You Don’t Actually Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

(Image credit: Laure Joliet)

The idea that every man, woman, and child needs eight tall glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration? Total myth. So says professor of pediatrics Aaron E. Carroll in The New York Times this week. Apparently he’s been saying it for years, but none of us have been listening.

Raise your hand if you feel at least a little bit lied to after hearing this news. I remember camp counselors coaching us into water-chugging races beneath pine trees as a means of ensuring hydration on the hottest summer days. I remember when displaying your favorite water bottle from a hook on your backpack was the cool new thing to do. I definitely remember that number — eight glasses a day — being repeated over and over again.

Here’s the thing: Carroll says that number comes from a recommendation (emphasis: recommendation) from the Food and Nutrition Board in 1945 (emphasis: 1945). Clearly, this research could use a little refresher. But the real kicker is that this 1945 recommendation came with the explanation that most of us ordinary, food-eating folks get a good majority of that water from the food we eat in a normal day.

In other words, no need to fret. Unless you’re in an extreme situation — say, lost in the desert, or running a marathon whose organizers forgot to set up water tables — you’re probably just fine, hydration-wise. But don’t take my word for it; Aaron Carroll does a far better job of explaining how this myth came to be and why it doesn’t hold any water. (Hee hee! Pun intended.)

→ Read More: No, You Do Not Have To Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day by Aaron E. Carroll in The New York Times