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How much water should you drink?

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

glass of water

I was asked to present this as a talking point within a recent Nutritional workshop. There is a lot of confusing data out there! My searches found 4 different water intake calculators and for my height 5’ 6” or 165cm, weight 146 pounds or 66kgs and my lifestyle (moderately active) they recommended 1.2L, 2.6L, 3L and 4.8L. Wow! That’s a massive difference. So, I knew that I needed to do more investigation.

This picture shows where we store the water in our body.

body water content
  1. Maintaining water balance is essential for your survival.

  2. Your body has a sophisticated system for regulating when and how much you drink.

  3. When your total water content goes below a certain level, your thirst kicks in.

  4. This is controlled in the same way as breathing — you don’t need to consciously think about it.

  5. For most people, there probably isn’t any need to worry about water intake. The thirst instinct is very reliable.

  6. Don’t ignore your thirst, it’s vital to your body performing effectively.

Here are my simple guidelines:

  1. When you’re thirsty, your body is telling you it’s already dehydrated, so you must drink!

  2. When you’re not thirsty anymore, stop.

  3. Use your urine colour as a guide (see guide below)

  4. During high heat and exercise, make sure to drink enough to compensate for the lost fluids.

That’s it!

Try experimenting to see what works best for you. Some people may function better with more water than usual, while for others it only results in more frequent trips to the bathroom.

Just be aware that sometimes the body can confuse hunger with thirst or that you could be dehydrated, so, if your thirst doesn’t go away you may need to increase your sodium/potassium/salts.

Your body can extract water from other sources, including tea and coffee; meat, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables.

Here are 15 of the top water hydrating foods:

Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe melon, peaches, oranges, cucumber, lettuce, courgette, celery, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, grapefruit and coconut.

Yes, tea and coffee do contain caffeine, which is a diuretic, but the quantities are so small.

Urine colour

Drinking enough water is key to keeping your weight under control.

These are some of the benefits from drinking enough water:

  1. Fewer headaches

  2. Increased energy levels

  3. Better bowel function

  4. Clearer skin

  5. Fewer stomach aches

  6. Longer periods of concentration

  7. Reduced cravings for sugar

I hope you found this informative.

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