Turns Out You Might Not Need To Drink 8 Glasses Of Water A Day, According To Study

We’ve long been told that for optimal health and hydration, we should be consuming eight glasses of water a day. But now scientists suggest that this ‘one size fits all’ approach to health could be misleading.

These days, being told to consume more water isn’t just the kind of phrase you’d hear on the side of a fun run, but rather one that extends to all aspects of our health. From beauty to our skin and everything in between, water is hailed as the ultimate fountain of youth: something our body needs for optimal functioning. But while some grew up constantly sipping on a water bottle, others have had to work hard to get those recommended eight glasses of water in a day. Rather than reach for that soft drink that tantalises the taste buds or that fourth cup of coffee, we need to muster all the willpower we can to hydrate on water alone. 

But if you were stressed about getting those eight glasses of water in a day, you might have been worrying over nothing. According to scientists, this kind of recommendation that many of us have taken to be gospel could actually be excessive for most people. Recent studies suggest that people actually have a wide range of water intakes, with some requiring only 1.5 to 1.8 litres a day, which is lower than the two litres that is typically recommended. 

The study, published in the journal of Science, assessed the water intake of 5,604 people aged between eight days and 96 years old from 23 countries. For the research, participants had to drink a glass of water in which some of the hydrogen atoms were replaced by deuterium, a stable isotope of hydrogen that is found naturally in the human body and is harmless. The rate of elimination of this extra deuterium was able to show how quickly water was turned over in the body, with the study finding hat measures varied widely depending on a person’s age, gender, activity levels and surrounding. 

Speaking about the study’s findings, Yosuke Yamada of the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, one of the paper’s first authors, explained: “The current recommendation is not supported scientifically at all. Most of the scientists are not sure where this recommendation came from.”

Given that water is also found in food, Yamada suggests that the previous recommendation ignored this fact as it can contribute a substantial amount to our overall intake. “If you just eat bread and bacon and eggs you will not get much water from food, but if you eat meat, vegetables, fish, pasta and rice you can get about 50 per cent of your water Neds from food,” said Yamada. 

So, just who requires a lot of water? Those who live in hot and humid climates and at high altitudes, along with athletes and pregnant and breastfeeding women, require more water as they had a higher turnover due to energy expenditure. The highest value was observed in men aged 20 to 35, with an average of 4.2 litres a day. Women aged 20 to 40 had an average turnover of 3.3 litres, which declined to 2.5 litres by the age of 90. Athletes turn over about a litre more than non-athletes. And newborn babies turned over the largest proportion, replacing about 28 per cent of the water in their bodies daily. 

While drinking more water than your body requires isn’t going to do you significant damage, the authors note that clean drinking water requires a cost – even if not one at the expense of your health. “There is a cost to drinking more than we need, even if it’s not a health cost,” says Professor John Speakman of the University of Aberdeen, a co-author fo the study. “If 40 million adults in the UK were following the guidelines and they drink half a litre of clean water more than they need each day, that’s 20m litres of wasted water every day.”

As Speakman adds, “This study shows that the common suggestion that we should all be drinking eight glasses of water – or around two litres a day – is probably too high for most people in most situations.”

Source @womenshealth.com.au: Read more at : womenalive.org

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