When Elle Macpherson credited her goddess-like skin and body to guzzling back 3L of water a day everyone started carrying a drink bottle. But do we all really need 3L everyday to be hydrated and is this the answer to glowing skin and shedding kilos?
Water has a number of crucial roles in your body. It carries nutrients and waste throughout the body, it is involved in electrical transfers and metabolic reactions while also regulating our body temperature- and that's really just the beginning.
So how much do we need? The ministry of health recommends that females over the age of 19 get 2.8L of fluid per day and men 3.5L per day. However, there are things that need to be considered before you go over doing it. Firstly, we get a lot of fluid from our food alone, in fact it’s estimated that we get around a litre a day just from food. Fruit and vegetables have a huge water content and although I wouldn't recommend it, if you ate enough you could get all your fluid requirements purely from food you ate.
Secondly, your fluid requirements differ significantly depending on you as an individual and your lifestyle. In the Nutrient reference values in Australia advise “there is no single level of water intake that would ensure adequate hydration and optimal health for the apparently healthy people in the population.” This is basically saying that our hydration requirements differ significantly depending on climate, activity level and of course how much fluid we get from our food. If you regularly do strenuous exercise in a hot country then of course you are going to have higher fluid requirements than someone who doesn't.
If you are a healthy individual your fluid balance is extremely tightly controlled. The moment your sodium balance goes out by even the slightest amount this triggers thirst and encourages you to drink water, which will then bring you back into balance. So give your body some credit and listen to the cues that it gives you.
Therefore my advice would be this, make sure that water is always available to you but above all the best guide you will have for how hydrated you are is your urine. If your urine is clear then you are hydrated. If your urine is a darker yellow colour then you need to drink some water. I have copied a great link that gives you a guide of what the colour of your urine means below.
Don't make it too complicated. Don't drown yourself to get through 2L if you can see you are hydrated after 1L. Of course drinking enough is important however; a higher water intake doesn't really show to have any health benefits that are convincing, except potentially decreasing recurrent kidney stones.
Now what about water and your weight- can you drink yourself slimmer? Turns out there is research to suggest that you can. Research conducted by the obesity society in England showed that if participants drank two glasses of water 30 minutes before a meal they ate less compared to those who imagined they had a full stomach and showed moderate weight loss. Perhaps this is worth trying for yourself, particularly if you commonly confuse thirst and hunger- and of course it's free. Thanks for reading.