The Urban Legend of Eight Glasses a Day

We’ve been taught from early in our education that it is necessary to consume eight glasses of water every day. That’s a full gallon. However, researchers going over past studies could not find even *one* study that supports that claim. It appears to fit the bill of urban legend.

What about the other claims made about increasing water intake? There are many benefits touted about the beverage. Are they also legend? Probably not all of them. Our body is, on average, two thirds water. The only two factors that change that are body size and whether or not we’re chronically dehydrated.

Body Temperature: When we get overly warm, our body’s natural response is to perspire. The warmer it is, the more we sweat, whether it’s hot weather or intense activity. If we’re dehydrated, we begin to lose the ability to do so, which can cause core temperatures to rise.

Detoxification: The primary job of the kidneys is to remove waste products from our body. Lack of proper hydration puts a strain on them, and also on the liver, which has to act as a back up filter. Under these circumstances, not all of the waste gets removed, and must circulate in the blood stream until it returns.

Energy: Energy from stored fat is provided due to our metabolism. Lack of proper fluid intake, even if it is minor, can interfere with this process. That’s one of many reasons people use water in an effort to lose weight. You might try this experiment. The next time you feel fatigued in the middle of the day, grab a glass of water. You could see an increase in energy.

Moisturizer: For optimum skin, joints and lungs, adequate hydration is required. In fact, it will help every system and every organ in your body. Our brains are up to 90% water, so the addition may even help you think more clearly.

How much is needed? This is where some calculations need to be added. In case you’re worrying about having to down a gallon of fluid, that isn’t always necessary and may not be healthy for smaller people and children. You can have too much of anything, including water.

Juices, fruits, vegetables and even canned foods can provide some of the needed liquids. Coffee, tea and colas are less likely to be helpful, as they contain caffeine, a natural diuretic. Sports drinks, under the proper conditions, can also be added into the plus side of the column.

People who live in a dry climate do require more. The weather will play a big role in deciding proper amounts. If you engage in heavy duty exercise or play a sport, you may also need more. Before choosing water for this, however, speak to your coach or your doctor. You may actually need something that will increase electrolytes instead.

There are three signs of dehydration to look for when trying to figure out how much liquid you need per day, aside from those mentioned above. Darker than normal urine, especially if it has a strong smell is one symptom. Cracked, dry lips can also be a problem. If you can take a pinch of the skin on the back of your hand and it takes a while before it returns to normal, that’s a very good sign of the problem.

Water is an important part of our daily diet, and ignoring it can lead to many medical conditions. Take a look at your body and make sure that you are getting enough of the right types of fluid. That will help you to maintain optimal health.