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The Water Myth

Water keeps us hydrated, improves our complexion, helps us with weight loss and can cure a hangover.  We have always been told that eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day with do the trick, but how much water do we actually need to drink? Walter Willett, author of EAT, DRINK, AND BE HEALTHY, puts the daily water myth to rest. 



You may have heard or read that you need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. That’s a medical myth, one of those “facts” that is repeated so often it gains the ring of truth. Where it came from no one really knows. One possible source is the physiological requirement that burning 2,000 calories’ worth of food a day requires about 64 ounces of water. Another is a 1945 report by the National Food and Nutrition Board (under the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) that included this recommendation: “A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 liters daily in most instances.” Two point five liters is a little more than eight 8-ounce glasses. If that’s the source, the next sentence in the report—“Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods”—has been overlooked or ignored. Recommendations from the same board in 2004 raised the bar to about fifteen 8-ounce glasses of water for men and eleven for women, with more needed during strenuous activity.

Some of the fluid your body needs comes from your food. If you eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and soups, you don’t need to drink as much as someone who eats “drier” foods. The rest comes from what you drink. Water is your best bet, but coffee, tea, juice, soda, sports drinks, beer, and other water-based beverages can also resupply the water you lose.

Here are 4 ways water improves your health.


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