Q: Do I really need to drink a gallon of water each day?

A: Lately, some trainers and nutritionists have been promoting drinking a gallon, or 4 litres, of water per day. But, is that really how much you need? Maybe not.  

Our bodies require water, but they also require minerals, and our body works hard to try and balance our water to mineral ratios. If we drink too much water, the body excretes what it doesn’t need, but it can temporarily disrupt and lower our electrolyte balance, especially if we aren’t getting in enough minerals such as sodium, potassium, and more. Not to mention that it can be difficult for a truck driver to try and drink that much water while on the road, and without access to a washroom.

There’s no definitive amount of water you need to be drinking each day, as it varies based on your height, weight, age, activity level, environment, and other health factors. For example, a 250lb man who works out regularly in a hot environment will require more water (and electrolyte) than a 170lb man in a cool environment who is sedentary.

Aiming for roughly 2 litres of liquids (water, herbal tea, broth, or fresh juice) is a good start for most people, and you can add more or adjust from there based on how you feel and based on the factors listed above. Some people will feel great at 2 litres, and others will feel best at 3 litres. Notice how it’s not only about water? The other types of liquid I listed are rich in minerals, which will help to replace electrolytes and other minerals lost through sweat and other bodily functions!

So, don’t worry about drinking a gallon of plain water every day like you may have been told to do, it may not actually be right for your body. Sip water or other liquids throughout the entire day to stay consistently hydrated. As always, pay attention to how you feel when you consume certain things (and in certain amounts) and adjust from there.