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The widely held belief that people should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, also known as the 8 x 8 rule, is simply not true, according to a new study.
Instead, water requirements vary by individual.
A recent study published in the journal Science found that the amount of water people should consume varies greatly.
“Science has never supported the old idea of eight glasses as a suitable guideline, if only because it confused total water turnover with water from drinks, and most of the water comes from the food you eat,” said study co-author Dale Scholler. professor of nutrition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has studied water and metabolism for decades.
According to him, this study is the most accurate and comprehensive study of hydration and the human body to date. More than 90 researchers contributed to the report, which measured the daily water turnover of more than 5,600 people in 26 countries, ranging in age from eight days to 96 years.
“This work is the best we’ve done so far to measure how much water people actually consume on a daily basis – water turnover in and out of the body – and the main factors that influence water turnover,” Scholler said.
The study found that water consumption varies greatly around the world, averaging between four and 25 cups per day.
According to the study, water requirements peak in men in their 20s, while in women they remain at the same level between the ages of 20 and 55, but differ only by about two glasses for each sex, and men require more. .
Physical activity level and sporting status contributed the largest differences in water turnover, followed by gender, human development index and age.
The lower a country’s Human Development Index, the more water a person walks in a day, with hunter-gatherers and farmers in developing countries having higher water turnover than industrialized countries.
Doubling the energy a person puts in every day will increase his expected turnover by about four glasses. About 110 more pounds of body weight adds about three required cups per day, and a 50% increase in humidity in a person’s environment increases intake by almost one cup.
After all, the study did not provide an estimated number of glasses the average person should consume per day.
“Variation means that pointing to a single mean will not tell you much. The database that we have compiled shows us important things that correlate with differences in water circulation,” Scholler said.
Scholler has been studying water and metabolism for decades; his lab pioneered the “labeled water” method used in research to analyze human hydration and water requirements.
Subjects drank a measured amount of water containing traceable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen—distinguishable chemical atoms.
He explained: “If you measure the rate at which a person is excreting these stable isotopes in the urine over the course of a week, the hydrogen isotope can tell you how much water it replaces, and the removal of the oxygen isotope can tell us how many calories they are burning.”
Newborns recycle the largest proportion of water – replacing about 28% of the water in their body each day.
Experts hope the study will improve the ability to predict more specific and accurate future water needs as the world struggles to cope with the growing threat of climate change.
Lead author Dr. Yosuke Yamada, head of department at the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition in Japan, said: “Determining how much water humanity consumes is becoming increasingly important due to population growth and increasing climate change.
“Because water turnover is associated with other important health measures, such as physical activity and body fat percentage, it could become a biomarker of metabolic health.”
Last year, the UN warned of a global water crisis, with many cities in the US already struggling to provide their citizens with clean drinking water.