How much water should you drink a day? The truth will shock you!

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How much water should you drink?
Are you fed up of reading conflicting advice about how much water we should be drinking every day?

Us too!

With a new report from Loughborough University showing that being dehydrated whilst performing everyday tasks like driving could lead to twice as many mistakes behind the wheel, we know that not drinking enough water can be a big problem.

However, other recent research has said that there's such a thing as too much water (it can apparently lead to excessive sweating, insomnia and even death) - so we decided it's high time to get to the bottom of it all and round up the facts straight from the NHS.

So how much SHOULD we be drinking then?

The NHS has detailed how much water we should be drinking on their website:

The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid and men should drink about 2.0 litres of fluid per day. That's about eight glasses of 200ml each for a woman, and 10 glasses of 200ml each for a man.

Yet although government guidelines say that we should all drink eight glasses of water a day, your size, the temperature and how active you are can all make a difference (so if you're exercising a lot on a hot day, you'll need to drink more).

You get about 20% of your water every day through food so a general rule is to drink 2 litres of water a day. This is the equivalent to a large bottle of fizzy drink or three-and-a-half pints.

If you're feeling thirsty you're already dehydrated so don't wait until you need a drink, sip small amounts throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated.

Do tea, coffee and fizzy drinks count?

You can get a certain amount of water from tea, coffee and fizzy drinks but they're all what's called diuretics - in other words they make you wee a lot more as well as increase the amount of water your body uses. Water is also much healthier for you - it has no calories or sugar which can damage your teeth.

And how much is everyone else drinking?

According to a study last year, out of 30,000 people less than one per cent drank eight glasses of pure water each day - the NHS recommended daily intake.

Kantar Worldpanel conducted the study into the drinking habits of 30,000 people as health officials try to deter people from only drinking tea, coffee and sugary drinks. The study found that six in ten people drank just one glass of tap water or bottled water, two in ten drank two, whilst only one in ten said they drank three.

We've rounded up the top 10 benefits to drinking lots of water - you won't believe how good it is for you!



According to the NHS, women need 1.6 litres and men 2 litres of fluid a day

1. Water helps with weight loss

Great news for anyone trying to lose a few pounds - water naturally reduces your appetite.

A lot of people confuse feeling thirsty with feeling hungry so they eat when their body wants them to drink something. When you're dehydrated, fat cells become harder to break down and so anyone actually trying to diet will find it a lot harder if they don't drink very much.

2. Water is a natural wrinkle-buster

According to a recent study, almost 1 in 5 women who drank 1.5 litres of water per day saw a reduction in wrinkles after 6 weeks without making any other changes to their diet.

As well as wrinkle-busting, it's said to give us sparkly eyes, clear our skin of spots and make us look glowing and healthy. But water has lots of benefits for your health too.

3. Water stops headaches and dizziness

Don't reach for the pills straight away, your headache could be a symptom of being dehydrated so drinking water should make it go away.

Even tension headaches and dizziness, which can be brought on by fatigue can be cured or helped by drinking water - this is because fatigue is also a sign of dehydration.

4. Water clears your skin

Most people know that drinking more water can be good for clear skin and it can also help the symptoms of acne.

If you've got dry skin, drinking water will give it more moisture but that's not all. Water flushes toxins out of your body and anything else that shouldn't be there so it clears your skin of any dirt and bacteria.

5. It fights infections

Drinking water can help fight infections all over your body, not only because it flushes out toxins but because when you're dehydrated you're more likely to catch a bug.

It's especially good for getting rid of and preventing urine infections and kidney stones.

Being well hydrated is also great for allergies and colds, because it clears the airways. Even cold sores can be reduced by drinking more water because they tend to pop up in places where your skin is particularly dry.

6. It keeps you regular

If you suffer from constipation or piles you might have been told to increase how much fibre you eat. This is definitely one way of getting rid of the problem but you'll need to drink more water for the fibre to work properly. Otherwise it could have the opposite effect and make you worse.

7. It makes you exercise better

It's common sense to replace the fluids you lose when you sweat with water, but what might not be obvious is that your body works better and harder during your workout if you drink water.

8. It improves concentration

Because your brain is made of around 85% water if you get dehydrated it can affect your concentration and even your short-term memory.

It has a particularly strong effect on your maths skills and it's all because lack of water causes your brain's energy levels to decrease.

9. It boosts your energy

In the same way that not drinking enough water makes your brain slow down it has the same effect on your body.

For example, your muscles are around 75% water, your bones are about 22% and your blood is around 83%.

If you're dehydrated, all these body parts don't work as well as they should meaning you lack energy and feel tired or lazy.

10. It supports your heart

The hardest working muscle of all needs a lot of water to keep it going at full speed.

