“Drink eight glasses of water a day” has become the common rule of thumb for a healthy lifestyle, but this notion has recently been challenged. While some stand by this age-old rule as the key to proper nutrition, others argue that it depends on factors like daily exercise and weight.
This rule seems to be widely believed, but there isn’t any clear science behind it. One possible origin of the myth is the 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that people need to drink two and a half liters of water per day, which translates to about eight glasses.
LS freshman Erica Loh said while she sees the benefits of drinking a regular amount of water each day, she is not sure the rule of eight glasses applies to everyone
“I like to think that my skin is clearer because I drink a lot of water,” Loh said. “I don’t think drinking eight glasses of water daily is a myth but I think some people need more or less depending on how much physical activity they do in a day.”
Some experts like Joseph Mosher, Athletic Trainer and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NYU Athletics Department, argue you could drink eight glasses of water and still not be drinking enough.
“Your body needs water to survive,” Mosher said. “It needs a lot of cellular function, temperature regulation and waste removal,” Mosher said. “Not drinking enough leads to a lot of problems on a lot of levels. I think that most people are chronically dehydrated so they should all be pushing water throughout the day.”
Mosher recommends that students drink the same number of ounces of water every day as their body weight. So if you’re 140 pounds, you’d drink 140 ounces — about seven refills of an average water bottle.
Andrea Deierlein, an Assistant Professor for public health nutrition in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, thinks the eight glasses myth persists because it’s an easy number to remember. Instead of counting glasses, Deierlein encourages students to trust their own judgement.
“Our bodies are constantly losing water through respiration, sweating and urine; therefore, it needs to be replenished,” Deierlein said. “Drinking an appropriate amount of water everyday, in accordance with our thirst, keeps the body adequately hydrated and optimally functioning. A good rule of thumb is let your thirst guide you.”
A version of this article appeared in the Nov. 23 print edition. Email Ankita Bhanot at [email protected]