Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ideal Amount of Water to Drink Daily

For less than $1/day, get bottled water deliveredThe ideal amount of water you should drink daily isn't eight eight-ounce glasses. That's just a myth. The ideal amount? As much as you need to stay hydrated. No more. No less.

The benefits of drinking eight glasses of water a day aren't backed by solid medical evidence. While it is clear that humans cannot survive for longer than several days without water, very little research has assessed how an average individual's health is affected by drinking extra fluids. Experts have claimed that consuming water is helpful for everything from clearing toxins and keeping organs healthy to warding off weight gain and improving skin tone. But is any of that true?

That's what Dr. Dan Negoianu and Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, both kidney specialists at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, wanted to find out. So they did an exhaustive review of published clinical research on this topic in a study they titled "Just Add Water."

They found that people who live in hot, dry climates, as well as athletes, have an increased need for water, as do individuals suffering from certain diseases. Drinking water does clear various substances from the kidneys, including sodium and urea, but there is no clinical benefit to this.

Fun facts they learned:

  • Water that is sipped slowly is retained by the body, while water that is gulped is excreted.
  • There is no proof that drinking water will help people feel full and curb their appetite so they can more easily lose weight.
  • Headaches are not caused by water deprivation.
  • Staying hydrated is not an elixir for improved skin tone.
Bottom line: There is no clear benefit to drinking a lot of water. If you're thirsty, drink water. If not, don't worry about it.

The study findings were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

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