Water: How much should you drink every day?

We're all used to being told to drink more water, but how much is enough -- and is there such a thing as too much? Find out here, plus get the scoop on water and weight loss.

By Dee Van Dyk

Why 8 glasses? Plus, can you drink too much water?

Why is 8 glasses the magic number for water intake?
"If you're not looking to lose weight and are just maintaining your weight with a specific calorie intake, one millilitre of water per calorie of your diet is needed to metabolize the food you eat," says Van Schaick. "The eight glasses per day is based on the average diet of 2,000 calories and, at one millilitre per calorie, it works out to eight glasses."

If you want to lose weight, Van Schaick recommends, you may need to increase your water intake. "If you are trying to restrict your diet to lose weight, take in one ounce of water for every two pounds of weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces (or 12.5 cups) of water daily."

Clues that you might be dehydrated
Symptoms of dehydration include: dry, sticky mouth, dry eyes, dark yellow urine output and nausea after exercising.

Remember that thirst and hunger can send off similar signals, so try a glass of water to see if that satisfies your craving.

Amping up the flavour of your water
Some people don't like drinking water because they think it's tasteless. Here are some ways to improve the taste of water:

• Put a handful of frozen berries in your water bottle. As the day wears on, the frozen berries will keep the water cold and gradually impart the flavour of the fruit.
• Add lemon, lime or orange slices (or all three!) and mint to your water.
• Make natural herbal iced teas to use instead of water -- you control the sugar content.
• Fruits have up to 90 per cent water content, so just eating fruit will up your fluid intake.

Can you drink too much water?
"It's very rare that we take in too much water, but there is a condition called water intoxication," says Van Schaick. "If you drink too much water, you dilute the electrolytes in your body and that can affect your heart. We've heard of athletes having heart attacks because they've taken in too much water, but it's very rare. Twelve cups of water per day will not overhydrate your body."

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