You are the owner of this article.
Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere

{{featured_button_text}}
Tara Dunker

Tara Dunker

I’m a fan of questioning everything I’m told, and I think you should be too.

This is especially true when it comes to your body and your health. Even water—yes, boring old H2O—can’t escape health magazine mythology.

The confusion may have started in 1945, when the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board stated the “ordinary standard” of water for adults was 1 milliliter (mL) for each calorie of food.

For a person who consumes around 2,000 calories per day, the math works out to 2,000 mL of water, or roughly eight 8-ounce glasses daily—commonly known today as the 8x8 rule.

The next sentence in the food board’s publication stated “most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.” I’m not sure what prepared foods meant in 1945, but this sentence has largely been ignored.

Fast forward to 1974, and another possible origin of the 8x8 rule appears. Dr. Fredrick J. Stare, a renowned nutritionist, co-authored a book. A brief passage near the end recommends the average adult consume around six to eight glasses of water a day.

Not surprisingly, the part stating “this can be in the form of coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, beer, etc. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of water” was lost in favor of clever messaging.

While drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day may be reasonable for some, it’s important to note that neither of these published statements cite scientific evidence as their basis. They appear to be the casual opinions of well-educated people.

Researchers have not concluded we must drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to maintain health. When you think about it, this makes sense.

Most science-based nutrition advice is individualized on some level, whether it be gender, age, activity level or body size—but not water. The 8x8 rule leaves no room for nuance, and nuance is important when it comes to health advice.

For starters, this rule completely ignores most people get as much as 20 percent of their water needs met through the foods they eat each day. If you’re a lover of fruits and vegetables, you’re likely getting even more than this.

And that mug of coffee you enjoy every morning, it counts toward your daily water intake too. Research has shown caffeinated drinks—in moderation—do not cause dehydration.

Do you live and work in temperate climates (ie air conditioning)? Are you free from medical conditions like kidney stones and urinary tract infections (both of which increase a person’s need for fluids)? Did you just get done running a marathon, or are you mostly sitting today?

Yes, water is needed for all bodily functions—even breathing—but the human body has been fine-tuned over eons to regulate it’s daily fluid needs.

The best guide may be the color of your urine: It should be light yellow. If it looks like water, you’re drinking more than you need. If it’s dark yellow or orange, you need to drink more.

There is no need to follow some elaborate hydration schedule, unless that’s what you’re into.

If you have any further questions, please contact Tara Dunker at 402-223-1384, tara.dunker@unl.edu, or visit the Gage County Extension website at www.gage.unl.edu.

The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

0
0
0
0
0

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

The new year is well underway, and the new decade is off to a good start for the Beatrice Humane Society.

There is a sign on the west side of Beatrice that I pass every day. “It’s never too late to start again.” I’ve thought about that sign a lot d…

During the year I spent in medical nutrition therapy classes in college, the ketogenic (or keto) diet was less than a footnote.

What's revealing about so many self-described nationalists is their contempt for the nation they claim to love. When President Trump talks about America, he talks about how people who don't love it should leave it - and then he talks about how awful it is and how much he doesn't love it. Here is America's president commenting on America's most populous city and fourth most populous state: "So ...

Supporters of school choice, take notice. The Supreme Court just heard oral arguments in a case that could limit your ability to pick the school that's right for your children. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, a group of parents is challenging the state's decision to exclude religious schools from a scholarship program. When the Montana legislature created the program in 2015, it ...

PETA Asia's emergency line has been ringing nonstop. After the Taal volcano in the Philippines spewed hundreds of tons of suffocating ash and sent lava streaming down its sides, PETA Asia was the first charity on the scene, and staffers are working to help as many animals as possible in the evacuation zone, providing food, water and veterinary care to dogs and cats who've been abandoned or ...

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court took up a case that is poised to have far-reaching effects on religious liberty. At issue are the state laws known as Blaine Amendments, which prohibit the use of government funding to benefit religious schools and other organizations. These laws have pernicious anti-immigrant origins. The "brown" people targeted in the 1800s were Catholics, Jews, Mormons ...

We the people of the United States of America are deeply invested in the impeachment trial now underway in the U.S. Senate, prompted by two articles of impeachment brought by the House of Representatives. But the House, we should remember, omitted several other potential grounds for impeachment, including racism, sexism and what the Dalai Lama aptly called the president's "lack of moral ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News