Ever wondered exactly how much water per day you should be drinking?
Well the truth is, there is no hard and fast rule about an exact amount of water that each individual needs. You hear recommendations like, “Drink 8 cups of water a day” or “Aim for 2 liters of water per day”, but those guidelines have no evidence based foundations and aren’t a perfect fit for all people.
Most health practitioners agree that the best way to regulate your water intake is to keep an eye on the color your urine. If your urine is light yellow or close to clear, then you are well hydrated. If it tends more towards dark yellow or orange, then you need to drink up!
A recent analysis of national data shows that the both males and females in the US consume on average, slightly more than the amount of water recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Males consume an average of 117 ounces (about 15 cups) while females drink 93 ounces (about 12 cups) per day.
The problem with most people’s water intake is that it’s not from straight water. Of those national numbers, about 30% of total water consumed by males was plain water with 34% for women. The rest of the water values are made up of water from other foods (which is fine) and drinks (which probably isn’t). Most drinks that aren’t straight water are likely to be beverages that have added sugar.
If you’re looking to make the wise water choice, you don’t need anything fancy. Despite recent concerns about water supply in some areas, most municipal tap water sources are entirely safe. There’s no need to buy fancy vitamin-enhanced waters because these provide the types of vitamins that we all already get enough of and they contain added sugars.
If plain old drinking water isn’t your bag, spice it up by adding citrus like lemon or lime or cucumber for some added flavor. The proliferation of countertop carbonation machines makes it possible for you to add bubbles to water without sugar or calories.
However you prefer to pour your beverages, aim to make water the mainstay of your drink decisions. Avoid drinks with added sugars or vitamins and keep an eye on the color of your urine as your personal guide to optimal hydration.