How much water should you drink?

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Do you know how much water you should drink? We’re in the middle of a heatwave (or, y’know, summer) right now, and it’s vitally important that you keep hydrated when the weather is hot. Everyone knows that we should be drinking water, but it can be hard to know exactly how much water you should drink. The often-cited blanket rule of 8 glasses a day is pretty ambiguous, and if you’re a 300lb man your needs are going to be rather different from a 120lb woman. So why should you drink more water, and how much water should you be drinking?

How much water should you drink?

Ah, that's the sixty-four million dollar question, isn't it? It's not an exact science and how much you need depends on a lot of factors: your weight, age, gender and whether or not you've been active that day to name just a few. This is why the NHS has a general recommendation of around 6-8 glasses of water a day, which is around 1.2 litres. However if you Google it, you may find the more common recommendation that we drink 8-10 glasses, or 8x8oz a day, which is closer to 2 litres a day. But the NHS is keen to point out that this is an American recommendation.

Drinking the NHS-recommended 6-8 glasses a day is a good rule of thumb and if you currently don't drink any water at all, this is where you should begin.

What are the benefits of drinking more water?

Water makes up 60% of our bodies and it's lost through sweating, peeing and even breathing, so it's important to maintain this level to stay healthy. Drinking enough water can help with digestion, your blood circulation and can help prevent headaches. On a more superficial level, drinking enough water can help improve your skin too. Simply put, water is the key to helping your body function properly.

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What do you mean this isn’t how you drink water?[/caption]

Will drinking more water help me lose weight?

Well, it's not a magic potion - if you're not sticking to your calorie goals, drinking a bit of water isn't going to negate this. However, drinking enough water and staying hydrated is thought to help a little bit, although it's not clear exactly how. Some people swear that drinking enough water will 'flush everything out', or that a glass of ice-cold water will kickstart your metabolism, but there's no real research to back either of these claims.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism did find that drinking water increased metabolic rate by 30% for a maximum of 30 minutes, but it was a small sample with strict controls which can't really be generalised to the wider population.

But if you're used to drinking high-calorie soft drinks every day, switching to water will cut those calories which will help you lose weight. Another commonly-cited reason that water helps you lose weight is that drinking a lot of water will fill you up, so you may end up eating less. But again, this isn't a magical property that water has - it's simple calories in, calories out.

This doesn't mean that it's not worth drinking water if you want to lose weight, though.

Are there any drawbacks to drinking more water?

It'll make you pee a lot, especially if you're not used to drinking enough.

It is also possible to drink too much water, so it's worth bearing in mind that you don't need to suddenly start downing 10 litres a day. Water intoxication (also known as hyponatremia) is a real, dangerous thing where drinking too much too fast leads to an abnormally low concentration of sodium in the bloodstream. This can lead to damage to the kidneys, liver and can even be fatal. It's rare, and you'd have to drink an absolutely huge volume of water, but it's worth being aware of.

How do I know if I'm drinking enough?

A good indication of whether you're adequately hydrated is the colour of your pee. Yes, really. Take a look and see how you're doing - if it's dark, you need to drink more. If it's pale or almost clear, you're doing ok. The other symptoms of dehydration are feeling thirsty (duh), strong-smelling pee, feeling dizzy, a dry mouth and not peeing much. You're more likely to get dehydrated quicker if you've got diabetes, if it's a hot day or if you've sweated a lot after exercise.

There are many water intake calculators on the web which might give you a better idea of how much you should be aiming for. One of the better ones is bottle-makers Camelbak's hydration calculator, which gives you a total based on your age and weight and takes into account activity too.


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Candid pic of us drinking water after a workout.[/caption]


But I don't like water!

Does anyone?! For all of its health benefits, it's no wonder that 20% of men don't drink any water in a day and a staggering 89% of Britons don't drink enough water at all, according to the National Hydration Council. Because it's boring, right? Unfortunately, if you're not a fan you'll just have to suck it up.

We're lucky in the UK to have high-quality tap water, but if you think what comes out of your tap tastes gross, you could try getting a water filter. BRITA are the go-to jug filter kings here and you can either get a fridge jug with a filter or you can get a water bottle with a little filter in so you can fill and go. The downside of this is that the filters are pretty expensive.

