8 Glasses of Water a Day: Myth or Fact?

We’ve all heard we that we are supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day but there is no scientific research to back this and some health professionals think this requirement is “nonsense.”

No one is arguing that our bodies don’t need to be properly hydrated – we are in fact 75 percent water. But, how much water we need to actually drink to stay hydrated is another story.

I’ve personally experienced this!  I barely drank water for TWO YEARS and stayed fully hydrated. How I accomplished that will become obvious.

How Did The 8 Glasses a Day Idea Come About?

It all began in 1945, when the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board published: “A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 liters daily in most instances.  An ordinary standard for diverse people is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food.  Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”

Since then, The British Dietetic Association has declared that an average adult should drink 10.5 cups of water per day.

Also, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association says the average sedentary man should drink 12 glasses of water a day, and the average sedentary woman 9 glasses per day.

The truth is water is an essential nutrient for life. Without water we would die in a few days. No other nutrient deficiency has such a profound effect.  Seventy-five percent of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration, according to doctors.

Should You Really Drink That Much Water?

To drink 8 glasses of water a day is “thoroughly debunked nonsense,” being spread by bottled water companies in order to churn up more profit, says Dr. Margaret McCartney, a general practitioner from Scotland.

Then there are unfounded claims that older adults need to drink more water.

“… Healthy older adults maintain water input, output and balance comparable to those of younger adults and have no apparent change in hydration status.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

So How DO We Stay Hydrated?

If you read the first water requirement from the US Food and Nutrition Board you will probably notice the “2.5 Liters per day part”.  What everyone has been failing to notice is the last sentence which says… “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods”.

You DO eat prepared foods don’t you? You do consume raw food don’t you?

Yes. We can get water fluids from our foods, especially fruits and vegetables. See below the few examples of food with high water content.

High water content fruits and vegetables are the gateway to health.

Food: Percent Water by Weight

  • Lettuce (1/2 cup)        95
  • Watermelon (1/2 cup)92
  • Broccoli (1/2 cup)       91
  • Grapefruit (1/2)          91
  • Orange juice (3/4 cup) 88
  • Carrot (1/2 cup)         87
  • Apple (1 medium)      84
  • Kidney beans, boiled (1/2 cup) 67

You can take in tons of water from the food you consume daily.

Staying Hydrated is Easy! Increase Water Intake PLUS More Fruits and Vegetables

Most of us do need to drink more water, particularly when exercising and when it’s hot but it’s just as important that we consume more fruits and vegetables.

Consuming more fruits and vegetables offers a host of healthy benefits beyond just hydration.

  • Fruits and vegetables are essential in creating acid/alkaline balance for your body. Read: 10 Tips To Create Acid/Alkaline Balance.
  • Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that your body needs.
  • “A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health … most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day,” states  Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Consuming more vegetables is the easiest way I know to lose weight!

Do YOU Need To Hydrate?

If you have any of these symptoms, you should be drinking more water and/or eating more fruits and vegetables.

  • Best way to know: “If your urine becomes darkly colored, you’re dehydrated. The urine should be light, straw colored,” Grace Webb, Assistant Director for Clinical Nutrition at New York Hospital. Note: if you are consuming riboflavin (vitamin B2, also found in most multi-vitamins), it turns your urine bright yellow.
  • Thirst and a dry mouth are not the first signs of dehydration.
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Low energy
  • Confusion or Dizziness
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Dry skin
  • Headache

When and How You Drink Water Can Also Make a Big Difference

Proper timing, temperature and quality of water can help to improve digestion, reduce constipation  and balance in the body and many other ways.  Read more here: Tips For Drinking Water For Maximum Health Benefits.

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Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons11 months ago

There have been cases of people dying from drinking too much water.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons11 months ago

Non domestic cats get almost all of their water from their food.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons11 months ago

If your urine becomes darkly colored your kidneys are failing and you need to go to the emergency room right away. My son almost died from a misdiagnosed strep infection that went to his kidneys. Luckily a doctor figured out what was wrong with him. They kept telling us at first it was just the flu.

JD She
JD Sheabout a year ago

We encourage kidney failure patients on dialysis to drink 4 to 6 8oz cups of fluid per day, MAX (that is approx. 3 cans of soda). That includes all liquid foods like soup, popsicles, ice... and they survive on this amount of fluid. Nobody LIKES to drink that little, but they do survive.

Patricija Velecki
Patricija Veleckiabout a year ago

I drink about more than 3,5l of water per day and that's because I feel I need water even I don't eat much salty food,plus I eat pretty much fruit and veggies(I'm vegetarian)

Freya H.
Freya H.about a year ago

Time and again I read that the eight glasses a day claim is pure bullwash. I drink tea and water, as well as coffee and the occasional beer. I also eat as much of fresh food - which has plenty of water in it - so I don't have any problems.

Sharon Stein
Sharon Steinabout a year ago

THANK g_d tea isn't dehydrating as much as was thought or I would never get enough water!

Rachelle Buenaventura
Rachelle Buenaventuraabout a year ago

Helpful article! Thanks a load... I also drink fresh coconut juice... second to water...

Jeremy S.
Jeremy S.about a year ago

As we move into the hottest part of the summer, it's good to have a timely reminder on the importance of remaining hydrated, and the debates that still rage on about the subject.

Although, personally, if I try to fill my glasses with water, I can no longer see out of them...

Zahra I.
Zahra i.about a year ago

Thanks for the article!!