We know that water is essential for our bodies to function and for our organs to flush out toxins, and we need it to replace all of the fluids we sweat out during a workout. So how much water do you really need?
The whole eight eight-ounce servings of water per day rule isn’t actually based on any science, and when it first appeared in a nutrition guide in 1945, it even noted that you could get most of this water from the foods you eat.
You could also get the water from other beverages, but many other drinks have added sugars and calories that your body doesn’t need. While there’s nothing wrong with drinking eight glasses of water a day, there is no actual reason that you need to drink that exact amount. In fact, everyone needs a different amount of water.
There have been some studies that show that drinking six cups of water a day will give you better odds of not developing bladder cancer than those who drink only one cup. A study of Seventh Day Adventists showed that women who drink at least three cups of water per day and men who drink at least three cups (though more than five cups were better) had a lower risk of dying during the six-year study period.
Your body is the best indicator of how much water you need, it will let you know when water supplies are getting low. Do you feel thirsty? You need to drink water. Has it been a while since you hit the restroom? You need to drink water. Is your urine darker than lemonade?
You need to drink water (aim for a pale straw or lemonade color.) If your mouth is dry or you have a headache, you might need some more water, too. If you’ll be working out, you should bring a water bottle with you because you will likely be thirsty during and afterward, but there’s no pressure to finish the entire bottle if you’ve already quenched your thirst. Your body will tell you whether you’ve replenished all of the water you’ve sweat out.
If you’re looking to lose weight, water is a calorie-free way to feel fuller. Drinking a glass before meals can help you to eat less, so consider adding some water to your life before consuming a meal. Those with certain medical conditions may also need more water – those with kidney stones need more water than the average healthy person.
Water is great – it’s calorie-free, it’s mostly easy to access, and it keeps our bodies functioning. However, there’s no hard and fast rule about how much water you need to drink. Stop stressing over the amount you’re consuming and focus on what your body is telling you. And don’t forget to bring your water bottle to the gym! Just because there’s no set amount of water you need to consume doesn’t mean that you don’t need it at all!