We’ve all been told to drink a significant amount of water every day. Now, in a new study, researchers have claimed that drinking eight glasses a day is probably too much.
The new study is published in the journal Science and titled ‘Variation in human water turnover associated with environmental and lifestyle factors’. It highlights how water needs for human consumption can become more difficult to manage as changes occur in the Earth’s climate and human population.
The study was conducted on more than 5,600 people of all ages from 26 countries around the world. Researchers gave participants 100 milliliters of water enriched with five percent “dual labeled water,” a type of water in which some of the hydrogen molecules have been replaced by a stable isotope of the element deuterium. It is completely safe and occurs naturally in the human body. The rate at which the excess deuterium is eliminated shows how quickly the body changes its water. A higher water turnover usually requires more water consumption.
Men ages 20 to 30 and women ages 20 to 55 had the highest water turnover, declining after age 40 for men and after age 65 for women. Of all the water in their bodies, newborns had the highest water turnover rate, replacing nearly 28 percent each day. Men drink about half a liter more water per day than women under comparable circumstances.
“The current study clearly indicates that one size does not fit all for drinking water guidelines, and the common suggestion that we should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is not supported by objective evidence,” the researchers said.
Individuals in developed countries who led sedentary lifestyles in climate-controlled indoor environments had lower water turnover than people in poor countries who worked as manual laborers or hunter-gatherers.
Responding to the study, the researchers further noted, “Improved guidelines are increasingly important due to the explosive population growth and climate change the world is currently experiencing, which will affect the availability of water for human consumption.”
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