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The Truth About How Much Water You Should Drink

posted: 08/24/15
by: Courtney Reimer
Child drinking water. Girl outdoors
iStock

It's health advice that's as pervasive as "an apple a day keep the doctor away," but it turns out the "drink 8 glasses of water a day" rule might be less of a hard-and-fast truth than we thought.

The New York Times reports that the hydration maxim so many of us live by can be traced back to a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board report that said people need to consume 2.5 liters of water a day. That report was widely translated to "drink 8 glasses of water," but the fine print that has fallen out of this health-advice game of telephone? A lot of that water comes in the form of food.

As the writer of this analysis, Pediatrics Professor Aaron E. Carroll, points out, water is for many reasons a great -- and probably the best -- thing to drink, but if you prefer other beverages, all hydration is not lost. Water is also found in juice, tea and coffee (which, apparently is itself the target of another myth: it's not dehydrating, after all).

So, in summary: yes, hydration is important. No, drinking water is not the only means by which to achieve optimum hydration. Listen to your thirst and proceed accordingly.