Chances are you have read or heard somewhere that you should consume 8 glasses of water per day. But, is this true? Should the recommendation of 8 glasses per day be a rule to live your life by? Or, is there a better way to predict your water needs?
Depending on your age and body structure, water is anywhere between 50 and 75 percent of your body composition. It’s an essential nutrient, which means you needed in order to survive. You get some of your water requirements through eating water dense foods, but most of your body’s water needs are met by drinking fluids.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Water helps regulate temperature
Water lubricates the musculoskeletal joints
Water Removes waste products from the body
Water protects & cushions your nerve system and other sensitive tissues
Short-Term Symptoms of Dehydration
Dry Mouth, Eyes, and Lips
Fatigue & Foggy Headed Thinking
Moodiness or Mood Change
Overheating & Dehydration can lead to organ failure, coma and even death
The Link Between Wellness, Weight Loss & Water Consumption
Sugary drinks are one of the most common sources of added sugar in the American diet. This poor source of calories is a major contributing factor for weight gain and poor dental health. Switching to water not only reduces your caloric intake and dental health. Additionally, “preloading” with a couple glasses of water before a meal has been shown to help with appetite suppression and the feeling of being full.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has also found that younger Americans who consume higher amounts of junk food drink less water and vise versa. Those who drink higher quantities of water choose to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
According to a Survey published by the CDC in 2013
36% of people said they drink 1 to 3 cups of water per day
35% of people said they drink 4 to 7 cups of water per day
22% of people said they drink 8 or more cups of water per day
7% of adults said they do not drink water daily
How Much Water Should You Consume?
The cold hard truth is that no one can predict exactly how much water you should consume daily. Your daily needs are dependent on your type & intensity of activity, body size & muscle mass, and even your environmental climate.
8 glasses of water per day is not an effective estimate of your daily needs when considering the variability these factors. For the First 21 Water Challenge we recommend your baseline water intake be ½ of your body weight in ounces of water. We like using your body weight because it is the least likely to fluctuate dramatically from day to day. As an example, your daily water intake goal would be 100 ounces of water if you weighed in at 200 pounds. Then increase or decrease your intake with changes in your activity or environmental climate.
Word of Caution
You can drink too much water. Overhydration is rarely caused from drinking too much water but does happen wither certain medical conditions.
Medical Conditions Associated with Overhydration
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone (SIAH)
Nausea & Vomiting
Confusion or Changes in Awareness
Untreated Overhydration Can Lead to Severe Symptoms
Cramps & Spasms
Loss of Consciousness