It is a myth that everyone needs to drink at least eight glasses of water a day for health. Individual water needs vary, but people get most of what they need from food and beverages. The Institute of Medicine determined that about 16 cups (4 quarts) of water from all sources—food, beverages, and drinking water—should meet the average American man’s needs. Contrary to popular belief, caffeinated and alcohol-containing beverages are not dehydrating and do count toward the daily total intake of fluids. To meet their needs, most people just need to drink additional water or beverages when thirsty.
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.