You May Not Need A Lot Of Water

8 Glasses of Water May Be Too Much

“Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Most of us don’t do it but it’s been repeated so often in articles and news reports that we take it for fact – and feel a little guilty when we don’t get our fill. Well, don’t worry about it! The truth is if you’re not feeling thirsty, you probably don’t need to drink any water.

Kidney specialists say that drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water may actually be overdoing it. To replace daily amounts of water, an average-sized adult who has healthy kidneys and is going about an ordinary day (not exercising to the hilt!) in a moderate climate needs only about one liter of water a day – that’s about the equivalent of only four 8-ounce glasses.

Even more surprising: according to most estimates, that's roughly the amount of water most Americans get in solid food with their meals. In short, though doctors don't recommend it, many of us could cover our bare-minimum daily water needs without drinking anything during the day.

There are exceptions. For people who have specific health concerns, such as kidney stones or a tendency to develop urinary tract infections, drinking lots of water can be beneficial. Water intake also depends on outside temperature, activity levels and other factors. Simply, if you exercise and feel thirsty, don’t hesitate to replenish until your thirst is quenched.

And what about coffee and tea dehydrating us?  Not so! Although coffee and tea aren't as hydrating as water, our body is still able to retain 2/3 of the liquid. So if you're counting your intake of water, you can add your cups of tea or coffee. Ultimately, how much water should you drink? If you have specific medical concerns, speak with your doctor. But if you are healthy, have a beverage with meals and drink when you’re thirsty. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not toting around a water bottle. As long as you’re not on the run, you won’t need it. Robin Westen is ThirdAge’s medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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