There is way too much debate over how much water you should take in daily. There are arguments saying too much can kill you, not enough can dehydrate you and cause long term damage.
It’s all a bit worrying if you ask me, I for one, don’t want to be told that I could potentially die if I drank too much water in one day – how else can I cure that hangover?
So I did some research around a few health related websites and realised that it’s such a huge debate over what we actually need.
“Eight ounce glasses of water, eight times a day” seems to be the trend that has been enforced by health professionals, media and drink companies. Almost every office have water coolers, which is great to encourage people to drink more of the pure stuff, but is the 8X8 message accurate? And where did it actually come from?
It might actually surprise you, but there has never actually been any scientific evidence to back up the “8X8” rule. But it was established way back in 1945 by the Food and Nutrition Board, that 64 ounces, or 3.2 pints, may actually be too much for some people. So the dilemma here is, how do you determine how much water you need?
There’s absolutely no doubt that staying hydrated through the day is vital for bodily functions and general wellbeing. Water is a crucial nutrient, but there’s no universal requirement for taking in water, it all differs depending on your age, body size, health, physical activity levels, as well as numerous environmental factors such as humidity and temperature – it all gets a little pedantic.
But at the end of the day, you should listen to what your body is telling you, always. Use thirst as a general guide – so if you’re thirsty, drink. Likewise if you’re not thirsty, don’t force yourself to drink 3-4 pints of water just because you think its healthy to do so.
There are exceptions when it comes to thirst, like those previously mentioned (activity level, body size etc.) So thirst will genuinely be quite common for the athletic community, and plain water is the way to go for improving performance in endurance exercise, whilst a good quality isotonic drink is good for replenishing those lost electrolytes in sweat!
People with health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease may need precise amounts of fluid on a daily basis. Extreme thirst is not necessarily an indication of dehydration, it’s actually a symptom of hyperglycemia, among other diseases. So, obviously if you have a constant thirst despite regularly drinking, you might want to check that out with a doctor!
A question you’re probably asking yourself about now is: ‘how can I tell if I’m taking in enough water?’ Simple enough, check the colour of your urine. If it’s a pale yellow, you’re getting enough water. If it’s a darker yellow, you’re not getting enough – easy peasy!