Amy Marturana share with S.E.L.F. Magazine that you’ve probably heard you’re supposed to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. That’s almost enough to fill a 2 liter bottle—which even the most diligent water-drinkers may find daunting. But the classic advice is not the end-all-be-all of water intake. In fact, it’s pretty misleading.
“Fluid requirements vary among individuals based on age, sex, activity level, and even where you live,” Jessica Fishman Levinson, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., founder of nutrition counseling company Nutritioulicious tells SELF. Your personal fluid requirements also can vary each day, depending on the other things you’re doing, eating, and drinking.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get 2.7 liters—that’s 11 cups—of water per day. Note, they don’t say you need to drink 11 cups of water a day. That includes all sources of water—from a basic glass of tap, to a cup of coffee, to the water content of the foods you eat (which, the IOM estimates, makes up about one-fifth of your daily fluid intake). If you listen to your body—drink when you’re thirsty, eat when you’re hungry—chances are you’re going to get what you need, or pretty close to it. So stop sweating the eight glasses a day hubbub and think about it this way instead:
All fluids count toward your daily intake, not just plain old H20.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the benchmark should really say “eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid,” not water, because drinking things like milk, tea, and juice contribute to your total. “Good options for hydration without added calories are waters infused with fruit and herbs, unsweetened tea, and sparkling water,” Levinson says.