Question: Do I really need 6-8 glasses​ of water per day?

Question and AnswerQuestion and Answer

How much water should I drink every day?

Glass of water
Glass of water

There are almost as many different recommendations about how much water to drink as there are drops of water in a rainstorm. You can also search online for formula, and it can indicate how much water a healthy person should drink every day. The basic fact is that most Americans are chronically dehydrated and need to consume more water and less flavored drinks.

Your body needs adequate hydration to function efficiently. If you do not drink enough water, you will slowly become less efficient and ill. Every system in your body relies on water to remove toxins and function properly. There is no absolute requirement. Based on your diet and exercise level, your requirements vary, and the same is true from person to person.

Can you get too much water? Absolutely! People with kidney disease or heart failure can drink too much water and it can be hazardous to their health. For example, people who have heart failure can drink so much water that they essentially drown in the fluid. For this reason, in some people, it is vitally important that you discuss water consumption with a medical provider.

Also, water consumption may vary in the healthy depending on the weather, illness, or your activities. For example, if people are breathing a lot, exercising, febrile, sweating a lot, or are dealing with just about any acute illness, you should increase your water consumption to replace the increased water loss. In this case, six to eight glasses of water might not be enough.

Believe it or not, your body will let you know when you need more water. Your body’s thirst signals are very strong. You will feel a strong need to drink water and potentially hunger. Yes, sometimes people want to eat when they actually are thirsts. If you dieting, this cross sensation is one of the reasons why you need to remain hydrated. If you hydrate yourself adequately, you will feel satisfied when you’ve had enough, so you should listen to your body.

Another good measure of hydration is your urine. Unless you have a health condition that affects your body’s ability to regulate fluids and sense hydration status such as kidney or heart failure to regulate fluids, urination is a great measure of hydration status. If it slows and turns amber, drink more, it is clear and regular, you are well hydrated.

The bottom line: Drink water when you are thirsty and maybe when you are hungry too. It may just help you lose weight too. Absolute hydration numbers are just a target and are widely inaccurate for many. The best way to achieve optimal wellness is through a personalized diet and activity plan that reflects your unique needs and this includes hydration.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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