Alternatively, you could get a fancy water bottle like this one with a built-in fruit-infuser, so you could chuck a few strawberries or lemon slices in there to help add a little flavour to your water. And if you're really struggling to keep hydrated because you don't like water, add a bit of no-added-sugar squash - 250ml of water with this Tesco no-added-sugar orange squash is only 4 calories and although not everyone would agree, in our opinion it's better to drink squash than to not drink any water at all. Just treat yourself like a toddler and make it weak.

So how much water should I drink, then?

Start with the NHS-recommended 6-8 glasses a day and see how you get on. If you're exercising or it's a particularly hot day, drink a few extra glasses. If your pee is still dark, you'll know that you need to drink more, but if it's light you'll know that you're on the right track. Keep a reusable water bottle with you and drink from it throughout the day. And above all, if you're thirsty, drink!

Further reading

Do you drink enough water? If not, why not? Tssk. What are your tips for upping your water intake? Let us know over on the forum.



I own 60 million water bottles, my fave being my Camelbak ones, but recently I’ve been using one of these massive 2.2l things. I put it in front of me at my desk with a long straw and just sip from it throughout the day.

When I make a conscious effort to drink enough water, I feel great - less sluggish, I eat less crap…it’s just a shame that I find it such a chore :see_no_evil:

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Fantastic article!:grinning:

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good stuff, I usually tell people the same thing:

Are you thirsty/dehydrated?

drink more

Is your piss yellow?

drink more

Are you not thirsty/dehydrated with clear piss?

You’re all good lol :slight_smile:


Currently loving fizzy water… I am pretty sure I am wholly responsible for the C02 shortage in the UK.

12 bottles of 500ml carbonated for a £1 odd in Aldi, you cant go wrong, and fizz hit is pretty decent!


yeah it’s pretty good for that ‘quench’ relief effect, like opening up a can of pop/soda etc

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I do at least 3 litres a day, every day. :open_mouth:

That would have been a miracle this time last year.

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Amazing, well done! It’s something that I go through phases of doing, I find it really hard to consistently do it but I suppose when you get into the habit it’s easier. It’s just getting to that point!

Yay, I was hoping to get the maxnas seal of approval :star_struck:

When I’m really on it, I do become quite OCD with my water, sometimes this can be to the point of going for a pee, and then necking half a litre straight after coming out of the bathroom, and then continue with the same every 30 minutes or so!

Tend to do this usually the day before I know I’m weighing in on MVFIA groups…

I swear it helps flush water weight out… @maxnas - can you confirm this science?!

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Yep, it does indeed help to flush out water, but remember mate, that it is just water not fat

@maxnas what about if I drink white spirit, will that flush out fat? :slight_smile:

no, but you will die & after a few weeks you’re body will be RIPPED!

Plus you won’t have to go on a diet ever again… tada!

Basically you’ll be ripped & without having to diet

win/win :joy:

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The death diet… I am applying for the patent as we speak…


I second the votes for fizzy water. CO2 is delicious. Throw a bit of squash in there (blackcurrant by preference) and baby you’ve got a stew going.

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Deffo, it’s addictive, out of the fridge, or even with some ice in it and a few drops of real lemon juice / lime - complete healthy winner, just about converted the entire house away from Diet Cokes now…


I’m almost 2l down today - I took my own advice and added some squash and as a result this is the most water I’ve had for ages :laughing:

If you’re reading this and you haven’t had a glass yet - down it down it down it

RIP-ped! :smirk:

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Does anyone count their other drinks as part of their allowance? I always havent, certainly when logging it on MyFitnessPal, but just thinking now, I probably get through 4 big mugs of green tea, and 2 big mugs of chamomile tea every day, that’s almost another 3.5/4 litres on top of the all the water.

I don’t, purely because if I do I will just drink Pepsi Max and nothing else and although it might be contributing to my hydration levels I should really cut down on it.

It must count though because it’s all liquid, surely? You’d just have to be careful with any added calories (tho green & chamomile tea don’t have any)