Feeling Water-Logged?

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Published in The Wall Street Journal May 29, 2002:

At last the truth about water consumption is starting to leak out ("Why You're Drinking too Much Water"; 5/23/02)! I suspect the exaggeration of the amount of water a person ought to drink each day to stay healthy may have come about through careless transformations of the scientifically valid daily fluid requirement into a daily water requirement.The "fluid" humans require is, of course, water, which can be found in abundance in foods such as milk, juices, fruits, and vegetables, thus decreasing the amount of plain water required.

As the article accurately points out, a sedentary person who consumes a diet high in fresh produce can meet much of his or her fluid requirement from foods (the weight of a fresh tomato, for example, is about 94% water). And yes, the diuretic effects of caffeine are probably much less important than bottled water producers would have us believe at least for people who are used to consuming caffeine-containing beverages.

Ruth Kava, Ph.D., R.D.
Director of Nutrition
American Council on Science and Health

Responses:

June 13, 2002

I drink loads of water and feel the effects of dehydration very quickly. In the article "Feeling Water-Logged?" it is not stated how much water an average healthy person is required/recommended to take (whether it be by food or straight water). Do you know the answer to this question?

Lisa


June 17, 2002

Kava replies:

There is no one general answer to that question because the amount of water any person should drink is determined by a variety of factors such as body size, activity level, diet, and environmental conditions, in some cases. One reasonable rule of thumb, though, is that if a normal, healthy person's urine is a pale, straw color, he or she is likely getting enough water. The darker the urine is (in normal, healthy people), the more dehydrated the person probably is.

Ruth Kava, Ph.D., R.D.
Director of Nutrition
American Council on Science and Health