When you get dehydrated your blood gets thicker so the heart has to work even harder. And if your heart is weak it can lead to more serious heart problems later in life.

A study by Eden found that drinking more than five glasses of water a day could cut your chances of having a heart attack by 41%, compared with people who drank less than two glasses a day.

If you're worried you're not drinking enough:

- Measure how much you're drinking for a few days to see if it's anywhere near the minimum amount
- Check your wee. If it's pale and clear then you're drinking a healthy amount. If it's dark yellow and cloudy you might be dehydrated or not drinking enough.

If after all this you're still getting thirsty a lot but going to the loo more, there might be an underlying problem, like diabetes, so speak to your doctor.

How do I get more water in my diet?

These five simple rules will help you get more water into your diet. And you don't even have to buy expensive bottled water so it's great for your wallet as well as your health.

1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
This will wake you up and help your body replace any fluid lost when you were sleeping. It'll also give you a headstart on your 2 litres.

2. Carry a small bottle of water around with you.
This will not only remind you to drink more but it's also an easy way of keeping track of how much you're drinking. If you fill it up from the tap you can reuse it as well - brilliant for the environment!

3. Add some flavour.
If you really can't stand the taste of water on its own try adding a small amount of fruit juice, sugar-free squash or a squeeze of lemon or lime. The lemon can even help with weight loss.

This is because its sour taste helps your liver get rid of toxins. Your liver plays a really important role in helping you lose weight and if it's full of toxins it doesn't do its job properly.

4. Set an alarm.
If you've got a watch that beeps on the hour it can be a good reminder. Every hour fill up a glass of water, or drink from your bottle, and make sure you finish the glass before the next hour. You could even set a reminder on your computer at work, or on your phone.

5. Eat water-rich foods.
This table shows you which foods have the highest level of water in them. This can also help you get your five-a-day.

Food% water


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I can easily drink 2litres a day in winter and in summer that can go upto 4 or 5 litres a day, as a bus driver it can be hard drinking enough and drinking to much as I cant always go to the loo as and when, but when im not working its easy enough, I'm always telling my wife and other family members if they have a headache its possible they haven't drank enough, yes it is possible to drink to much your blood literally becomes water down and you have the same symptoms as dehydration only thing is taking on more fluids will kill you (this happened a few years ago to good friend of mine lucky enough she didn't die).


I actually tried the water diet and it really was working for me. I only drank 1 liter of water because I REALLY don't like it. It doesn't matter if it's tap, filtered or bottled. I simply don't like it. I've tried all the tricks to make it taste better but nooo. I did like the weight loss though so I carried on. My biggest problem was that it interrupted my sleep. I had to pee at least 3 times during the night. I started drinking at 7a.m. up until 8p.m. I simply cannot drink it any faster and my job does not allow me to go to the bathroom whenever it pleases me. In order to get a good nights sleep and not disrupt my work I had to cut down to ½ a liter of water.


I literally used to drink maybe one glass of water a day and then live off tea and fizzy drinks (terrible, I know). Last month I developed a kidney infection that put me through a week of mild pain but then got so bad it was absolute agony and I got taken to A&E :') I would DEFINITELY recommend drinking 2+ litres of water a day before you develop an infection like I did, it's not worth it and there are so many other benefits to drinking more!


Hi Alyson, A week ago I would've totally agreed with you!However, the first few weeks that I started drinking 2 litres a day of water I broke out on my face quite badly :') But my face has completely cleared up now and is definitely better than before, so my theory is that the acne break outs are our skin clearing out all the bacteria and dead cells and bringing them to the surface (which causes the acne). Gotta get worse before it gets better right? Good luck! xx


Started drinking lots of water and eat fruits and veggies for the past 2 weeks and one thing that my officemates notice about me is my sparkling eyes. No kidding, they even thought that i am wearing a contact lense or put eye drops. I should continue drinking more water. :-)

Alyson Lowrie

I don't actually agree with the 'clearer skin' benefit. I was not drinking anywhere near enough water and I've recently started drinking more. Since I did, my skin has gone from slightly spotty to full blown acne.




can i over drink water in my body say stomach ill and i flood myself with water fiber rice bran fruit because unknown maybe lack of toilet.

Stephanie Hutcheon

I carry a 2 litre bottle with me everyday to work and its usually gone by 5.30pm. Then after my gym class I probably consume another 750ml, I don't touch fizzy pop or anything, has to be filtered water for me though, I can't drink tap water as I can really taste the difference!

Alyce Kakes

Reading this has helped me know that I have been doing something good for my body. I drink 8 oz of water a day.

IBPS Bank Awareness

I struggle with this. I know I need to drink more water and I don't think I get enough. Reading a lens like this one helps with motivation!

Laura Bilberry Eiben


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