Page updated at 15. January 2019.
First published on the 19th. October 2018.
Water is the key to life. That’s why we’re looking for it on other planets. Drinking enough water every day provides many benefits and helps prevent the development of the negative symptoms of dehydration.
But how much water is enough? What are the benefits of increased water usage?
Many dehydration problems
Dehydration has a negative impact on all organs in your body, especially since your body is made up of about 60% water. Mild to moderate symptoms of dehydration may include drowsiness, dry mouth, increased thirst, decreased urine production, darker colored urine, dizziness, headache, and lightheadedness.
Symptoms of severe dehydration include irritability and confusion, sunken eyes, dry skin that is not resilient when pressed, rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure.
Extreme dehydration can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Note that dry mouth and thirst are two signs that you are already mildly dehydrated. Drinking water throughout the day can prevent dehydration. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can lead to decreased performance during exercise and impaired cognitive abilities.
Compaction may be exacerbated or caused by dehydration. Anecdotally, people report a worsening of acne and skin quality due to dehydration.
The many benefits of hydration
The biggest benefit of drinking plenty of water is that it prevents dehydration and all the negative side effects that come with it. However, increasing water intake has also shown great benefits in one area, weight loss!
Making sure you drink plenty of water can help the dietitian lose weight in many ways. First, a glass of water contains no calories; by comparison, a large Starbucks latte has 190 calories, a large glass of red wine 214 calories, and a small glass of orange juice 112 calories. By reducing the calorie content of diet drinks, it is much easier to lose weight.
Drinking water also seems to play a role in your metabolism. One study found that consuming 16 ounces of water temporarily increased the metabolism of the participants by about 30%. Researchers concluded that increasing water consumption by 1.5 liters (about 6 glasses) per day would increase calorie consumption by about 200 calories per day!
Research also shows that drinking cold water is the best choice if you want to promote weight loss; your body needs the water you drink to warm up. Water also has an appetite suppressant effect; it fills your stomach, especially if you drink one or two glasses just before a meal. One study found that people who drank a large glass of water before a meal consumed about 75 fewer calories without even thinking about it. This increases over time and can definitely speed up weight loss; another study showed that people who drank 500ml of water before each meal lost 44% of their weight in 12 weeks, compared to people who simply dieted. Source.
How much water does the average person need?
Estimates of the exact amount of drinking people need vary, but some numbers are increasing. The amount recommended by most health care providers and government organizations is about 2 liters per day (67 fluid ounces in the U.S.) or about 8x 8 ounces of water (often called 8×8), not including caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. However, there is no strong clinical evidence to support this amount [source], and it doesn’t really make much sense to have a single approach for how much water you should be drinking per day. Your height, weight, exercise and body composition all affect the amount of water you need per day. Your body also gets water from food, especially foods rich in water such as fruits, vegetables, soups and milk. Diuretic drinks such as tea and coffee seem to provide more water than is lost through increased urination.
In general, the best advice is to drink water throughout the day, and more if you are thirsty. If your urine is dark in color, it is a sign that you need to increase your water consumption. In reality, ideal water intake varies from person to person, and only you can determine how much water you really need each day. If any of the conditions described below apply to you, you should increase your water consumption.
When do you need more water?
Certain circumstances increase your need for H2O.
Heat and perspiration
A good rule of thumb is : The more you sweat, the more you need to replace the water. The summer heat is an important time to make sure you’re drinking more water, especially if you’re outside during the day (especially since dehydration is one of the leading causes of heat exhaustion and heat stroke).
The elderly, infants and young children, as well as breastfeeding mothers, are at particular risk of dehydration because they need a lot of water to produce milk.
If you have a very physical job, it is also advisable to increase your water consumption. The same applies to physical recreation and, of course, to intensive exercise.
Experts recommend drinking at least 500 ml of water for every hour of vigorous activity or moderate physical activity, or drinking a liter of water for every hour of vigorous activity or physical activity.
Alcohol consumption is another major cause of dehydration, and dehydration in turn is a major factor in worsening hangovers. For best results, we recommend alternating the chosen alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. After drinking alcohol in the evening, you should drink at least one glass of water before going to bed, and another glass of water to drink throughout the night or in bed in the morning.
Medicines and food supplements
Some medical conditions also affect your daily need for water. If you are on blood pressure medication, you should consult with your doctor about your personal need for water. Some supplements may contain diuretic ingredients that also increase urination, which can dehydrate you quickly if you are not careful.
Diarrhoea and vomiting
Diarrhea and vomiting are not only unpleasant in themselves, but they also dehydrate you quickly, worsening your condition. They can also rapidly affect electrolyte balance. If you have diarrhea or vomit, drink plenty of water. It is easier to drink water continuously than to empty a glass quickly. These conditions may also require the administration of a rehydration supplement to administer electrolyte salts. If you are unable to maintain a constant water level, you should consult a physician as medical intervention may be necessary; if necessary, your physician will place an IV to provide your body with both sterilized water and electrolytes.
Tips for increasing water consumption
- Get a bottle of good booze to go with it. You’d be surprised how much water you drink just because you have it (and a reusable bottle is both cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying bottled water).
- Drink before you eat.
- Buy a glass bottle to keep water in the fridge; cool water is refreshing and doesn’t taste like chlorine.
- Water flavored with lemon or lime juice, or alcohol if you don’t like the taste of plain water.
- Eat more watery fruits like melon, strawberries, peaches and oranges. Vegetables with a high water content include lettuce and cucumber.
- Drink more during sports, illness and hot weather.
About the Author: Rachel Butler.
Rachel has been with us since we started in 2012.
Over the years, Rachel has reviewed countless products and written numerous articles offering sound advice. Their professional opinion is widely respected.
Rachel holds a BSc in Clinical Sciences from the University of Leicester, UK.
She lives in York with her husband and her young daughter and their dog, a small terrier named Betsy.
Disclaimer : Our evaluations and surveys are based on extensive research using information that was publicly available to us and to consumers at the time the report was first published. The information is based on our personal opinion and while we make every effort to keep the information current, manufacturers occasionally make changes to their products and future research may not agree with our conclusions. If you believe that any information is incorrect, please contact us and we will verify the information.
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