Realistically speaking we doubt that humans require half the amount of water that the internet is suggesting we drink daily. It’s often implied that we’re dehydrated before we have even gotten to the point of feeling thirsty. What? It makes no sense. There’s water everywhere, but too much water could kill you. Drinking 8 liters seems to be the goal for most, but new research on its effect on maintaining healthy skin, eyes, energy levels, and longevity begs to differ.
Perhaps realistically shoving water down your throat every two minutes is probably not the healthiest solution. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as drinking too much water. So you guys can relax and stop stressing over drinking 8 glasses a day. Trust us when we say we’re also guilty of stressing about not drinking enough water in a day. Realistically though, how much do we need? I suppose we should drink a bit more than we think since most people forget to drink water entirely.
We need to drink water for basic survival and not just for meeting health and fitness goals. Realistically speaking, water is what keeps us alive. But when is enough, enough? But the question is: how much is enough? Thankfully, there are certain experts in the matter who can happily clarify this puzzling situation. I bet you’re filling up your water bottle right now…
Realistically, How Much Water Is Too Much?
Stuart Galloway, an associate professor of physiology, exercise, and nutrition at the University of Stirling, says this is no longer sensible.
He adds that humans have a homeostatic system, so when we need water, we feel thirsty. Therefore, drinking when you are thirsty will help maintain your body’s water level within about 1-2% of its ideal state. In fact, for most people, this is absolutely fine.
He says that it’s fine even for athletes. Realistically, they experience a loss of around 1% which is considered to have a negligible impact on performance. So, although thirst may not kick in until you have lost body water, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Drinking at least 8-ounce glasses of water every day is enough to fill a two-liter bottle. That’s a lot. Realistically, even the most type-A people might find this exercise daunting. Although this is common advice, it is quite misleading.
Expert nutritionists state that all fluid requirements vary among individuals based on age, sex, activity level, and even where you live. Therefore, how much water you should drink a day may vary each day, depending on the other things you’re doing, eating, and drinking. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences recommends 2.7 (11 cups) liters to 3.7 liters (almost 16 cups) per day. However, they don’t say you need to drink all of that each day.
Realistically, you can’t get all that water from just drinking it.
Your Diet Can Keep You Hydrated Too
Take into consideration the fact that many other things you ingest can contribute to your level of hydration. Realistically, all fluids count toward your daily intake, not just plain old water. You can count all kinds of water sources from a basic glass of water, to a cup of coffee, to the water content of the foods you eat. Apparently, the food we eat makes up about one-fifth of your daily fluid intake. So realistically, you’re probably getting more water than you think. Try drinking when you’re thirsty and eating when you’re hungry. That’s your best bet rather than forcing the water down. You’re probably getting what you need, or pretty close to it. That’s why it’s not really sustainable to stress about drinking eight glasses a day.
According to the Mayo Clinic, realistically the benchmark should really be ‘eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid,’ not water. This is pretty misleading. When you drink things like milk, tea, and juice it all contributes to your total. If you’re worried about liquid calories, then other options are water infused with fruit and herbs, unsweetened tea, and sparkling water.
If you’re an avid coffee lover then you’ll be happy to know that coffee counts toward your water intake. Realistically, you need to watch out for too much caffeine because it is a diuretic. So this might make you pee more than usual. Also, keep an eye on those coffee creamers and spoons of sugar. Black is your best bet.
Realistically, What’s The Truth About Hydration?
There is a lot of mixed information out there when it comes to dehydration. Nobody really talks about it and that’s why it is quite a gray area. Many people still believe that water is a purifying fast-track to glowing skin, bright eyes, and bags of energy. However, there’s no such thing as detox and your kidneys do a very good job of sorting out what you need to retain and what you need to get rid of.
As for your skin? Well, being dehydrated won’t help but once you hit a certain level of fluid intake, providing you are healthy, any excess water will be peed out. Unless you drink more than you can pee. Experts explain that drinking too much water can kill. Water intoxication occurs when the amount of electrolytes in the body becomes imbalanced by excessive water intake, disrupting brain function. Realistically, drinking water for the sake of it might not be the best.
Having said that, headaches are most commonly caused by dehydration. Therefore, chronic mild dehydration may trigger headaches. This means that it might help to increase your intake of water, but studies still can’t prove this and there’s a lot of gray area left.
Am I Drinking Enough Water?
Realistically speaking, you probably are. However, the best way to gauge your daily water intake is by how your body feels. It can be tricky to keep track of every ounce of fluid. The first sign will be when you are physically feeling thirsty. Your mouth is dry and you need water. You are probably already dehydrated. Shape says that another good way to determine your fluid status is by taking a peek inside the toilet after you pee. ‘If your urine is light yellow, you’re probably getting enough fluids. If it’s dark or smells strong, you probably need more water.’
Moreover, you should make an effort to drink more whenever you’re exercising. Along with food, water is the fuel that powers your workouts. When you sweat, realistically you’re losing water, which means you have to replenish it as you go. You should aim to drink one or two cups of water before you exercise, and sip about a half to one cup of water every 15 minutes while you’re working out. If you’re sweating a lot, or you’re in the hot sun, you might need more. Just listen to your body.
Realistically, we don’t want you to keep obsessing over how many glasses of water you’re drinking. It’s helpful to be mindful but try not to obsess over it, just sip on some water throughout the day. Drinking filtered water is a great option to make sure you are ingesting clean and fresh water. You can get filtered water in your entire household if you use a whole house water filter. If you’d like, keep a refillable water bottle with you all day, so you can constantly sip whenever you want.
Want to know more?
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The truth about hydration: should you drink eight glasses of water a day?. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/27/the-truth-about-hydration-should-you-drink-eight-glasses-of-water-a-day.
Here’s Exactly How Much Water You Should Drink Every Day. Shape Magazine. https://www.self.com/story/how-much-water-should-you-drink-a-day
Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx
Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256