Do I really need 8 x 8oz glasses of water each day?

How many people you know, actually drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water each and every day?

Do you reach that daily threshold?

And yet here we are, walking, talking, breathing, living, in spite of the fact that many of us are not reaching that daily goal.

Despite the seemingly ubiquitous admonition to “drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day” (with an accompanying reminder that beverages containing caffeine and alcohol do not count), rigorous proof for this counsel appears to be lacking.  – NIH. Dartmouth Medical School. Abstract

One topic you will see repeated throughout the XFNC is that each of us is unique.  Our physiology may be the same but our individual needs are based on multiple factors.

Your water needs depend upon your personal environment: The climate where you live, the job you work, your daily activity level, your current health status, illness and your age.

WATER

The most essential nutrient in our bodies, accounting for more than half our body weight, water aids in every biological process and provides many health benefits.

  • maintaining bodily fluids – hydration
  • flushing toxins out of vital organs
  • Improving kidney function and reducing your risk for kidney stones
  • regulating your temperature
  • carrying nutrients to your cells
  • keeping your skin moisturized and elastic
  • lubricating your joints and organs
  • maintaining and energizing your muscles 
  • helping you reduce your caloric intake
  • aiding your digestion

We lose water in the process of detoxifying our systems via bowels, urination and sweat.

Lack of water = dehydration.  This is bad!

Fluid replenishment is crucial to healthy bodily function.

Your body is an amazing machine, doing whatever it takes to maintain its fluid balance/hydration.  It will extract the water it requires from just about everything you ingest – fruit, vegetables, prepared foods, and yes all fluids including sodas and coffee.

Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, have a diuretic effect causing you to quickly lose a portion of what you just drank.   Adding sugar and creamers to your coffee also adds calories.  This can be bad!

Sodas = excess sugar.  This too is bad!

Don’t even get me started on all the health risks associated with artificial sweeteners, so drop the “diet” sodas.  You are only fooling yourself.

Artificial sweeteners – bad!

Alcohol – Although that one glass may have health benefits, each additional glass is exponentially detrimental to your health, on top of the excess sugar and calories!

Excess alcohol – uh, bad!

One of the many benefits of simply drinking water instead of all other fluids – water is calorie free!

Don’t Confuse Hunger with Thirst.

The brain’s hunger center is next to the thirst center.

Since the body can extract much of the water it needs from food, this adds to your confusion in craving food, when it is actually water replenishment the body requires.

To make matters worse, our ability to discern the difference between thirst and hunger diminishes with age.

But Brian, seriously, do I need precisely 8 x 8oz glasses of water each day?

The short answer is – NO.

YOU may require even more!

However, if you are not pregnant, not breast feeding, not suffering an illness, living in a controlled climate, not sweating, not exercising, and basically sedentary – you could require less water.

Otherwise, particularly since you ARE exercising, you will reap the rewards of drinking the recommended six to eight glasses of water, or more, daily.

My recommendation is to not stress yourself out counting your 8oz glasses of water each day OR beat yourself up if you did not make it to eight today.

Stress is also bad!

Drink Water by Association.

Associate drinking a glass or bottle of water with everything you do.

Each morning drink a glass of water.

Before exercise, drink a glass of water. This can be a protein powder mixed in a glass of water.

During exercise, drink a glass of water.

After exercise, drink a glass of water. This can include a recovery supplement or protein powder and juice.

Before each meal, drink a glass of water. This should help you feel fuller, faster, so you eat less.

During each meal, drink a full glass of water.

As a meal, you could drink a quality meal replacement supplement mixed in a glass of water.

Between meals, drink a glass of water.

Each time you sense hunger, first, drink a glass of water.

Keep a thermos or water bottle filled with water, of course.  Add some lemon juice if you like.  Take it with you everywhere you go.  In your car, where you work, when you walk, run, bike, go to the gym, next to your recliner while watching TV, etc.

If you stop worrying about the 8 x 8oz glasses each day and instead drink water by association with all of your daily activities, before you know it you will have easily consumed the equivalent of six to eight 8oz glasses of water, or more, each day.

Do this daily and it will become habit.

This is good!

  • Stephen N

    Great advice……..Using the habits you described above rather than stressing over getting PRECISELY that dang 8X8 glasses of water each day like you’re a lab experiment or something.

    • Thanks Steve! When I tried to drink 8 glasses a day I don’t recall that I ever accomplished it. After I began practicing the above, I seldom drink less than 7 now, and usually more.