How much Water should we Drink?
While everybody is different, and requires different amounts of water, a 2004, Institute of Medicine for the National Academies published reference intakes for water, and made the general recommendation of 2.7 liters (or 97 ounces) of water for women and 3.7 liters (125 ounces) for men. That’s alot of water!
Diet, exercise, age, sex, health, and many other factors will affect exactly how much water you need, but drinking a gallon of water a day is a good guideline to start with.
Why do I need so much?
Many people know what water makes up more than 60 percent of your body weight, and without it, you would not survive more than a few days.
But, did you know that all of your body’s cells and organs need water to run, and it also functions as a lubricant in your body. Water helps to control your weight, energy, and performance.
- Water aids in fat loss: Drinking water before meals reduces hunger. A research study on the effects of water and weight loss shows that subjects who drank two cups of water before meals shed significantly more weight than those who didn’t. Furthermore, the subjects who continued to drink more water kept the weight off for a year after the study’s conclusion. The reason behind this effect is simple – water has no calories and takes up space in the stomach, allowing people to feel fuller after consuming fewer calories. Additionally, the brain will often mistake thirst for hunger. In this case, a person will eat unnecessary calories when in fact the feeling of “hunger” could have been alleviated by drinking water.
- Even mild dehydration affects exercise performance: A study done on cyclists showed that exercise time to exhaustion was impaired at 1.8% dehydration.
- Fatigue is a symptom of dehydration: You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know this isn’t a good thing.
Really? A Gallon?
Yup. And possibly more if you are drinking coffee or sweating during the day.
To give you sense of what it’s like, here is a link to a blog post, summarizing someone’s journey, who drank a gallon of a day for 30 days.
Blog post Link
- Excess water intake can cause electrolyte imbalances which can lead to cardiac arrhythmias. ↩
- http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx ↩
- http://www.khsaa.org/sportsmedicine/heat/exerciseandfluidreplacement.pdf ↩
- If activity is going to last more than 1 hour, it is reasonable to consider adding carbohydrates and electrolytes to the drink. In this case, Gatorade of PowerAid are good choices.