How much water should you drink? Dr Mosley gives surprising answer – ‘no need to go mad’
Michael Mosley discusses health benefits of drinking water
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In his ‘Drink Water’ episode, Dr Mosley tried to settle once and for all how much water you need. He looked at the conflicting advice and offered the exact number of glasses to keep you hydrated. He also explained the science and potential danger behind drinking too much on the BBC Radio 4 podcast.
“It’s lunchtime and I’m about to do just one thing that can boost my concentration, increase my energy levels and keep my skin healthy,” Dr Mosley started the episode.
He said: “We all know how important water is. But there are many confusing messages about how much you should be drinking.
“Some of us are trained to drink litres and litres. Others just stick to tea, coffee and soft drinks.”
The advice on what’s the right amount to keep you hydrated can be conflicting, but the doctor offered the answer.
READ MORE: How to get stronger without moving a muscle – ‘It really is incredible’ says Dr Mosley
You might have heard that eight glasses of water a day is the right number, but Dr Mosley said there’s no research backing this.
Dr Mosley said: “For most of us all we need to do is have a glass of water with every meal.
“If you love water, feel free, but there really is no need to go mad.”
The European guideline for drinking water states to aim for around two litres per day for men and 1.6 litres per day for women.
Our body is made up of 60 percent of water, but when it comes to our brain the number climbs up to 90 percent.
“Keeping properly hydrated can make a big difference to our brains, physical performance and overall health,” the doctor added.
Drinking plenty of water is golden advice when it comes to your health.
So, it’s no surprise water can be beneficial for many things including hydrating our skin, digesting food, flushing out waste and more.
The doctor warned that “even mild dehydration”, which translates into losing one to two percent of our body’s water can impair your cognitive function.
This episode’s guest expert Stuart Galloway, who is professor in Exercise Physiology from the University of Stirling, said that feeling thirsty is already signalling that you’re down about one to two percent.
He said: “Because we’re constantly losing fluid throughout the day through breathing, sweating, urine losses.
“We need to replace that with water that we obtained from drinks and from our foods.”
If you don’t drink enough you can end up with a water deficit, affecting your physical and mental performance. But drinking too much can also be harmful.
Professor Galloway explained that research shows over ingesting water can lead to a condition called hyponatremia – a low serum sodium concentration – that can cause complications or “death in extreme cases”.
How do I know if I’m drinking enough?
Apart from staying within the set guidelines, listening to your body can also help.
Galloway added: “I think it’s probably better to gauge whether you’re having too much by how many times you need to go for a wee during the day.
“If you’re going five or six times per day or maybe up to seven times per day, then you’re probably drinking the right amount of fluid.”
Anything less can signal that you’re probably not drinking enough and anything more could mean you’re drinking too much.
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