“8 Glasses of Water Per Day” is a Myth

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Have you ever been told that proper hydration comes from gulping down eight cups of water every day?

Turns out, that little bit of popular wisdom might be more fiction than fact. Researchers say the advice is an “urban myth” as it neglects the water content of healthy foods – and even the water content in coffee, tea and juices.

Speros Tsindos from the department of dietetics and human nutrition at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia published a new recommendation regarding how to get even better hydration.  The report appeared this week in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, according to CBC News in Canada.

In terms of fluid balance, Tsindos says, “There is further evidence that water and a well-balanced diet does far more than water alone.”

[Read "Official Guide To Lunchbox Beverages"]

On behalf of the Canadian-U.S. research committee, Professor Susan Barr of the University of British Columbia noted that even a baked potato is 75% water.  She went on to say, “There’s nothing magical about water from a glass as opposed to water from a food or any other beverage.”

Furthermore, research at the University of Pennsylvania shows that even caffeinated drinks hold hydrating power.  Dr. Stanley Goldfarb reviewed how the kidneys handle beverages such as coffee and tea, and he found that neither presents dehydration.  “Drinking the coffee will count towards your total water intake for the day,” he said.  

But there are still a few things to remember when choosing a beverage:

+ Caffeine is a diuretic.  That means that even though your coffee counts as a cup of water, the caffeine has the power to flush stored water from your cells.  You may need additional hydration to make up for that.

+ Sugary drinks may also count toward your hydration, but they are also high in simple sugar calories that may lead to an energy crash later.

+ Natural fruit juices, fruits, and vegetables will still be your best sources of hydration if you’re looking to replace water.  However, when you’re thirsty and looking for a natural, zero-calorie sip, water may still be your best option.

How much water do you drink every day?

This article is not intended as medical advice, and this information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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