Do We Drink Enough Water a Day?

November 9, 2014
We've always been told that we need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but is it really true?

Do you drink enough water a day? You’ve probably often asked yourself whether you really do need to drink those 8 glasses of water a day that the experts recommend.

We’re going to take this opportunity to discover if 8 glasses of water a day really are necessary in order to keep ourselves well hydrated. Moreover, we’ll determine whether this precious liquid can be found elsewhere too.

When many people are asked how much water they should be drinking on a daily basis, their immediate response is 8 glasses. It is almost an automatic response, as that is the recommendation we are always hearing from the experts.

However, we often wonder whether that amount of water is necessary to keep our organs in good shape. So, do you drink enough water a day?

Do we drink enough water a day, and do we really need 8 glasses?

Undoubtedly, researchers have been investigating the correct amount of water that we should drink for a long time now.

Additionally, a lot of research has been carried out to help us see that maybe those 8 glasses of water a day aren’t strictly necessary. It hasn’t actually been scientifically proven that those 8 glasses actually provide us with health benefits or not.

Water in our body

Water is the main component in our bodies. It accounts for almost 60 per cent of our body weight. All of our systems and every part of our body is dependent on water in order to function. Some to transport nutrients, others to eliminate toxins, and still others to keep our tissues and organs well hydrated.

In this regard, when we don’t drink enough water, we can feel very thirsty. This, of course, indicates that we are not sufficiently hydrated.

Along those same lines, we are constantly losing water, whether it is through sweat, urine, breathing or excrement. For this reason, we must constantly replace the water our bodies lose.

However, we must take into account that each person is different. Not all people require the same amount of liquid to remain perfectly hydrated. This depends on each person’s lifestyle, the weather and the physical activity they engage in.

Medical recommendations regarding water consumption

A person filling a glass of water from the tap.

When doctors recommend drinking between 8 and 9 glasses of water per day, they are basing their calculation on the amount of liquid we lose through urine. This can be between 3 and 6 glasses per day. Then, to that, we add the 4 glasses of water loss due to sweat, respiration and excrement.

We obtain almost 20 per cent of the liquid we need through food on top of the two liters of water recommended. In other words, 8 glasses are enough to replace the entire amount of liquid lost during the day.

A very easy way of determining whether you are well hydrated or not is whether you feel thirsty or not. Additionally, the color of your urine is also a useful guideline; it should be a clear color. You should be concerned if it is a dark or murky color. In that case you should be asking yourself whether you are drinking enough water or not.

See also: What the Color of Urine Says About Your Health

Calculating how much water you need

To calculate the amount of water that each person requires, we should keep the following in mind:

  • When you exercise: When you exercise daily, you should hydrate yourself before, during and after working out. You should, therefore, drink at least three more glasses of water.
  • The weather: People who live in hot and humid climates sweat more than people who live in dry and mild climates.
  • Elevation: People who live at an altitude of more than 2,500 meters above sea level should drink more liquids because they urinate more and their breathing is quicker.
  • Illnesses: When someone is suffering from diarrhea, vomiting and/or fever, then it’s very important for them to keep themselves hydrated.
  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding: It is very important that women at this stage in their lives drink at least 13 glasses of liquids per day, whether it be water or natural juices.

Read more: 6 Herbal Remedies to Treat Diarrhea

Stay well hydrated!

It’s important to keep in mind that we can obtain the amount of liquids we need to be well hydrated through the consumption of fruits, such as watermelon and tomatoes, to name just two.

If, despite these recommendations, you still have questions about the amount of water that your body needs, you should ask for a medical opinion since there are some health conditions that restrict the consumption of liquids.

Because of this, people suffering from those conditions would suffer from an excessive consumption of water.

Valtin, H. (2002). “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 × 8”? American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00365.2002