Eight Glasses of Water a Day?

Menstuff® has compiled the following information regarding how much water (in addition to tea and other liquids) the average human being should drink a day.

The Great Water Debate

Eight is the magic number when it comes to water consumption. For decades, health and nutrition experts have championed drinking 8 ounces of water eight times a day. But a recent study questions the golden rule of hydration.

In fact, according to Dr. Heinz Valtin, professor emeritus at Dartmouth Medical School, no published scientific data supports the 8-times-8 theory. He asserts that we get much of the water we need from the foods and beverages (other than water) that we consume.

Warnings about the dehydrating effects of coffee and alcohol may be off base, as well. A study by researchers at the Center for Human Nutrition in Omaha, Neb., found no difference in the levels of hydration among men who drank water only and men who drank equal amounts of water, caffeinated soda and coffee.

It is important to note, however, that the conclusions of these studies apply to healthy adults who live in temperate climates and are mostly sedentary. The game plan changes substantially when you add vigorous activity, warmer temperatures or certain health conditions.

In response to Dr. Valtin's study, some health experts are downsizing their water recommendations to five or six 8-ounce glasses per day, but if you are physically active you need more -- at least 7-10 additional ounces for every 15-20 minutes of exercise.

And don't rely on your thirst as a guide when you are exercising.

"Athletes voluntarily replace only two-thirds of sweat losses," notes Nancy Clark, a registered dietitian and author of "Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook." She recommends drinking according to the following schedule:

If the weather is hot, add a few ounces to these recommendations. To insure that you take in enough fluids, weigh yourself before and after your workout, and drink a pint of water for every pound you lost. You should also monitor your urine. If it is dark yellow, you aren't getting enough water.

You may find it helpful to have bottled water within easy reach throughout the day. Keep a supply in your desk, in the rooms you frequent in your home, in your car, anywhere you are likely to see it.

If you exercise for periods longer than one hour or in extremely hot or dry environments, consider using a sports drink that also replenishes the sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium that are lost through perspiration. And what about those vitamin-fortified and oxygenated waters: Are they worthwhile? Probably not. Most vitamin-fortified waters contain only 1-2 percent of the recommended daily amount of any particular vitamin, and oxygenated water has no measurable affect on athletic performance according to a study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Source: Judi Sheppard Missett is CEO of Jazzercise Inc., an international aerobic-dance instruction company. www.thirdage.com/news/archive/ALT02030728-03.html  

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