Monday, December 24, 2001 - Nutrition
Water Intake

- By: John Berardi

Adequate water is an important part of any athletic regimen but it is often neglected. How much water is needed is a controversial topic in the popular literature. Let's look to the science.

When looking at the research, there is a recent paper in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association (Volume 99, number 2, pages 200-206, 1999) that discusses water needs. In this paper, the author states that:

"To be well hydrated, the average sedentary adult man must consume at least 2,900 mL (12 c) fluid per day, and the average sedentary adult woman at least 2,200 mL (9 c) fluid per day, in the form of noncaffeinated, nonalcoholic beverages, soups, and foods. Solid foods contribute approximately 1,000 mL (4 c) water, with an additional 250 mL (1 c) coming from the water of oxidation."

The authors also state that "Dehydration of as little as 2% loss of body weight results in impaired physiological and performance responses."

So it appears that in sedentary individuals the equivalent of about 12 cups of water per day are necessary (4 cups come from food, 1 cup from metabolism, and 7 cups from fluid intake). In fact, a few correlational studies have shown that individuals consuming this amount of water per day are less likely to suffer from:

  • urinary stone disease