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Wellness

How Much Water Do You Really Need?

How many times have you heard this question and just completely skipped over it? “I only drink 8 cups of water each day,” they say, “and I don’t worry about it.”

The most likely number that people have in their heads is probably the number that they really need. If they only drink eight glasses of water a day, which is the typical amount for an average adult that you get in a commercial water glass, they are getting the average amount that they’re really supposed to be drinking that day. And they’re eating about 100 extra calories every day, because they’ve got enough extra calories that there’s a higher calorie content in the food that they’re eating now and that’s leading to obesity. So there’s a lot of potential for excess energy that we actually don’t need.

The simple answer to this question isn’t to have fewer daily beverages. It’s to get more water. It’s to be aware of water. Don’t get all excited about it having to be eight a day. It has to be enough.

So, just by understanding the science behind all these questions and knowing that people are drinking too much water, we can start to formulate recommendations on how much water we should drink.

So, how much water should we drink?

I think that if the average adult drinks half a glass of water a day, which is roughly what he or she should be drinking, then you’re going to be OK. If you don’t, if you drink more than that, that could be a problem. So that would be a guideline of maybe one or two glasses a day.

One of the things about the science is it shows up in all sorts of different ways. For example, you’d think that because our bodies have so many fluid receptors, they’d be able to sort through the water that we’re drinking. But, instead, there are actually more than 4,000 receptors per liter of water that we drink. So, our bodies are just overwhelmed.

Let’s look at a study that looked at the way that we metabolize water.

What the researchers were looking for, of course, were differences between people. So, we get to think about things for this study in terms of people, so for example, if two women drink the same amount of water, say, 8 ounces each, and they’re doing a very similar day, they’ll be metabolizing the water in different ways. So, that, obviously, becomes a problem.

So, they took about 40 volunteers from the University of Connecticut and they put them in a room and tested all of their different metabolic reactions to water. They were measuring all kinds of things like how quickly they metabolized the water, how much of it actually did go to the muscles and why the amount of water went to the muscles. Then, they tested their saliva, and just all kinds of other things. And their reaction time to the water was the same for all the volunteers, whether they were men or women, and not just men who are typically bigger and stronger than women.

So, these were people who had a variety of different characteristics and were just given the same amount of water. And then, over the course of the test, what they found, which was very interesting, was that when a man had more muscle mass, he had a smaller peak response to the water.

He did have a lower peak response to the water, which is an important finding. This was in terms of his rate of metabolic activation in general, which was slower than the rate of activation of the women. This is called the total metabolic rate. So this shows that his total metabolic rate was lower than the women’s. And if you’re thinking about exercise, what this really means is that all that fat that he’s storing is slowing down his metabolic rate so that he’s burning less calories to raise his temperature, and he’s not burning enough calories to raise his body temperature so he has to eat fewer calories.