The “Eight glasses of water per day” argument gets thrown around a lot in pretty much every diet/nutrition/piece of advice you can find. Your doctor has probably suggested it too. But is it really necessary? Is it the right amount?
Here’s the thing — there was a study published in 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania (click here for the link:http://bbc.in/WaterInfo
), which suggested that a lot of the big claims that get attached to drinking large amounts of water — weight loss, cleansing toxins, stopping headaches, keeping your skin healthier
— had very little evidence behind them.
So — should we still be drinking all this water, if it’s not solving all those problems we thought it was?
There are two main reasons for doing so.
If you’re following any of the exercises on the site, you are sweating, and you are doing some intense physical activity
. There is absolutely no doubt
that you need a lot of water to keep your body hydrated. If you’re exercising in any way, drinking water is beyond fundamental
. The nutritional boards of most countries suggest somewhere between 1 to 2 litres per day for an ‘average-sized’ person. But do remember — if you have a big mug of tea, that (mostly) counts towards your quota, too. We’ll explain why below. But first, to reason #2:
While huge amounts of water don’t contribute directly to weight loss, consuming a good amount of water can temper your hunger — a lot of which is mental
, anyway. If you eat out of habit, or too often, try switching to water (sparkling, if regular water bores you terribly), and your “hunger” suddenly won’t be as bad.
Those Water Drinking Myths.
What some of these recent studies found is that we still manage to take in a lot of water during the day, and that many of the common things we hear about ‘diuretics’ aren’t really that severe
. Stop me if you’ve heard this one — “drinking coffee, even though it’s full of water, doesn’t give you any of the ‘benefits’ of water.”
It gets even crazier — it often feels like coffee and tea are placed on the same level as beer. Now beer
a water-based drink that will
make you dehydrated, because the amount of times it will send you to the bathroom (and all the other fun things alcohol does to your body and brain) can throw your fluid intake right off, especially if you drink a lot of it.
But when you drink eight cups of coffee in a day, your body is still receiving a huge amount of the water
that’s in that coffee. The presence of some ground coffee beans doesn’t suddenly render that water completely useless — the real issue is simply the eight cups of coffee per day.
That’s a lot of caffeine, and probably a lot of milk and sugar for some, too.
If you can replace half or more of those coffees with water (we know, it’s not easy), 99% of the benefit will come from reducing the coffee/milk/sugar/caffeine intake, not from some inherent, magic quality ascribed to huge amounts of water. But that argument applies to a lot of diet-related issues — it’s not always the positive qualities of the new food/drink that matter, as much as the reduction of the old, harmful one.
What to Avoid:
- Flavored water drinks with extra ingredients.
- Energy/Sports drinks.
When you start downing these — especially the sports drinks — after a workout, you’re looking to rehydrate yourself, which makes it all the more likely that you’ll over-consume what is essentially a sugar-filled soda. Besides — we should save our sugar intake for something that tastes better, anyway — something we can eat in relative peace — without the post-workout demands of our body bearing down on us.
Let’s Talk About It.
We’re not trying to be intentionally controversial — even if some of the claims are a bit dubious, the drink lots of water
claim is fundamentally good and sound in the end
. And there’s no discounting the placebo effect, either — if we feel like lots of water is making us healthier, it probably is, even if it’s not doing everything
the claims always say.
But we still want to know — what do you think? Feel free to start a conversation in the comments. We love reading everything you have to say, especially when tons of different viewpoints get involved!
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