Do we really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?

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How often have you heard that you need to drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay healthy? The average adult’s body is made up of 50-65% water, so it’s important to keep those fluid levels topped up. Right? Well, actually, perhaps everything you’ve been told about drinking so much water is a myth. Is there even any science behind those 8 glasses of water a day? Let’s take a look.

Where 8 glasses came from

It is thought that the first source recommending 8 glasses of water a day was the 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation. In this paper, it was suggested that people consumed around 2.5 liters of water every single day – therefore equating to 8 glasses. However, what the recommendation also said was that the majority of this water was already in the food we consume. In fact, there is water to be found in pretty much everything we put in our bodies. Fruit, vegetables, even in coffee! There are no other scientific papers or proof that says humans should be drinking that much water every single day.

Health benefits of water

Along with there being no scientific evidence that people actually need to drink that much water, there is also no proof to say that drinking more water has any extra health benefits. While many scientists have looked into the claims of drinking plenty of water, nobody has found any real evidence that backs up those claims. A Clinics in Dermatology paper found that there was nothing to back up the claim drinking more water keeps your skin hydrated or wrinkle-free. Other studies have failed to find any evidence that drinking more water can help prevent kidney problems, such as kidney stones. So, are there actually any health benefits to drinking 8 glasses of water a day?

Preventing dehydration

Of course, there is one big health reason to get a good amount of water intake each day – preventing dehydration. While many media and news outlets tell us that we’re at risk of dehydration if we don’t get at least 2.5 liters a day, this is more of a scare tactic than anything. The thing is, our bodies are intelligent things. They will definitely let us know if we’re starting to get dehydrated, which is why we feel thirsty. Your body will tell you when to drink, long before it actually feels the effects of dehydration. While water is, of course, the best thing to drink to prevent dehydration, it doesn’t necessarily have to be 2.5 liters a day to stop that from happening.

So, science has no proof that drinking 8 glasses of water a day has any actual health benefits. And the original source actually said that much of that 2.5 liters comes in the food we eat anyway. What does this mean for us then? Well, it means we don’t have to panic too much about passing out from dehydration if we have only had a few glasses of water that day. Sure, keep sipping on the clear stuff, but remember it’s not the end of the world if you don’t chug 2.5 liters every day!

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