Can it be uniformly stated that everyone needs 8 glasses of fluid a day? How do we know how much water we actually need? We have found out!
Most of us are getting a bit tired of the rules of healthy living: get 8 hours of sleep, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, don’t drink alcohol, drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Are these rules really to be followed by absolutely everyone, without any variations? In this article we will take a closer look at the recommendations for drinking fluids.
How many glasses of water you should drink depends mostly on your body type
Every cell in your body needs water – without enough fluids, you can not only feel increasingly unwell, but over time you can even risk dehydration. Our bodies lose water constantly, through urine, sweat, faeces and even when we breathe out.
That’s why recommendations for adequate fluid intake are always included in healthy lifestyle advice. But what does ‘adequate’ mean? And what kind of fluids contribute to this amount: is water the only good choice, or should we include other drinks?
Although the most common answer is that everyone should drink 1.5 to 2 litres, i.e. roughly 8 glasses of water a day, it’s not nearly as simple as that. For one thing, there is no ‘officially’ agreed amount; this recommendation can vary from country to country, and even the units of measurement can vary from country to country.
On the other hand, the amount we need to stay healthy depends on a number of external and internal factors, such as age, body weight, time of year, climate, general level of activeness and physical activity.
It makes no difference whether you are a large man doing physical work in the summer months (who may need at least 3-4 litres of fluid a day) or a petite woman working in an office (who may need 1.5 litres). Fluid consumption should therefore be determined according to individual characteristics, so ‘2 litres a day’ or ‘8 glasses a day’ is too general a recommendation.
The colour of the urine will tell you if you are drinking enough fluid
It should also be remembered that it is not only through drinks that fluid can enter the body, but also through food, which contains water, amounting to roughly 20-25% of the daily intake. Of course, fluid intake is also influenced by our diet, as people who eat more fruit or like to have soup, a cup of cocoa at breakfast or a big glass of orange juice may enjoy a slightly higher percentage of hydration. This circumstance is also something to take into account when trying to calculate how much fluid you drink.
So how do we know that we are drinking enough water, i.e. that we are giving our body the amount of fluid it needs to function properly? The best way to know for sure is to look at the colour of your urine: if it’s light straw yellow or almost colourless, you’re probably drinking enough.