The Myth About “Drink 8-Glasses of Water A Day”

General Knowledge on Drinking Water

It is known that it is necessary to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. Nearly everybody has heard this recommendation at some point in their life, in spite of the fact that if you ask someone why you need to drink so much water every day, they probably can’t tell you. There is usually a vague idea that it is necessary to drink water to eliminate toxins from the system. Perhaps someone is suggesting that drinking water is good for the kidneys since it filters the blood and regulates the water balance. Unfortunately, none of these ideas is entirely correct, and the myth of 6-8 glasses is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of some basic physiology.

Water is vital, and we humans cannot do without water for a long time. Compared to most of our animals, we are some of the most inefficient beings in the use of water on the planet. This is because we lose some water every day and have no real way to store excess water or replenish our lost reserves without merely drinking more. Contrary to many other animals, we cannot travel long distances without a supply of fresh drinking water.

Understanding Water loss from our body

During the day we lose some water like water vapour from our breath and some water is lost through sweat. These water leaks are called insensitive water leaks because we don’t know them compared to water lost in the urine. Although many people believe that sweat is the result of exercise or heat, even those who live in a cold climate and do not exercise lose between 500 and 1000 ml of free water every day.

Interestingly, this type of sweat is almost pure water, colourless and odourless, and is mainly used by the body to control temperature by extracting heat from the skin and letting it escape into the air. The foul-smelling sweat that most people know is produced by another type of sweat gland and is an oily substance with little water.

This loss of water is virtually inevitable. You always lose water vapour in your breath, provided you continue to breathe, and you still produce that watery and odourless sweat, even if you move in the Arctic. When you travel to the tropics, you naturally produce a lot more sweat to compensate for the extra heat.

In total, between 1.5 and 2 litres of water loss is mandatory leaks of which we cannot do anything. Those who live in hot climates, those who exercise, and those who have a fever lose more water because they sweat more. Therefore, a person must fill about 2 litres of water, which he loses every day through sweating, breathing and urination.

The Origin of Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day

The actual recommendation of 8 glasses per day comes from the United States Food and Nutrition Board in 1945, which recommended a 2.5-litre daily intake of water. However, what is generally forgotten in this recommendation is, on the one hand, that it was not based on research results and, also, the suggestion was that most of the water intake could have come from food sources.

Water Composition of Foods

All foods contain some water, although obviously, the fresh juicy fruits contain more than, for example, a box of raisins. Suffice to say that by regularly eating food and coffee, fruit juice or other, you consume 2 litres of water without having to go individually. When you run out of the water, your body has a straightforward mechanism to let you know. Simply put, you are thirsty.
If you are thirsty, drink water. If you are not thirsty, you do not need to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, as it is likely that you have all the water in your healthy diet.

A significant limitation, however, is that on hot summer days, the loss of water due to sweating increases. If you decide to spend time outdoors, it is essential to have water with you to avoid dehydration and heatstroke. While the thirst reflex is relatively reliable, it tends to fade with age, and older people are more likely to dehydrate without noticing it.

So the takeaway message is if you are thirsty for drinking water, but on sweltering days, staying ahead of the curve and staying hydrated may not be a bad idea.

What does drinking excess water does to your body?

Although, Drinking more water than needed is not particularly dangerous. Drink more water, and you can quickly get rid of it from your urine. The primary function of the kidneys is to make sure that the loss of water corresponds to the intake of water. Otherwise, and the consumption of water outweighs the loss of water, you will begin to retain water and accumulate more and more every day until you see your legs swell (gravity lowers the water, which is why your feet swell first). This is the problem in people with heart failure and kidney disease. They accumulate water because they cannot remove it from their bodies. While drinking too much water is unlikely to cause significant problems, some patients are likely to be instructed by their doctors to limit water intake due to heart or kidney disease.

It is not a real advantage to drink more water. Some people believe that drinking more water will help eliminate toxins or help the kidneys in some way, but that’s not true—your kidney filters around 180 litres of blood per day. Assuming you have about 5 litres of blood at all times, the kidney will filter the equivalent of the volume of blood 36 times a day. The excess water you drink is a drop in the metaphorical bucket, and it shouldn’t make a difference.

Water and the Kidney(An Experiment)

But you don’t have to believe me on the word. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has examined this question. The researchers randomized 631 patients with kidney disease into a hydration group who was encouraged to drink extra water and a control group who was instructed to maintain their current habits. In the end, drinking more water did not benefit kidney function.

There is a widespread belief that water because it is so essential for life, must be able to prevent disease. Unfortunately, drinking more than the required daily amount does not eliminate toxins from the system, nor does it help the kidneys.

The only change you’ll see is that your urine changes from yellow to clear, which doesn’t have any healing effects on your health. So you don’t have to waste energy to get 6-8 glasses of water a day. You did it unconsciously every day of your life.

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