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  • Maddy Belaustegui


Many people overestimate their intake of water and other fluids. Dietitians often have nutrition clients who say "oh, I drinks tons of water!" However, you may be surprised to learn that you are likely not drinking enough. Dehydration can cause brain fog, dizziness, fatigue, and a host of more serious symptoms. Water is the most abundant compound in your body; make sure you have enough of it! Here are the current recommendations for non- active people, or most Americans:

  • Women should drink 2.7 L (91 oz) of water/day.

  • Men should drink 3.7 L (125 oz) of water/day.

To put this in perspective, consider a standard 16 oz disposable water bottle. For women, that is 5 1/2 water bottles per day and for men it is 7 1/2 water bottles per day. Now remember, your hydration needs are higher when you are active - either through exercise or if you have job in which you are on your feet a lot or do manual labor. Needs are also higher in hot and humid conditions. If you are an athlete, you should be drinking water before, during, and after exercise IN ADDITION to the baseline requirement listed above.

Here are a couple techniques to help you increase your intake of water and other fluids throughout the day:

  1. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. In the car, in your purse or backpack, while running errands, and to work and school. Choose a water bottle that you like. Do you like to drink from a straw? Do you like your water to stay insulated and really cold? Consider these things when choosing a bottle.

  2. You can get fluids from other sources besides just plain water. Choose fruits and vegetables with high water content, like watermelon, cucumbers, berries, pineapple, and melon. Try vegetable and fruit juices without added sweeteners, hot and cold unsweetened teas, cow's, almond, oat, and coconut milk, seltzer/sparkling water, smoothies, and soup. Trying adding flavor packets like Crystal Light to your water to make it more appealing.

  3. Buy a pitcher or infuser and try flavoring your water with fresh fruit. Slice lemons, limes, oranges, and/or cucumber and add them to the pitcher for great natural flavors.

  4. Have a glass of water first thing in the morning, when you wake up, before you have your morning coffee.

  5. Use the color of your pee as a guide. It should be a pale yellow color. If it is a dark yellow or brownish you need to hydrate!!

** If you have been advised to restrict fluid intake based on a medical condition or medication, consult your doctor or dietitian on the above recommendations.**


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics A.N.A. Nutrition Care Manual; 2005.

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