The Truth About Hydration

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Water is important for our overall health and plays a huge role in our bodies normal function. Water helps regulate your body temperature, eliminate waste, cushion joints, and protect tissue, like your spinal cord.1 There are many misconceptions about hydration, and there is no set recommendation for the amount of water we should drink everyday. In general, we get about 20% of our daily water through the foods we eat and the remainder from the actual water we drink.1 Let’s discuss a few common hydration myths.

Myth: I need to drink 8 glasses of water everyday.

  • Truth: Daily water needs vary based on age, activity level, body size, and temperature, among other factors. Among generally healthy adults, women need about 11.5 cups and men need about 15.5 cups of water daily. This is about 9 cups liquid plus 2.5 cups from food and 13 cups liquid plus 2.5 cups from food for women and men respectively.

Myth: If I’m dehydrated my urine will be a dark-color.

  • Truth: The “color check” is fairly arbitrary and may not accurately reflect your hydration status. However, if you are not always the most attentive to your thirst cues, it can be a helpful tool.

Myth: My coffee is dehydrating.

  • Truth: Caffeine can be a mild diuretic, or make you pee, if you are not accustomed to it. However, if you drink a moderate amount of coffee or other caffeinated beverage on a regular basis, this may not be the case.

Myth: Drinking more water will help me lose weight.

  • Truth: There is not enough evidence to support the claim that drinking more water directly impacts weight loss.2 However, there is evidence to suggest that drinking water in place of high-sugar beverages, like soda, does aid in weight loss.3

The bottom line – drink water consistently throughout the day, and increase your intake if you are exercising. If you are thirsty, drink some water! Prioritize an eating pattern with fruits and vegetables, many of which are great sources of water.

  1. Gordon G & Klemm S. How Much Water Do You Need? Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published June 23, 2022. Accessed March 8, 2023.
  2. Muckelbauer R, Sarganas G, Grüneis A, Müller-Nordhorn J. Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):282-299. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.055061
  3. Tate DF, Turner-McGrievy G, Lyons E, et al. Replacing caloric beverages with water or diet beverages for weight loss in adults: main results of the Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) randomized clinical trial [published correction appears in Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Dec;98(6):1599]. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(3):555-563. doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.026278

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