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How much water should we drink a day?

Written by Lara Valerio, Dietetic Intern from UNC-Greensboro

It’s such a loaded question. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “You should drink eight, 8-oz glasses of water a day.” Where did this statement come from? Is there any truth behind it? 


Do we need to 2.5 liters of water per day?

This statement was from a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that stated we need drink 2.5 liters of water per day. Ever since this claim was written, for some reason, it has resonated with us and is still around today. So, is it true? Do we need to drink this much or do we need more? Or less? 

How much water should we drink a day?

So, how much water should I realIy drink a day?

The amount of water (and fluids) that a person needs per day is very individualized. There is no formal recommendation for water intake. It depends on a multitude of different factors including height, weight, age, medical conditions, medications, exercise intensity and climate conditions.

Someone who weighs more and is taller may require more water than someone smaller who weighs less. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, can require more water consumption. This goes for medications as well. Diuretics, for example, can cause the body to lose more fluid, increasing the amount of water recommended per day.  What about exercise? The American Heart Association recommends that for every pound you sweat, a pint of water needs to be consumed. How do we measure this? If a scale is available, weigh yourself before and after you exercise to be more accurate about your water loss. 

We also can get water other than just by “drinking” water. Water is the ideal beverage of choice because of its pure form, but it is also in fruits, vegetables, juices, coffees, and teas. One should be mindful of getting water through sweetened beverages and high calorie drinks, however, especially if you are watching your glucose levels. Concerned about artificial sweeteners too? Check out this article for some information on that subject.


So looking forward, here are a couple tips to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day:

  1. Purchase a water bottle. Keeping a reusable water bottle around will help remind you to drink and it makes drinking water very convenient.
  2. Set your alarm! Drinking water seems so simple to do, but when we are caught up in work and life situations, we can forget…so set your alarm every hour or every couple of hours to remind you to take that sip.
  3. Not a big water fan? Add a couple of pieces of sliced fruit to flavor your water so you are more inclined to drink it. 
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods generally have a high water content and can help you stay hydrated.





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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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