Everyone is aware of the importance of hydration, what is the ideal amount of water to drink, isn’t an easy question to answer.
In the early 90’s, doctor’s recommendation was to drink 8 cups of water per day. That’s 64 ounces, or 2 quarts. Many people were seen carrying jugs of water with them at that time, even gallon size, attempting to meet the recommendations, some probably went overboard.
Bodyweight varies greatly from person to person, 8 cups may be too much for some and not enough for others, so this was a poor advise. At present, a common recommendation is to drink half of our bodyweight in ounces daily.
For a person weighing 160 pounds: 160 : 2= 80 ounces, or 2.5 quarts. This is much better, since it is body mass specific. However, there are other variables to how much “life giving substance” we need daily.
One is the ambient temperature, the other is physical exertion, both impacting perspiration. In hotter weather, or with intense physical activity, the need for water intake increases exponentially.
When a person is exposed to triple digit summer temperatures throughout the day, an entire gallon of water can easily be needed to keep the body hydrated. The same individual may only need a fraction of that amount in cold weather, due to minimal perspiration.
Diet is another factor for determining water intake. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, thus someone on a plant based diet ingests a significant amount of water with their food. A person on a high fat diet, such as Keto would be the opposite, extra fluid is needed.
Other liquids, or drinks, such as milk, fruit juices, coffee, tea, smoothes, consumed throughout the day also need to be factored in..
A source of misinformation in the past concerned coffee and tea. Because people tend to visit the bathroom often after consuming either one, coffee and tea were – and still are by some – considered diuretic. Hence the commonly held view was not to count the water in them as part of water intake.
Some people even believed, that for every cup of coffee consumed, a person should drink 6 times as much water extra. Let’s do the math, how it works out, if the advise if followed:
A small size coffee equals 12 ounces. Having two a day, that’s 24 oz. 24 x 6 = 72 ounces. An additional 2 quart + 8 ounces of water would be required, that’s more, than a half gallon. And many people get medium, or large size coffee, or caffeinated drinks.
That’s a lot of extra water, it can’t be good for someone’s kidneys to force themselves to take in those excessive amounts.
Experts now agree, that the water in coffee and tea – which is almost a 100% of it – should be counted, as part of our water intake. That’s common sense if we think about it, the reason why a person visits the restroom after consuming coffee, or tea is simply because a significant amount of liquid was consumed.
So how much water should you drink? With all the variables – body weight, ambient temperatures, physical activity, diet, fluid intake – it’s impossible to give a specific number.
Bathroom visits give a good indication. When we are hydrated, the urine color will be light yellow to almost clear. When visiting the restroom a lot and the urine is clear, that is a sign of drinking too much water. When seldom going and the urine color is dark yellow, that’s a sign of dehydration.
Ideally, we would simply need to listen to our bodies to know when to drink and how much. After all, that is why we have the ability to feel thirst. But the daily stress of life, distractions, sugary drinks, make it challenging to always be in touch with our bodies and rely on that alone.