Because your mother said so.

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Most of us have heard the old adage to "drink 8 glasses of water a day" by mothers, doctors, health teachers, etc.--but is it true? My mother has definitely chided me for not drinking enough water, but I never paid any mind because I assumed that I only needed to drink when I got thirsty since that's a pretty good indicator of dehydration, right? To anyone that believes in the 8 glasses rule, I'm sorely mistaken in that respect. According to the Institute of Medicine's recommendations, every person's required amount of water intake per day varies depending on multiple factors such as your health status, amount of daily activity, and where you live--but it agrees that 1.9 liters, or roughly 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water, is approximately the amount an average human should consume per day.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
The myth-busting website snopes.com claims to debunk this assertion with multiple sources of an LA Times article and Penn State nutrition researchers in this article:
http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp
This, and many other sources, assert that almost half of the water we need to replenish the amount lost during the day is recaptured though foods, especially those with high water content such as leafy greens, melons, and tomatoes. The other 6 glasses of water needed per day are usually consumed when one is eating a meal or exercising.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/286730-list-of-foods-with-a-high-water-content/
As for me, I think I'll believe the Institute of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic website because their facts seem reputable and founded in research.

14 Comments

| Leave a comment

What do you think makes those sources more credible? Is there something about the other sites that make them less credible to you?

I've always not followed the 8 glasses a day rule for the same reason that you said, "I never paid any mind because I assumed that I only needed to drink when I got thirsty since that's a pretty good indicator of dehydration." I've never noticed a difference in anything on the days I have had enough water compared to the days I don't have enough so it seems like it doesn't do anything but make you have to pee.

@chamb169 I tend to side with sources that have extensive scientific research attributed to them, so I trust assertions made by the Institute of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and the LiveStrong website because they are respected institutions and are accredited with success in medical endeavors. The snopes website is fairly well-known, but technically only has one source of information to draw off of and has no medical affiliation whatsoever.

I definitely have been hearing that same phrase or "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," and I'd love to know the history behind that one too. I think it's a good base to say that a person should drink 8 glasses of water a day, in order to keep things regular within the body. I'm happy to see that there is some research behind the 8 glasses a day phrase. The articles make a great point in saying that we can potentially gain water from foods throughout the day, but for us college students who have a lesser selection of healthy foods, i fear that many of us are not drinking enough water. I am not sure at all, but I guarantee that the lack of water many college students experience not only is unhealthy for our bodily functions but that just throws off many more things. If our systems aren't working correctly or efficiently then it's much easier to become ill. I'd be interested to know if keeping hydrated actually does pertain to bodily functions and further things such as sicknesses.

I've always tried to drink at least 1.5L of water a day but it is actually difficult. I don't think that there is a certain rule of drinking water. I think our body demands water when they need it.

I was always told by my mother that once you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. I never researched this myself, but I always believed her seeing she's my mom. She always told me to drink water throughout the whole day so I never get dehydrated. I know a sign of dehydration is yellow urine. When I drink lots of water throughout the day, it is then clear. Therefore, I believe we need to drink lots of water throughout the day just so we never become dehydrated. I have also heard from numerous sources that drinking lots of water is critical for dieting and losing weight. I have always believed this, but I should probably look into it more.

I grew up with my mom telling me to drink 8 glasses of water a day and I regret that I have to tell her she was right! I really appreciated how you used the snopes research in comparison to the Mayo clinic. As much as I love reading the urban legends on snopes, I am definitely going to have to go with the more scientific research on this one.

I have always thought the same way you did about water; that 8 glasses of water is ridiculous, I'll drink water when I feel the need to drink it. However I do have to admit that when this “8 glasses of water rule” was first introduced to me when I was in elementary school I fell for it. As a child you can easily be manipulated by adult theories such as the need to have 8 glasses of water. I remember coming home and drinking a glass full of water, one after another and thinking to myself this task would have been so much easier if I was able to separate out the glasses of water intake according to every 2 hours within the day. Both sources that you found are quite interesting. I would also think that all that fruit intake would make up for the water needed in your body. Just like you, I also think the Mayo Clinic website is a much better way to look at it. That website sums up why we feel the way we do about this general rule (not feeling the need to drink it even though we are told we should) and shrug at its proposal. Great post by the way!

I feel like words of wisdom like these have effected everyone at some point in their life- mostly during they're critical years as a child. Sayings like "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and "if you assume, you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'" taught me useful things about everyday life, and how to conduct myself as an individual when I was a kid. They might not be scientifically credible, but they aren't completely useless.

I never counted how many glasses of water I drank; I always drank as many glasses as I needed. But I have started drinking more water now ever since I was hospitalized for dehydration. I don’t know if I drink 8 glasses of water a day but I do drink enough so that I won’t end up in the hospital again. And I also agree with you that the information provided by the Mayo Clinic is trustable because they are known for their research and success in the medical field. Good job on the credible information and your opinion.

Okay.I heard about that adage,too.And to be honestly,I've tried to drink 2000ml water per day during the winter break.and it turns to make me go to the restroom more often.So now I tend to only drink like 800ml water each day and I think that's enough because I alway eat salad for lunch which contains a lot of water.And I think it is really good for you to find all these sources as a lot of people don't really know whether 8 glassed of water per day is true or not and just believe in it.However,I have to said that your idea about drink water only when you are thirsty is not very good.Because when your got thirsty,it means you are almost on a situation of physiological dehydration.

This is an interesting concept to consider. Is too much water a bad thing? If the pituitary gland controls the water retention in our kidneys, and the endocrine system is not the fastest way for us to react (not as fast as the negative-feedback systems) how can a sudden change in water levels in the kidneys effect us? Is it possible that this sudden surge in water levels in the body could place renal tissues in hypotonic solutions, which could cause tissue damage. I agree that staying hydrated is vital for basic metabolic functions, but it seems irrational to say that "one size fits all" when it comes to hydration.

I actually lost a couple pounds of weight by drinking eight glasses of water a day alone! I try to do it every day now.

I think it's a really good idea to drink 8 glasses of water every day because it helps filter our body. It's so beneficial because it's good for our system, especially our skin. Water gives us brighter and healthy skin. I personally drink lots of water everyday. I drink at least one gallon everyday.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by adam0678 published on February 5, 2012 11:05 PM.

When We Can't Hear was the previous entry in this blog.

Cellphone Radiation is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.