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March 17, 2017
Water... Our liquid friend!

Hello! Yesterday we had a conversation here at Kitchen Lab about how much water people should drink on a daily basis.  I think that everyone has wondered about this subject at one time or another so I met up with my nutritionist Christo in order for him to answer all of my basic questions around how many glasses of water we need to drink every day!

I’d like to start off by confirming or debunking some of the “myths” around water and carry on with more details after.

ARGUMENT

RIGHT/ WRONG

You definitely need 2 liters of water in liquid form per day.

      W

You can consume water from other sources such as fruit, vegetables or beverages.

      R

Vegetables that are high in carbohydrates have a larger content of water.

      W

You need to consume the same amount of water during each season.

      W

 

Undoubtedly water is the basic chemical substance in the human body. It is very abundant within us. 60% of the total body weight in adults is made up of water. So basically a human being of average body weight (70 kilos – 154 pounds) is made up of 40 liters of body water.

Did you know that the human organism has the capacity to survive up to 90 days without food but cannot survive for more than 3-5 days without drinking water? Christo explained that this happens because water is the most important and basic solvent and transporter of many nutritional ingredients to the organism’s cells! Of course as we grow older, the water in the human body decreases and unfortunately the body fat increases.

I learned that the largest quantity of daily water consumption is made through various beverages as well as through the liquids contained in foods. A small amount of water is also created within the human body from various metabolic reactions.

FOOD

CONTENT OF WATER

COMMENTS

FRUIT

75-92%

Mainly watermelon, strawberries, grapes, pears and less in bananas or apples.

LOW CARB VEGETABLES

90-96%

Mainly lettuce, celery, zucchini and less in high carb (starchy).

DAIRY PRODUCTS

40-90%

Mainly milk and yogurt contain close to 90%,

Ice cream close to 60%, whereas cheese is lower than 40%.

MEAT/ CHICKEN/FISH

60 -70%

Mainly the most lean in each category.

For instance the Turbot fish contains 79% water, whereas beef burgers contain 63%.

 

So, we come to the conclusion that the adequate daily water intake is about 2-2 /2 liters or 8-10 glasses of water for a healthy adult. However, this amount changes according to the age and gender as you will see in the chart below!

Age group

Recommended daily intake (liters)

Babies (0-12μηνών)

0,8

Children (1-3 ετών)

1,3

Children (4-8 ετών)

1,7

Boys (9-13 ετών)

2,4

Girls (9-13 ετών)

2,1

Boys (14-18 ετών)

3,3

Girls (14-18 ετών)

2,3

Men (> 19 ετών)

3,7

Women (> 19 ετών)

2,7

Source: Institute of Medicine (2002)

Naturally, my nutritionist also added that according to the latest instructions given by the European Union, it is described that the amount of 2 2/2 liters of water per day for men and 2 liters for women is acceptable. He also told me that if someone drinks milk, juices, coffee or tea and consumes fruit and vegetables, then it is more likely for them to reach the recommended daily intake by drinking 1 liter of water since they are hydrated effectively.

Let’s not forget that we lose water daily through sweat and urine. A person’s daily needs change, depending on the intensity of their physical activity (for example, running) or environmental conditions (for example, during the summer there is a higher risk of dehydration than during the winter).

Since the subject of dehydration came up, I’d like to tell you a few things about it. Dehydration makes us feel sick. We can’t concentrate easily and we don’t feel like or find it hard to do our basic daily activities throughout the day. Our mouth is dry and we could possibly experience dizziness.

But why so much discussion about how much water we need to drink? What are its benefits?? I asked my nutritionist and he smiled and said… “Water is the gift of life and the benefits of being adequately hydrated are many and extend to the maintaining of normal cell functions all the way up to improving the skins appearance by maintaining its elasticity.”

According to researches, the adequate intake of water throughout the whole day, occasionally, is thought to help the upkeep of natural body weight as well as in assisting in weight loss. The proper intake of water ensures that our body can produce enough energy and stay healthy. Also, if we consume cold water, then our body burns calories in order to bring it back to body temperature!

What I understood from all of this is that we should all trust in our feeling of thirst. So if there are days during the winter when we don’t work out and don’t feel thirsty, it is most likely that we don’t need the full 2 liters of water. While during pregnancy or strenuous exercise with elevated sweat levels, the feeling of thirst will guide us to consuming larger quantities of liquids than the recommended 8 glasses per day.

I hope I was able to solve some of your basic questions and have offered you a chance to learn about how much water you need to consume daily!

Akis

This article was written along with Kitchen Lab’s Dietician/Nutritionist Christo Papavaggeli

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