The Right Amount: Water Intake and Urine Output

Water is undoubtedly the most important element of human life. It is one of the few things that our body cannot do without as approximately 60% of our body is made up of water. That being said, the importance of drinking adequate water has been stressed upon time and time again. Multiple rules and guidelines have been formulated for the mandatory water intake for humans.

One rule which is drilled into our brains is the ‘8x8 rule’ which means "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day." This rule is quite apt and easy to remember but there’s just one problem: it’s outdated and sort of misinterpreted. The Food and Nutrition Board in 1945 suggested that a person should consume one milliliter of water per each calorie of food consumed. Thus, an average diet of 1900 calories per day amounted to a total of 1900 milliliters (64 ounces) of water, thus giving rise to the ‘8x8 Rule.’ This theory completely rules out the fact that the body also gets its share of water from the fruits and vegetables that we consume.

Keeping in mind the changing lifestyles, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that the human body needs:

About 15 cups (3.7 liters) water/day for men.

About 11 cups (2.7 liters) water/day for women.

Nutritionist Venu Adhiya Hirani says that, "While the general belief is to drink eight to 10 glasses of water, it is advisable to drink 12 to 15 glasses of fluids which includes water, tea, buttermilk, soup, etc. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100 percent water by weight which also contributes to the water intake."

Note: Your body will always remind you when it needs water.

You can know if your water intake is adequate by the color of your urine. If your urine is colorless or light yellow, you can be assured that your body is adequately hydrated.

Speaking of urine, it is also important to know how much urine output is considered healthy and normal. An average person will urinate 6-7 times in a day but the frequency also varies from person to person. A person can urinate as less as 4 times in a day to as often as 10 times in a day. There’s no absolute whatsoever as it is heavily influenced by external factors like the weather, diet, intensity of physical exercise, health conditions, medications, etc. For eg: a diabetic person might pee a lot more compared to a normal person.

As long as you are happy with your urine output, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.

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