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Q&A: How Much Water?

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Q: It’s hot outside. I know that 8 ounces of water is recommended each day, but are there certain times of day that our body benefits most from drinking it?

A: I thought your question was a typographical error at first. Limiting your fluid to 8 ounces of water each day would quickly lead to dehydration if you drank nothing else.

The actual requirement is six to eight 8-ounce glasses per day for people under 50, and an additional glass for adults over 50, depending on level of activity. Unfortunately, most people get their fluids from sugary caffeinated soft drinks, diet drinks, and coffee.

The food industry tells us we’re drinking more carbonated beverages (sweetened or diet) than water. And consider this: a can of Coke is sweetened with 16 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup. Diet drinks are basically a chemical swill colored to look like cola.

Complicating matters, coffee and other caffeinated beverages act as a mild diuretic (water pill) that in the end dehydrates you.

If you simply can’t handle 48 to 64 ounces a day of water, drink noncaffeinated herbal teas (hot or iced).

With regard to time of day: regular spacing is best. Carrying a plastic container of water in your backpack or purse for steady sipping will keep you well hydrated. You’ll know you’re drinking the right amount of water when your urine is almost clear.

Drink more water before and after exercise. Some people slow down their intake in the evening to prevent a lot of nighttime bathroom trips.

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