Drinking 8 glasses of water a day a myth?

Katherine - posted on 06/06/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )




Besides coffee, water is just about the only thing I drink. And I drink a lot of it. Everyday. But I don’t drink eight glasses a day on most days. Sure, I’ve tried, but somewhere around ounce #50, that too-full, getting bloated feeling kicks in. Not to mention all the peeing. Who has time for that?

Still, I tried. After all, women’s magazines quoted experts who insisted that 8-ounces a day was key to a happy life. By not hitting the 64-ounces gold standard in a glass, I was prematurely aging my skin, hurting my sex drive, not living the life I deserved and unwittingly underfunding my retirement. More fluids and this whole Euro crisis could have been avoided!

Yet lately, some of the benefits of drinking eight glasses of water per day have come under scrutiny and a couple of studies have pretty much dismissed all the claims except for the one that says, you know, go ahead and a drink and eighth glass if you’re thirsty for it.

From TODAY’s diet and nutrition editor, who reviewed the literature:

Turns out, the whole “eight glasses a day” thing “really is no longer the recommendation; the recommendation is drinking to thirst,” explains Madelyn Fernstrom, a registered dietitian. Drink when you’re thirsty! What a novel idea.

The eight glasses a day myth is likely a holdover from a recommendation that was made back in the 1940s, an perpetuated by bottled water companies who have made a killing off of getting us to drink constantly, according to TODAY. But even that recommendation kept it real:

[The recommendation] likely comes from a 1940s recommendation from the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, which said that adults should ingest about 2.5 liters of water a day.

“But the often ignored second half of that statement pointed out that most of the water you need is in the foods you eat,” explains Dr. Aaron Carroll, associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School.


Are you an eight-a-day drinker?

Drinking to thirst makes MUCH more sense IMO! Filling yourself needlessly with 8 glasses of water a day doesn't. I mean if you drink that much good, but too much water can throw your electrolytes off and cause serious problems.


Kaitlin - posted on 06/08/2012




I drink more than 8 glasses of water a day, I always have. But I'm tall, and extremely active. I've always had to pee a lot, so that doesn't really matter to me much anymore, hahaha. It doesn't make sense that a woman who is 4 9 should need the same water intake as someone who is 6 feet, right? ;)
The only problem with just drinking while you are thirsty is two fold- one, like others have said, if you are always thirsty, it can be a sign of a larger problem, and two, you are already dehydrated by the time you experience thirst. The best way to go is to make sure you drink one 8 to 10 oz glass of water with each meal (or after each meal), not including your coffee or soda at your desk.


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Teresa - posted on 06/08/2012




I drink about 64oz a day WITH a flavor enhancer. I HATE plain water, unless we're at Disneyworld in June, so I put a flavor in it. May not count but I think it's better than sodas.

Dove - posted on 06/08/2012




I'm always thirsty, but I've been tested for diabetes several times in the past 20 years (among other tests) and... nope. ;)

Jennifer - posted on 06/07/2012




For those who said you are always thirsty- please check with your doctor, that is the MAIN symptom of diabetes!

That being said- I shoot for at least 8 glasses a day. When you are thristy, you are already becoming dehydrated. Once dehydrated your body doesn't really feel thirst like it should, and many eat something instead(hungry but nothing really sounds right??) I use to get kidney/bladder infections often, and I have had heat exhaustion twice, so I'm pretty cautious.

The general population is usually dehydrated, and with the amount of salt in our diets, most can't drink enough water. BUT, I would not drink until I feel 'sloshy', lol, and many days I don't hit 64ozs. It helps if you sip small amounts rather than chug whole bottles, and your bladder will adjust, but some people are just not ever going to be able to get that much. If your one of them, keep track of what you do drink, and at least get equal amounts of water.

Dove - posted on 06/07/2012




I have a 1 liter water bottle that I drink with throughout the day. I drink 2-3 of them/day. Of course, sometimes my kids drink out of it too, so I don't know how much I actually drink.

Amanda - posted on 06/06/2012




Some days I will drink that and more, others not so much. It all depends on how thirsty I am, what I am doing and what the weather is like.

On days where I have done a high intensity cardio work out or it's hot I drink alot more water on days where its cold and we don't do as much I drink less.

Denikka - posted on 06/06/2012




I usually drink WAY more than 8 glasses (64oz) a day. If I'm just drinking water, I can go through more than a gallon a day. Yup, I keep a milk jug full of water in the fridge and chug on that all day.
I frequently drink 2+ glasses of milk, 2-4 of juice (iced tea/lemonade/watered down juice, whatever is there) and then a ton of water. I never drink pop and VERY rarely drink straight juice.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I ended up with a mild stomach flu. I mean SUPER mild. In the course of a day, even drinking broth, ginger ale and water, I still ended up super dehydrated. In the course of that single day, I ended up in a 3+ week spiral of being so dehydrated that I was making myself sick. I couldn't eat or drink anything, it would just come back up, I was that dehydrated. I ended up in the hospital twice for saline to rehydrate me. Super sucked.
Anyways, point being, I dehydrate easily and have to drink WAY more than most people. How much you need is really based on body size, body make up (how much fat you have, hormones etc), how much salt is in your diet, and a million other things.
I think 8 glasses is a good goal to shoot for. If you drink pop or coffee (anything with caffeine in it), you should drink more because caffeine dehydrates you. It's not the end all number, but with the amount of salt, caffeine and whatever else in today's food, I think people in general are more dehydrated than they should be.
I don't think that you should FORCE yourself to reach any specific number though. Drink to your comfort level. But it won't hurt to push a little bit to get that extra into you.

Jayce - posted on 06/06/2012




I heard that awhile ago. I always thought 8 glasses a day was bit much. Drinking to thirst makes more sense.

Corinne - posted on 06/06/2012




I drink shed loads of water, but not 'cause it's recommended I'm just thirsty - a lot!

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