How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on September 4, 2014 · 0 comments

You may have heard the 8 X 8 rule – drink 8 servings of 8 ounces of water each day. It sounds good, but there is no foundation for this recommendation and no scientific evidence to support it. It can go down as another urban myth.

There is no question you do need water every day. How much? Physiologically it is based on your calorie need – 1 milliliter of water for each calorie. If you need 1,800 calories a day, you also need 1,800 milliliters of water. Translated into cups – 1 cup = 240 milliliters.

240 ÷ 1,800 = 7 ½ cups per day

But, these 7 ½ cups a day don’t have to all be water. Solid food contains a lot of water; you get 3 to 4 cups a day from food. Other liquids like juice and soup count too. If you drink caffeinated beverages – tea, coffee, soda, energy drinks – you can count half of your intake toward your daily fluid need, but not all. The caffeine acts as a diuretic, causing you to lose some of the water.

In many cases you can meet your fluid requirement without extra water. The exceptions would be during extremely hot weather or during heavy exercise when you need more fluids.

Drinking some water daily is a good habit. Water is calorie free and contains calcium, magnesium and fluoride. Plain or calorie-free flavored water is your best thirst quencher.

How do you know if you are well hydrated? You have consumed enough fluids each day if your urine is pale or almost colorless.

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