Dr. Scott Olson is a naturopathic doctor specializing in nutritional healing, healthy diet, and weight loss, as explained in his book on beating sugar addiction, Sugarettes. This article is reproduced with kind permission from his educational website, OlsonND.com. ©2012. All Rights Reserved.
Really – How Much Water Am I Supposed to Drink?
For something so simple as drinking water, there sure are a lot of opinions out there.
I’ve read suggestions that you should drink anywhere between five and ten 8-ounce glasses a day. There are even online water calculators that can determine your water needs.
Let me first tell you that your body has its own built-in water calculator and it just doesn’t have to be that complicated, and that there is a wholly different way you can look at water intake that just might surprise you.
Your Body’s Calculator
Here is the problem with the five to ten 9-ounce glasses theory:
While that sounds like good advice, it makes a blanket statement for everyone without ever considering who you are, where you live and what you are doing.
• You could be a person who lives in the North Pole or you could be living on the equator.
• You could be very skinny or you could be large.
• You could be a couch potato or you could be an ultra-athlete.
How can any blanket recommendation of ten glasses of water really apply to all of you?
To personalize water intake, you need to be able to measure how much water your body needs. Fortunately, you have a built-in measuring system that can tell you exactly what your water needs are: the color of your urine.
It works like this: the color of your urine (barring taking certain vitamins that change the color*) should be light colored or clear. If your urine is yellow or bright yellow, then you are not getting enough water. So, whether you are a runner, a slacker, a north or south dweller, enjoying the sun or the snow, you can determine your own personal water needs by simply looking down when you visit the bathroom.
Some days you will need a lot of water and some days you won’t, it depends on many factors.
But here is something else you want to think about:
You Don’t Need Extra Water
Maybe you don’t need to drink any water, or at least you might not have to drink that much.
If you are following a diet such as what I recommend (80% vegetables or fruits and 20% proteins) then you will find that you are not that thirsty and that you pass the pee-test for having enough water.
The reason why you don’t need to drink as much water is two-fold.
• The first is that there is a lot of water in fruits and vegetables and that they provide your body with a lot of its water needs.
• The second is that eating grains requires a lot of water. If you are not eating grains and sugar, you automatically drop your water needs.
This is because grains and sugars don’t contain much water and need water to be able to move them through your system. I also think that many people are allergic to grains and this makes your body hold on to more water than it normally would.
I, personally, only drink one or two glasses of water a day unless I’m out running or biking. This is a dramatic change from when I used to eat a lot of grains and I would drink many glasses of water each day
* As highlighted in an interesting comment on this article contributed by “Nutrition Diva” Monica Reinagel – that “A high-dose multivitamin (or anything with a high dose of riboflavin) will turn your urine bright yellow, having nothing to do with your hydration status. But basically, I’m on the same page with you." [Riboflavin is vitamin B2 – an orange-red micronutrient sometimes used as a food color additive.]