the day to rarely feel thirsty, you are in good shape. Also, check in the bathroom, if your urine is colorless or very pale yellow, you’re on the right path. Sometimes, just keeping an eye on your own body and how you feel is better than any recommendation you could read from even the most reliable source.