Should you actually be drinking 8 cups of water a day?

This time of year more than ever, WATER is ESSENTIAL especially with the heat. Do you actually know how much water you should be drinking?

I think everyone has heard that 8 cups of water per day is recommended but where did this number actually come from? The truth is it came from a paper published almost 100 years ago where a guy measured his own urine and realized that he lost about 8 cups a day and that is where the recommendation came from.

Interestingly enough, there hasn’t been a lot of studies documenting how much water intake is actually necessary. The idea is that less water intake is associated with disease. It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg scenario. The question is though is are people sick because they are drinking less water or are they drinking less water because they are sick and do not eat healthy?

Based on ALL the best evidence to date, authorities from Europe, the U.S. Institute of Medicine, and the World Health Organization recommend between 2.0 and 2.7 liters (8 to 11 cups) of water a day for women, and 2.5 to 3.7 liters (10 to 15 cups) a day for men. This INCLUDES water from ALL SOURCES, not just beverages. We get about a liter from food and the water our body makes. So this translates into a recommendation for women to drink 4 to 7 cups of water a day and men 6 to 11 cups, assuming only moderate physical activity at moderate ambient temperatures.

Essentially, it is difficult to give an exact recommendation because it depends on one’s diet and total fluid intake. The more active you are, the more water you need, the less fruits and vegetables you eat, the more water you need etc.

So here is what we know. Human’s can only go 3 days without water but 3 days without food. Water is essential for cellular metabolism and homeostasis. Water is especially important for preventing muscle weakness and cramps (this is a whole topic in itself). Drinking more water is beneficial and less water can be harmful. So what is the recommendation? Eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and drink the 4-7 cups (women) and 6-11 cups (men) of water per day!

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