We Asked 10 Nutritionists How Much Water You Should Actually Drink

We Asked 10 Nutritionists How Much Water You Should Actually Drink

Across the board, the exact water recommendations vary but we spoke with 10 nutritionists about how much water to drink and other important things to keep in mind for staying hydrated.

Combine Water with Additional Nutrients for Optimal Hydration

"Water alone will not hydrate the body; electrolytes are lost through both physical and emotional stress so it is important to hydrate with key electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium," said Carolyn Dean, medical doctor and nutrition expert. Dean also recommends drinking half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water and adding half a teaspoon of sea salt to every quart of drinking water.

Depends on Change in Activity and Temperature

"For the average healthy adult I recommend eight cups of water a day," said Alyson Fendrick, registered dietitian. "However, water needs change with activity and changes in temperatures. Athletes need two cups prior to workout then one and a half cups every 20 minutes during a workout. They should drink a 16 to 20-ounce serving of water at least four hours prior to exercise and drink an 8 to 12-ounce serving of water 10 to 15 minutes prior to exercise. Three eight-ounce servings of water should be consumed every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising for less than 60 minutes. Drink three to eight ounces of a sports drink or diluted sports drink (five to eight percent carbohydrate with electrolytes) every 15 to 20 minutes when exercising for greater than 60 minutes."

Do Not Rely on Your Thirst

"Don't always rely on thirst to tell you when to drink," said Isabel Maples, registered dietitian nutritionist. "If you are exercising or it's a really hot day, drink extra. Thirst can especially be off (as an indicator) for kids and the elderly. The best way to tell if you need to drink more? Check the color of your urine. It should be a light yellow. Like lemonade. Not a dark yellow like apple juice."

Eight Glasses a Day

"On a normal day, it's recommended that each person drink about eight glasses of water per day," said Rebecca Lewis, registered dietitian for HelloFresh, the leading meal kit delivery brand globally. "To put it into perspective, you need to drink four 16-ounce glasses of water or two and a half large water bottles per day. That may seem like a lot of water but it's worth it for your overall health, energy levels, and waistline, especially while exercising. Often times when you feel very hungry, it's really just your body sending a signal that you are dehydrated!"

Half Your Body Weight in Ounces

Brad Davidson, certified nutritionist, recommends people drink half their body weight in ounces per day because increasing water intake can boost the metabolism by as much as seven percent. For example, if you are 200 pounds, Davidson recommends drinking 100 ounces of water a day.

Half Your Body Weight In Ounces

Another nutritionist agrees with Davidson about measuring the amount of water you drink based on your weight. "For healthy clients, I normally recommend to either take in 25-30 milliliters of fluid per kilogram of body weight or to take the client's weight in pounds and divide that by two to get the number of ounces of fluid per day," said Jennie Miremadi, certified nutritionist. "So, if a client was 140 lbs, I would recommend 70 ounces of fluid per day."

Hydrate Through Additional Foods and Drinks

"I have many patients and clients who say they dislike the taste of water," said Jill Weisenberger, registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. "I remind them that even foods help them meet their hydration needs. Some foods are actually quite high in water. Fruits, vegetables, and cooked grains are examples. Caffeine is not the big dehydrator that many people think it is, so I don't discourage moderate amounts of unsweetened tea and coffee for most of my clients."

Increase Based on Age, Health, and Physical Activity

"The Institute of Medicine has determined that a healthy person living in a temperate climate needs a daily amount of 13 cups (three liters) for a male and nine cups (about two liters) for a female," said Andrea Cox, nutritionist for Healthy.co.id. "If you exercise intensely, you need to drink enough water to account for the sweat loss you experienced. If you live in a hot climate, you may also need more due to sweating throughout the day."

More for Men Than Women

"The adequate intake for men is about 2.7 liters of fluid per day and 2.2 liters for women, because women have more fat mass than men which does not require water," said Monica Heather Auslander, registered dietitian. "The adequate intake is defined by the IOM (Institute of Medicine) as the amount generally accepted to meet most healthy peoples' needs. Water needs vary greatly from person to person and should be adjusted for age, gender, weight, body fat percentage, any medical/metabolic conditions, exercise, and external temperatures."

Water in Addition to Other Liquids

"Aim to consume eight 16-ounce glasses daily, spaced evenly throughout the day," said Lori Kenyon Farley, certified nutrition consultant. "One glass every two hours should get you to your goal. If you work out, thus losing hydration through sweating, drink before, during, and especially after, your workout. Even if you drink other liquids during the day, they should not be counted as one of your waters, since some will not be hydrating, and many others will even dehydrate, like caffeinated beverages and alcohol." Diet soda can also dehydrate you, in addition to causing these 18 scary side effects when you drink it


More from The Daily Meal: 

Starbucks Secret Menu Items and How to Order Them Like a Pro

18 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe's

The Best Food and Drink in Every State

101 Best Pizzas in America

21 Insanely Easy Instant Pot Breakfast Recipes