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Myth Debunked – Benefits Of Drinking 8 Glasses Of Water A Day

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

‘Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day!’ You have probably read about this and heard this long and often enough to believe that it is the gospel truth for keeping your body adequately hydrated. However, drinking eight glasses of water a day is nothing more than a popularly propagated health myth.Indeed, keeping your body duly hydrated contributes to your overall health and well-being, as every cell in your body needs fluids for proper functioning. Even slight dehydration can interfere with the body’s ability to function well and manifest itself in form symptoms such as light-headedness, irritability and headaches.It is, perhaps, this fear of dehydration that has led self-proclaimed health experts and overzealous fitness trainers to put a number on the daily water requirement of the human body. Be that as it may, it is not possible to generalize the water requirement of the entire human race. The 8-glasses-a-day is but a generalized figure that may or may not meet, or even exceed your body’s requisite water intake.

The genesis of this Myth

Health experts and doctors find themselves at a loss as to where the ‘eight glasses of water a day’ theory originated. A 2002 study titled, ‘Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Really? Is there scientific evidence for ”8×8”?’ tried to get to the bottom of this myth and traced its roots to a single paragraph in a 1945 report by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council in the US that states that adults should consume nearly 2.5 litres of water every day, which roughly equates to eight glasses of water.However, the same report also noted that a large part of this water requirement is met by water content in the foods we consume and supplemented by beverages such as tea, coffee, milk and even soft drinks. Somehow, the 2.5 litres figure stood out and gave way to the eight glasses of water a day theory.Read More: 6 Benefits of Drinking Water in The Morning

The Facts

If one looks at the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for water intake, it becomes amply clear that the amount of water needed by the body varies according to different physiological and demographic factors such as age, sex, location, climate, activity levels and more.For the sake of aggregation, the average total water intake has been pegged at 2.7 litres for women and 3.7 litres for men, ‘total’ is the keyword here.This means that you do not need to drink 2.7 litres or 3.7 litres of water straight from the faucet. Our food intake meets about 20 per cent of this value. Beverages such as fruit juices, soft drinks, milk, tea and coffee also contribute toward a portion of the remaining 80 per cent of the body’s water requirement.Also Read: How to Control Diabetes Without Medicine: The Research-Backed Lifestyle Changes That Can HelpIn addition to this, the body’s water requirement may vary depending on individual lifestyle factors:
  • People who exercise or play sports tend to lose more body fluids through sweat and therefore, need more water to replenish the body cells.
  • People living in hot and humid areas require additional fluid intake to avoid dehydration. The same is true for those residing in high altitude regions.
  • Certain medical conditions or temporary illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhoea and fever, also call for increased fluid intake, besides oral rehydration supplements.
  • Expecting or lactating mothers need to consume more fluids than other women.
  • Similarly, your body’s need for water also varies daily depending on your food intake. For example, if you eat watermelons, spinach or cucumbers, all of which have heavy water content, on a particular day, the amount of water you need to drink on that day automatically goes down.
Your body gives you signs that you need to drink water long before dehydration sets in. The most practical rule of thumb is to keep a bottle of water handy and drink whenever you feel thirsty.Also Read: Drinking Water for Weight Loss – Does It Work?Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.


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