We all know we should be drinking adequate amount of water every day to stay hydrated. But the question is how much we do REALLY require? How much is too much?
Do we need 8 glasses of water every day?
We know that a significant portion of our body is composed of water, so water is certainly good for us. Proper water consumption helps us relinquish fluid that we lose through sweat, exertion, bodily functions and some other claimed benefits for weight loss, arthritis, fatigue, attentiveness and headaches, constipation and many more. However
‘8 to 10 glasses of water’ is not a law. According to Snopes:
“Back in 1945 the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council stated that adults should take in about 2.5 liters of water per day (which is roughly the equivalent of eight glasses of water), but it also noted most of that intake level was already satisfied through the consumption of food without the need for the additional drinking of water.”
Instead of focusing too much on drinking 8 glasses of water, we should focus on our fluid intake, which is often overlooked. Count other sources of water like food and juices, fruits, vegetables and other beverages.
Then how much water DO you need?
So we have come to know that we don’t require 8 glasses of water/Day routine all the time; it could be less and it could be more.
According to the National Institute of Health (link here),
your primary signs of dehydration are:
A feeling of thirst. You are thirsty means you are already dehydrated.
Dry or very sticky mouth
dark yellow urine output. Though it’s not strictly true, there are other numerous factors that can be reason of dark or yellow urine.
Sunken eyes Lethargy
And some other signs of severe dehydration are Very low or amber-colored urine Dry, shrivelled skin, dizziness or light-headedness, rapid heartbeat or breathing, unconsciousness or delirium.
Too Much Water?
If you think that if proportionate amount of is good for health then more water should be naturally better. The you should read the article ‘the Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports’ by South African exercise scientist Dr. Tim Noakes from Outdoors:
“A single individual working for the U.S. military decided that water was a tactical weapon. That if the military could be encouraged to drink more during maneuvers, they’d have less heat stroke and less illness and they’d be more productive and could be better soldiers. It was purely his idea. It had no scientific basis at all. Two years later he published a paper supposedly saying that if the US soldiers drank 1.9 liters per hour [64 ounces] when they were exercising in the heat they would perform much better. There was utterly no concrete evidence that that was true. The problem was, his advice was embraced by the U.S. Military. They changed their drinking guidelines to say that you should now drink 1.9 liters per hour. The same people who drew up those guidelines were then invited by the American College of Sports Medicine to get involved with drawing up guidelines for runners.
In 1996, that culminated with the new American guidelines, which said that you must drink as much as tolerable during exercise, up to 40 ounces per hour. That became the mantra—that you had to drink before you became thirsty, and as much as possible during exercise. It was after that the problems of hyponatremia really become problematic around the world.”
Too much water is definitely bad for health. Hyponatremia is the consequence of over-hydration and can lead to tissue damage, interfere with brain, heart, and muscle function. And some severe symptoms are vomiting, muscle twitching, seizures, delirium, coma and even death.
Therefore, the best is drink water when you are thirsty and more importantly understanding and listening to your own body.
How about coffee, or sports drink?
With sweating, you lose fluids, electrolytes, sodium and chloride, which can actually cause your muscles pain and consequently a low level of performance.
You can consume some carbohydrate energy or sports drink to flame your endurance exercise. But unless the intensity of your exercises is extremely high, your electrolyte imbalance will not negatively interface your performance. Plain water may not help you to satiate your thirst if you indulge yourself hours and hours of exercise and here additional products can be your best help.
Coffee is another very popular caffeinated beverages and caffeine is a mild diuretic.
As pointed out in an article ‘Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review‘.
“Ingestion of caffeine in large doses (at least 250-300 mg, equivalent to the amount found in 2-3 cups of coffee or 5-8 cups of tea) results in a short-term stimulation of urine output in individuals who have been deprived of caffeine for a period of days or weeks. A profound tolerance to the diuretic and other effects of caffeine develops, however, and the actions are much diminished in individuals who regularly consume tea or coffee. Doses of caffeine equivalent to the amount normally found in standard servings of tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks appear to have no diuretic action.”
So don’t lose your head on how many glasses of water you drank today. As long as you keep yourself hydrated and are healthy, you are fine. Drink as many glasses of water your body asks for.