What is great about water is how much it helps you when it comes to losing weight and curbing your appetite. It’s true. But is there such a thing as drinking too much water? Actually, most people don’t drink enough water.
ok , so seriously, how much water should you drink in a day?
Stupidly simple question right? How could this be complicated?
Well – there are a lot of very simple, definitive answers for how much water you should drink in a day. And like most easy, simple answers – they’re wrong.
The truth is, the right amount of water for you in a day depends on you – who you are, how old you are, what you do, etc.
So let’s answer those questions, so that you can know how much water you should drink in a day, rather than reading “Get 8-12 glasses a day!” and throwing your computer against the wall in frustration.
Why Do I Need Water In The First Place?
We’re gonna start real simple here. Bear with me.
Your body is more than 60% water by weight, and literally every single part of it depends on water to function (1).
(Plus, did you know that you can lose weight with water?)
Your body needs water to flush out toxins from your liver, bring vital nutrients to your cells, and keep your ears, nose, and throat humming along smoothly.
Without water, none of that happens, and you die. You knew this already.
Water is good. But how much?
How Much Water Should I Drink Per Day?
Well, think about it this way. Every time you breathe out, your body is losing water. Every time you sweat, your body is losing water. Every time you use the bathroom, your body is losing water (2). You’ve gotta replace all that lost water, or it’s bad news for you and your body. But how much? Well, the Institute of Medicine released an average amount of water needed per day for men and women. Men should get about 3 liters of beverage per day, while women need about 2.2 liters (3).
But What About The 8 Glasses A Day Thing?
Turns out, it’s pretty much the same. 8 (8 oz) glasses of water per day comes out to 1.9 liters.
However, there’s something super important to remember.
What you drink doesn’t have to be water.
The Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 8 glasses a day recommendations are for total liquid intake, not just water.
So if you’re drinking fruit juice, or seltzer, or other hydrating drinks, that counts. (Even protein packed smoothies!)
If you’re drinking beer, or soda, or something that’s not going to hydrate you so well – it doesn’t count.
But How Much Water Do I Need?
Your intake depends on you, and on some factors about your lifestyle. Let’s take a look!
If you’re sick and have a fever, or you’re throwing up, you gotta drink more fluids, because your body is losing more fluids.
Other conditions that require more fluid intake are urinary tract stones and bladder infections.
However, if you have a condition like heart failure or kidney or liver disease, your body actually has trouble getting rid of water, and you have to drink less.
This is going to sound really, super obvious, but if you’re in a hot, humid environment and you’re sweating a lot, you’re going to need more water.
Shocking, I know.
Also, if you’re at a high altitude – above 8,000 feet – you’ll need more fluid intake.
We’re really covering the advanced stuff now!
If you’re exercising, you’re probably sweating. If you’re sweating, you gotta get that fluid back!
If you’re exercising intensely for more than an hour, you need lots of fluid! Plus, you’re going to need to drink something that has sodium in it, to replace the sodium lost to sweat.
If you’re pregnant or breast feeding, you need more fluid to keep yourself hydrated.
Pregnant women should drink at least 2.3 liters per day, and breast feeding women should drink at least 3.1 liters per day.
But What If I’m Sick Of Drinking Water?
Good news! There’s other ways to stay hydrated!
You can get your fluid needs from foodstuff. Shocking but true!
Try eating fruits and vegetables like watermelon and spinach – they’re more than 90% water by weight and will help keep you hydrated.
But if you’re jonesing for that liquid hydration (and who isn’t), stick with milk and juice if you’re not drinking water. You could drink coffee, tea, or soda, or alcoholic beverages, but they don’t really do a good job hydrating you.
How Do I Know If I’m Hydrated?
Are you super thirsty? No? Congratulations, you’re probably pretty hydrated!
Also, if your urine is clear or light yellow, you’re doing well. If you’re still worried about how much fluid you’re getting per day and whether you’re staying hydrated, talk to your doctor and ask them what’s right for you.