Oral Care and Health Daily

Busting the ‘8 Glasses a Day’ Myth

Forget what you''ve been told about eight glasses a day. New research shows there''s a better way to...

For years, experts urged us to down eight big glasses of water a day. Turns out, that’s just one of those health myths that everyone has heard -- and no one can prove.

Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School combed through mountains of data and found no evidence to back it up. (They suspect it may have stemmed from an early misunderstanding from national nutrition guidelines.) The new surprising conclusion they reached: For most sedentary people who work indoors, 8 glasses may be too much.

Still, water is at the top of the food chain for good health, says registered dietitian Wendy Bazilian, who has a doctorate in public health and is the co-author of The SuperFoods Rx Diet. “It’s the most important nutrient we consume. You can survive weeks without food, but only days without water.”

Water plays a role in many bodily functions: delivering nutrients and removing wastes from cells, stabilizing body temperature, and keeping our skin healthy and glowing. It’s important for oral health as well: Lots of water helps minimize the plaque that can cause cavities and bad breath.

So if eight 8-ounce glasses isn’t the right amount, what is? A good rule of thumb, says Bazilian, is to take in 8 ounces for every 20 pounds you weigh. But it needn’t all be drunk. A National Academy of Sciences report noted that while 80 percent of your daily water should come from beverages for proper hydration, the rest can be from water-rich foods.

How can you be sure you’re getting enough water? Follow these four easy tips every day, recommends Bazilian:

  • Eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal. Apples, grapes and tomatoes are excellent water-rich choices.

  • Have soup or salad at least once a day.

  • Aim for at least six 8-ounce beverages. Her faves: water (plain or sparkling, flavored with a slice of cucumber or a squeeze of lime), green tea, low-fat milk and low-sodium vegetable drinks.
  • Keep the weather in mind. You’ll be thirstier on a hot day than a cool one when you’re working inside.
  • Drink for your sport. Physical activity can easily dehydrate you. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends drinking 6 to 8 ounces, or 1 cup, of cold water every five to 15 minutes during sports or exercise.



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