By Keri Glassman, MS, RD
Ask Keri: Everyone used to say to drink eight glasses of water daily, but I’ve heard that’s a myth. How much water should I drink?
Keri Says: Eight glasses (or 64 ounces) of water per day is still a helpful guideline to help you stay adequately hydrated, although each individual has different needs based on his or her body, environment, and lifestyle.
The most important thing is to first understand how important hydration truly is. When clients come to me for weight loss, they tend to be surprised by how much emphasis I put on what I’d like them to drink.
Water makes up about 60 percent of your body and is critical in helping your body function properly on the inside, from regulating body temperature to lubricating joints and getting rid of waste. And when you’re not properly hydrated, you start to feel it: without adequate water, you won’t be able to lose weight, your energy and mood will suffer, and your skin will look dull.
So yeah, jot down these basic rules for daily water intake. Your body will thank you later.
My Recommendation for Daily Water Intake
There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence that proves eight glasses (or 64 ounces)—or any amount—of water is the ideal amount to drink each day. The National Academies of Medicine recommends 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women, which is 125 or 91 ounces, but they’re also talking about “fluids,” not glasses of water, and you get fluid throughout the day in a million ways, from coffee and juice and smoothies to foods that have high water content.
Lots of experts say that if you actually drink water when you’re thirsty, you’ll get enough. This might be true, but I like the idea of having a goal like “eight glasses” in the back of your mind because it keeps you focused on prioritizing hydration throughout the day while other things (like long meetings and needy kids) are distracting you from your thirst.
So, I say: Make eight glasses your goal, but don’t worry about being super specific or tracking the exact ounces.
Also, there are lots of times when you need to think about getting more water than you’d normally need. The most obvious is when you work out. If you go to a crazy sweaty hot yoga class and drink a bottle of water, that doesn’t count towards your daily intake. You need extra! The same goes for days when it’s very hot or very cold. You also need more water when you’re pregnant.
Finally, a crucial tip: One part of getting to know your body is understanding how to differentiate between hunger and thirst. If you just ate a meal and are suddenly hungry again, you may be misinterpreting that hunger cue. It may be that you’re actually thirsty. Try drinking water and see how you feel before eating again.
How to Meet Your Daily Water Intake
Finally, remember that while I definitely want you to drink plain old water throughout the day, hydration comes in many other forms. Teas, juices, soups, and yes, even a couple cups of coffee, help keep your body hydrated.