A revealing new report published in the Harvard Health Letter seems to have resolutely contradicted popular perception about how much water we should actually drink to stay healthy and hydrated. The study recommends that consuming 30 to 50 ounces a day, equivalent to about four to six glasses, may in fact constitute a sufficient enough intake of water.
According to the report, the long-held view that drinking at least eight glasses of water a day remains an outright pre-requisite for good health may in fact be incorrect, owing to varying individual water needs as well as the capacity to ingest additional fluids from food and other beverages. The study also posits that caffeinated as well as alcoholic beverages may actually contribute toward an individual’s average daily intake of fluids instead of acting as potentially damaging “dehydrating” agents.
Given the extent of corroborated research as well as a host of erstwhile observations advocating the conventionally held position, the new study introduces an altogether fresh, unorthodox, somewhat edifying perspective on hydration and the human body.
It is indisputably evident from years of research that the human body essentially relies on water for survival. Each and every cell, tissue, and organ requires water to function properly. It is also well known that water regulates the temperature of the body, transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, shields the joints, supports organs and tissues, and eliminates waste. However, water needs may vary with gender, age, environment, metabolism, and physical activity. For instance, it is also true that drinking too much water over a short span of time can lead to a rare but sometimes fatal medical complication referred to as “water intoxication” or “hyponatremia,” a condition characterized by low blood-salt levels in the body.
Historically, the most common medical recommendation for fluid replacement has been to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses (about two liters) of fluid a day. According to author and leading expert Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, this approach is not supported by scientific evidence and does not take into account individual needs.
“For the average healthy adult living in a moderate climate, the water replacement approach recommended by many top water experts is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. With age we lose our thirst sensation and do not recognize that our body is thirsty. The human body has no water storage system to provide usable water when the body experiences excess water loss or lack of water intake, hence the importance of drinking water at regular intervals throughout the day”.
Research has concluded that there is more than compelling scientific evidence to suggest that water contributes to weight loss. According to findings reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, over the course of 12 months, individuals who enhance their water consumption by 1.5 liters a day are most likely to burn an additional 17,400 calories, comparable to roughly five pounds in body weight.
According to the Institute of Medicine, approximately 16 cups (four quarts) of water obtained collectively from food, beverages, and drinking water are sufficient enough to account for the needs of the average human body. However, most people are at higher risk of dehydration as an outcome of intense physical exertion, certain prior medical conditions, and protracted illnesses, as well as being incapacitated owing to restricted fluid consumption during the day.
However, the enormous benefit of remaining sufficiently hydrated everyday can hardly be understated. Water remains by far the best ingredient for staying regularly hydrated. Other drinks and foods can also assist the body in staying hydrated, such as water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
[Image via Shutterstock]