Water consumption rate

by Grant
(Chicago)

Hi, I was wondering if there was any guidance about how fast a person should consume water.

Would it matter if I always drank water by chugging 6-8 ounces at a time as long as I did it in spaced out intervals over the course of a day?

Is there a rate of consumption that allows my body to take in the most water and hydrate me in the most efficient way?

Thanks.

WBH response:

In general, must adults can utilize up to about 12 ounces at a time. Thus, I don't recommend chugging more than that at a time.

So if you are drinking 6 to 8 ounces at a time spread out throughout the day, you are on the right track.

You will get the best absorption if you drink the water a little more slowly (rather than chugging it), even swishing it in your mouth before swallowing.

Depending on your size and body weight, drinking 6 to 12 ounces at a time every 1 to 2 hours throughout the day would be ideal.

I think the most important time to drink water is first thing in the morning, before breakfast, since we are essentially on a water fast while we sleep.

Drinking clean water 30 to 60 minutes before each meal will help with digestion and getting the most nutrients from the food you eat. The rest of the water you drink can be in between meals.

I don’t recommend drinking water during meals because from my research and personal experience, I believe drinking a lot of fluids during a meal does dilute the digestive juices.

Ice cold water or other iced beverages also impair digestion, since the digestive process is a chemical process that generates heat to break down the food.

If someone has symptoms of chronic dehydration, I recommend drinking at least half his or her body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water. You can read more here about how much water to drink on a daily basis.

I have found that many people are concerned about drinking too much water, but the kidneys of most healthy adults can process close to 15 quarts of water a day.

Since most of us rarely drink more than 2 quarts a day, it is highly unlikely that we will ever experience water intoxication.

A significantly higher percentage of people will suffer from insufficient water intake rather than over consumption.

The danger of drinking too much water is not so much about how much water you drink, but how fast you drink it. For a good example of how drinking way too much water too fast (within an hour or two), check out our article on Drinking Too Much Water.

The bottom line is that it is better to consume small amounts of water throughout the day rather than trying to force large amounts of fluid at one time.

How much and how often depends a lot on your general health, size and weight, as well as your activity levels for the day and the climate.

Return to Questions about Water.


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