How much water should you drink per day?

Is it true that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day?

Many people wonder if it is true that we should drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and healthy. In this article you will find answers to the question of how much water you should drink during the course of the day. In Life and Health we worry about you staying hydrated.

If you ask any person, he will respond instantly and almost as if it were the sacred word. How much water should you drink per day? “8 glasses”, he’s going to tell you. Try it. Everyone seems to know this maxim of popular wisdom. So surely we all repeat this, that we still have to ask ourselves if it is really what we need to keep ourselves hydrated and healthy.

In fact, it is said that this advice to take 8 glasses of water a day, may be the product of a misinterpretation. Apparently in the 40s, the National Academy of Sciences recommended that one milliliter of liquid be taken for each calorie we consumed. Doing the math, this equates to almost 8 glasses of water for a 2,000-calorie diet. But the Academy was clear in recommending that this amount of liquid could also come from the liquid contained in the food . Also, not all people need to consume 2,000 calories a day.

In response to the eternal question of how much water should be taken per day , in 2008, a study found that the famous 8 glasses a day do not really have magical powers over health. At least, they have no scientifically proven effects. Stanley Goldfarb, a physician and professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania  summed it up: “There is no clear evidence of the benefits of drinking too much water,” adding, “There is also no evidence that it does not have benefits.” That is, there is still nothing scientific to prove either of the two theories.

So, in short, with so many findings that seem to contradict, how much water should you drink per day? To understand well, we must first stop to analyze the importance of water in our body.

Water is the main chemical component of our body and represents about 60% of body weight. Every cell and every system of your body depends on water: either to transport nutrients, eliminate toxins or to keep certain organs and tissues hydrated. If you do not drink water, it makes you thirsty, which is a sign that your body is getting dehydrated , that is, it is losing the water it needs to be able to fulfill all the vital functions.

Every day, you lose water through sweat, urine, breathing and feces. That is why you must constantly replace what you lose. But how to know how much water you need? This also depends on each person: their lifestyle, their physical activity and environmental factors such as climate. In general, doctors recommend between 8 and 9 glasses and that is how they came to calculate this figure:

  • The average urine of an adult is 6.3 glasses per day (1.5 liters). To this you add that you lose the equivalent of 4 glasses (1 liter) through sweat, breathing and stool. Through food, you consume a total of 20% of the liquids you need. Therefore, if you also consume 8 glasses (2 liters) of water per day, you will be able to replace everything you lose.
  • The US National Academy of Medicine advises that men consume about 13 glasses (3 liters) of drinks a day and women, about 9 glasses (2.2 liters) of fluids daily.

How can you tell if you are hydrating enough? If you do not feel thirsty and produce 6.3 glasses (1.5 liters) of almost transparent colored urine, you are probably hydrating well. If your urine is too yellow and you are very thirsty, you need to check the amount of fluid you drink.

Aspects to take into account when calculating the amount of water you must take:

  • Exercise. If you exercise daily you should hydrate before, during and after physical activity . This adds approximately 3 glasses of additional water. Although sport depends, if it is very vigorous or lasts a long time, you may require even more.
  • Weather. If you live in a humid and hot climate, you sweat and lose more fluids than someone who lives in a temperate and dry climate. In the winter, places with heating make the body also lose its moisture, so you must drink more liquids.
  • Altitude: if you live in a city more than 2,500 meters (8,500 feet) high, you need to drink more liquid because you will urinate more. Breathing tends to be faster and therefore, you lose more fluids.
  • Diseases. If you have diarrhea, vomiting and fever you should stay hydrated. You need more fluids because you are losing them.
  • Pregnancy and lactation . It is recommended that pregnant women take an average of 10 glasses of water (or liquids such as fruit and vegetable juices) per day. Those who are in the stage of lactation, should drink 13 glasses of liquids a day.

Remember that the amount of liquids you need can also be obtained not only from water, but from other foods composed of water such as fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes and watermelon, for example, are composed mostly of water.

If you have doubts about the amount of water you should drink per day, talk to your doctor about it. As I mentioned earlier, each person is different and their needs vary according to their circumstances. There are medical situations where the person may have restrictions on the amount of liquids that they can drink. And, in case you had doubts, if there is a possibility of drinking too much water, it does not happen frequently but in excess it can be dangerous.

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