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What the Health: Water

Do we really know how much water to drink in a day?
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FIONA TUNG/THE VARSITY
FIONA TUNG/THE VARSITY

Drinking water is a basic human necessity. Yet do we really know how much water to drink in a day?

An easy and common way to remember how much we should be swigging back is to use the eight-by-eight rule, where you drink eight eight-ounce cups each day. It’s not exactly backed up by evidence, but it gets the job done.

Now, if we want to get specific, according to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average daily water intake should be 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women.

Keep in mind that drinking the right amount of water depends on each person. A fitness guru would drink way more water compared to those who aren’t exercising as much. If you’re having a bad case of diarrhea, you’re going to be chugging a lot more water than normal.

Beware though, as it is possible to drink too much water. It can lead to water intoxication and hyponatremia — or overhydration — where the sodium level is too low in the blood. If you’re flooding your kidneys with heaps and heaps of water, your kidneys won’t be able to get rid of it, causing mild to life-threatening consequences.

It’s more prone to happen to athletes and soldiers, but it’s very rare — emphasis on ‘very.’ Don’t worry about overdrinking. When you’re thirsty, drink water, and go get that extra bathroom break in.

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