Diet & Nutrition
What is Your Thirst Telling You?
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How much to drink?
You may have read or heard that you need at least eight glasses of water per day. This quantity won’t hurt a healthy adult. But doctors say such one–size–fits–all answer fails to tell the whole story about the body’s necessary balance of fluid intake and loss. Humans normally lose about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluid a day in sweat, urine, exhaled air and bowel movements. What is lost must be replaced to maintain a fluid balance.
Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and the very old. Not all fluid replacement must come from water. Other drinks consist mostly of water. Foods contain water as well. However, as mentioned earlier, your thirst is generally a good guide for when you need to replace fluids, and water is generally the best choice. If you are normal and have a normal set of kidneys and lungs, I think the maximum amount of water tolerated is huge and the minimum is less than eight glasses a day. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages are actually dehydrating because they increase urine output, so don’t count on those to replenish fluid loss.