How much water per day is really healthy?
In all counselors, on the Internet and in magazines is always read the note that we should all drink a lot more. Drinking a lot promotes good health, is one of the main arguments. But how much should we really drink? And what determines when we drink? Is the constant sipping a way out? Or should we simply trust in our thirst? This article gives some answers by experts.
How much water does the human body need?
By transpiration and metabolic processes, the person excretes daily about 2.5 liters of water, which must be compensated by the fluid intake by eating and drinking again. An adult should drink about 1.5 liters a day. The remaining liquid is taken with the food.
The fluid house plays an important role in the human body. Not least because the body consists of about 60 percent water, the brain even to 80 percent. “In the body, water is needed as a solvent, transport and excretory agent,” explains Susann-Cathérine Ruprecht, spokeswoman for the German Institute for Nutrition Research (DIfE) in Potsdam. If the person drinks too little, the fluid balance comes into imbalance and certain processes, such as the supply of sodium, are disturbed in their processes. “From about three percent fluid loss, the physical and mental performance is impaired,” reports Ruprecht.
It may cause discomfort such as dry mouth and thick saliva, loss of appetite, constipation, fatigue and fatigue. Confusion and mental deficits can also be the result.
If you drink too little, you also excrete less urine than usual. In addition, this is darker colored. A healthy person should excrete about half a liter of urine a day. To determine whether the body is supplied with sufficient fluid, a skin fold on the arm can be easily pulled up. If it stops briefly after releasing it, this is an indication of lack of fluid. With sufficient fluid supply, it would immediately pass again.
Thirst should decide about drinking behavior
“When the body has lost half a percent of water, our feeling of thirst is felt,” says Ruprecht. The feeling of thirst should not be ignored but in any case be satisfied. A glass of water is often enough already. Antje Gahl from the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) in Bonn points out that the most important thing is “that most drinks are low in energy”. Accordingly, they should have little or better no sugar. Especially suitable is mineral water, but also unsweetened teas and diluted fruit juices are recommended by experts.
Does coffee remove fluid from the body?
Contrary to rumors, drinking caffeinated coffee and tea is not unhealthy for healthy people as long as the caffeine is well tolerated. Neither coffee nor tea extract water from the body.
Sweetened sodas are less suitable than thirst quenchers because they are very high in calories. Incidentally, the same applies to fruit juices, which contain not only plenty of vitamins but also calories. Blended with water, fruit juices as Schorle in moderation but well suited to quench the thirst. With milk restraint is necessary, because a glass of milk corresponds to a small meal. Alcoholic drinks are not suitable for thirst quenching. “At most half a liter of beer for a male adult, that’s barely acceptable,” advises Gahl. For women, about half of the amount applies.
Drink evenly throughout the day
The nutritionist recommends that you keep an even amount of fluid throughout the day. If you drink a lot at once, you can not create a fluid depot in the body, because it excretes the amount that it can not consume.
Anyone who pauses for a long time or only consumes very little liquid can not immediately compensate for the lack of fluid with a larger amount of water. “A large fluid loss can not be compensated in the short term,” explains Ruprecht.
Nevertheless, experts advise against overly strict drinking rules. “Drinking is such an essential mechanism, but you do not need any rules,” says Uwe Knop, author of the book Hunger & Lust. In his opinion, a healthy person needs “no drinking alarm or the like, you can just drink to feel”.
A feeling of thirst subsides in old age: fluid requirements remain almost the same
“In old age, the thirst often diminishes,” says Gahl. “The need is there but actually.” Dehydration is particularly dangerous for the elderly and for infants and toddlers. In case of doubt, medical advice should be sought. Even people who are on a diet, should pay attention to a sufficient hydration. If the food is reduced, the body also lacks the water contained in it.
Who drives a lot of sports, has an increased fluid requirement. Nevertheless, especially during physical exertion the thirst is often ignored. “It is a well-known problem that people often drank too little in sports situations,” confirms Professor Daniel König from the Institute for Sports and Sports Science at the University of Freiburg. He considers a strict drinking control but also for athletes unnecessary. “The recommendation that athletes should constantly watch the color of their urine, I think is exaggerated.”
From a duration of one hour should be paid to a reasonable amount of drink during exercise, advises the sports physician. There is no danger of dehydration in healthy people when exercising for 20 minutes.
A health risk nobody takes, who drinks too much. In it, the experts agree. “The body can process ten liters a day without any problems,” explains Gahl. Very rare deaths from overhydration are known only to king of extreme sports events: “The body then loses, among other things by drinking too much sodium.”