Do we really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?

Excerpts from an article on CBC news: The common advice to drink eight glasses of water a day doesn’t hold water, say nutrition and kidney specialists who want to dispel the myth. The recommendation was driven by vested interests rather than health, suggests author Speros Tsindos of the department of dietetics and human nutrition at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia.

“Humans need to maintain fluid balance and need to drink water when required, but should also consider fluid in unprocessed fruits and vegetables and juices”, Tsindos wrote.

“Water is important for health; however, the recommendation of eight glasses of pure water per day appears an overestimation of requirements.” Even a baked potato is 75 per cent water, said nutrition Prof. Susan Barr of the University of British Columbia, who sat on a Canadian-U.S. committee that looked at fluid intake.

Drinking caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee do not lead to dehydration, said Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a nephrologist at the University of Pennsylvania who reviewed research claims on drinking eight glasses of water and studied how the kidneys handle it. Goldfarb said despite the common idea that it’s important to “drink eight glasses of eight ounces of water” a day, “There’s no evidence you need to drink more water than what thirst dictates”, Goldfarb added.

A good guide to tell if the body’s finely tuned fluid balance is to check the colour of your urine. If it’s very dark, you’re on the dry side; if it’s very light or translucent, then you need to drink a bit less water, said Dr. David Price, head of family medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

My note: I’ve always struggled with the eight glasses per day, and usually average six. So I was a bit relieved to read this and other similar articles about the ‘8-glasses-per-day myth’.

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