How much water is enough?

By Lief Montgomery

A friend of mine passed along a great clip from a feisty, massage therapist in North Carolina. It was a bit of necessary myth busting on toxins, massage and water intake. I was very pleased to see this because besides being a lover of the truth, and a hater of lies, I get ribbed about my water, or lack of water intake. I am not thirsty, why should I drink? I traced back this often repeated and erroneous bit of wisdom – Drink 8 glasses of water a day – to a misinterpretation of the original study. The journalists and media who are responsible for perpetuating this myth, actually left out an important word from the study.

Take a look a Laura Allen clip below, and read on below.

I have been vindicated. You see, the actual piece stated you should drink “the equivalent of 8 glasses of water a day”. Of course, everyone is different and someone who runs marathons, or works all day in a state of high anxiety, may need a bit more H2O than myself who spends the majority of the day in a reclined and meditative state.

So lets look at a typical day of “water” intake for me as as an example. A couple of cappuccinos during the day, a few beers at night, collard greens and kale (love those greens), and apples (85% water!) In fact, I cannot remember the last time I drank pure water.

You’re going to love this next part(remember, you can always thank me by sending chocolate or flowers) – according to University of Nebraska researcher Ann Grandjean and colleagues (Grandjean,2000) who conducted a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, “Caffeinated beverages and other drinks (I assume she means alcohol) also should be counted toward daily water intake.”

This, from nutritionist Monica Reinagel, “You can train your body to be more efficient by drinking coffee everyday. Rejoice!”

Surprise! Drinking Caffeinated Beverages Won’t Dehydrate You

Secondly, contrary to another widely held nutritional myth, coffee, tea, sodas and other caffeinated drinks are not dehydrating. Caffeine can act as a diuretic, increasing urine output, but you still end up taking in more fluids than you lose. If you don’t drink caffeinated beverages regularly, drinking a cup of coffee ends up being the equivalent of drinking about 2/3 of a cup of water. In other words, drinking coffee will hydrate you — just not quite as efficiently as water will.

If you regularly drink caffeinated beverages, however, the diuretic effects of the caffeine are almost negligible. In other words, if you drink coffee every day, your body retains the same amount of fluid from a cup of coffee as it does from a cup of water.

Send me your comments, ideas and letters, to Because of the tremendous amount of mail I receive and the fact that I need my kids to help me with email and tech stuff, I cannot respond to everyone.

Lief Montgomery

For anyone interested, the source of this myth was contained in an obscure government report from 1945:

A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 liters daily in most instances. An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.