Eight glasses of water—that’s what we’re supposed to drink each day so that we don’t get dehydrated, right? Oh, and we need to specifically drink eight glasses of water. Coffee, tea, and soda have a diuretic effect so you’ll actually lose fluids. So, again, it’s eight glasses of water.
Now, here are the cold, hard facts: Yes, we need lots of water; no, we don’t necessarily need 8 glasses a day; and yes, coffee, tea, juice, soda, and so on do count.
First and foremost: drinking water is important—you can go on for days without food, but you’ll die quickly without water. Basically we need to drink enough water to replace the amount that we lose as urine, sweat, and so on. But that amount can vary widely from person to person based on age, physical condition, activity levels, climate, and so on. So, while the ‘8 glasses a day’ standard isn’t exactly wrong, it isn’t accurate as well.
Actually, where this figure of 8 glasses per day comes from is a bit of a mystery. One theory says that it is based on an old (old as in the 1940’s) standard of 2,5 liters per day, which is around 8 glasses. But this number also accounts for the water found in our food.
Then there’s the notion that caffeinated drinks make you lose water. Well, the only thing you need to worry about drinking too much coffee is that it messes with your sleep patterns, and with soda… well, have you seen how much sugar goes into a can or bottle of soda? Anyway, when it comes to keeping you hydrated a glass of coffee/tea/soda/juice/milk is just as good as a glass of water.
So how much water should you drink each day? Well, this is going to sound really unscientific, but the best way to keep yourself hydrated is to drink when you’re thirsty… or when you want to. No, really… your body is smart enough to know when it needs water… or tea, coffee, milk, orange juice, etc… ^^
Oh, and one more hint about water and drinking: Those so called ‘vitamin water’ products are actually nothing more than water with sugar (or artificial sweeteners). If you want a splash of flavor and some actual nutrients in your water, just add a slice of lime or lemon. (Mint leaves are also nice.)