For most people yes. This blog is less than a 2 minute read and discusses how much and what types of fluid to consume each day.
Most of us have heard that the body has a high fluid content (about 60% of your total weight is fluid) and hence needs fluid to work effectively. Being well hydrated is particularly important for optimal blood pressure, heart rate and brain function. Signs of inadequate fluid intake or dehydration include dark urine, headaches, poor concentration and confusion. We need to take in fluid every day as it is naturally lost in urine, bowel motions, breathing and sweat.
How much fluid should I drink each day?
It depends on your weight and activity levels. We now know that to maintain body function it's probably less than the typical 6-8 glasses (1.5-2L) recommended per day. However, in hot climates and for those who are active this is probably a good starting point. We tend to get about 20% of our fluid from our foods. However, for those eating a lot of processed foods and not enough of the recommended fruit and vegetable intakes then I would recommend a higher intake of fluids (around the 1.8-2L/day depending on size and activity).
So what counts as fluid?
Anything that is fluid at room temperature (other than alcohol) can be counted as part of your fluid intake. Water is best but tea and coffee and other drinks like juice also count as fluid (they may also be contributing a lot of sugar so not as good for your teeth or waist line). Fruit, vegetables, dairy, soups and stews also significantly contribute to fluid intake (range from 50-90% content as fluid).
I thought coffee was a diuretic so why does it count towards my fluid intake?
A diuretic increases the amount of urine produced by the body. Water or any drink consumed in large amounts is a diuretic. The body adjusts to the caffeine contained in coffee (and some teas) after about 4 to 5 days. Therefore if you drink coffee regularly (e.g. 1-3 cups every day) it will contribute to your fluid intake (even more will count to your fluid intake but generally I recommend people having no more than 2-3 "real" coffees a day). If you don't drink coffee and then suddenly have a couple of coffees at once then this may have a diuretic effect.
So if I can count coffee as part of my fluid intake, what about alcohol?
No, alcohol does not count as part of your fluid intake. Alcohol is a true diuretic that your body cannot adjust to so it does have a dehydrating effect (hence the advice to have 1 or 2 non-alcoholic drinks for every one containing alcohol).
Take home message - is to consume a diet high in unprocessed foods (like vegetables and fruits), regularly consume fluid (water is best, but your couple of cups of tea and coffee also count- alcohol definitely does not count) and have more fluid in summer and when you are active. Aim for the equivalent of 6 cups a day or more so that you need to urinate every 2 or so hours and it is light yellow in colour.
For further information check out some of the research articles from A/Prof Ben Desbrow and his team