Scientists have claimed that the recommendation that people drink eight glasses of water every day is excessive. They noted that the guidance which abides by a “one size fits all” policy, may result in 20million litres of water being wasted every day in the UK.
According to researchers, around half of our daily intake of water is from food meaning that scientists have concluded the recommended daily intake of water is between 1.3 and 1.8 litres instead of two.
Yosuke Yamada from the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition in Japan said: “The current recommendation is not supported scientifically at all.
“Most of the scientists are not sure where this recommendation came from.”
Previous studies on this issue used small sample sizes, so in a new study 90 scientists across the globe have collaborated to measure water turnover and therefore water intake.
The researchers assessed 5,604 individuals from 23 countries who were between eight days old and 96 years old.
The experiment saw the people drink a specific amount of water which contained deuterium, an element naturally found in the body.
They measured how quickly the element disappeared from the body and therefore how quick the water turnover in the body was.
The results were published in the Science journal which concluded that people in warmer climates, higher altitudes, athletes, pregnant and breastfeeding women need more water due to higher turnover.
Professor John Speakman clarified that turnover and requirement are not the same and “even if a male in his 20s has a water turnover of an average 4.2 litres per day, he does not need to drink 4.2 litres of water each day”.
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He continued: “About 15 percent of this value reflects surface water exchange and water produced from metabolism.
“The actual required water intake is around 3.6 litres per day. Since most foods also contain water, a substantial amount of water is provided just by eating.
“This study shows that the common suggestion that we should all be drinking eight glasses of water is probably too high for most people in most situations.”
The study comes after researchers suggested that actor and martial artist Bruce Lee died from drinking too much water.
In 1973, the actor died suddenly aged 32 from brain swelling, with the scientists from the recent study saying: “We hypothesize that Bruce Lee died from a specific form of kidney dysfunction: the inability to excrete enough water to maintain water homeostasis, which is mainly a tubular function.
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“This may lead to hyponatraemia, cerebral oedema, and death within hours if excess water intake is not matched by water excretion in urine, which is in line with the timeline of Lee’s demise.”
At the time, doctors ruled that Mr Lee’s brain swelling was caused by painkillers while other suggested he was assassinate by Chinese gangsters.
The co-author from the water turnover study Dale Schoeller said: “This work is the best we’ve done so far to measure how much water people actually consume on a daily basis.”
Food and drink like soup, tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, and fruit juice all counts towards an individual’s daily water intake.