There’s a new battlefield where opinions rage and lines have been drawn, but instead of blood being spilled people are sacrificing a different life-blood: water. The great debates over the benefits of drinking water, what is the right amount to drink, and how much is too much/too little has risen up and crashed down on many people like a surging tidal wave. This “water war” might seem silly at first, but there also appears to be two sides on the extreme ends of the argument, with a lot of us easier-going folks wondering what all the fuss is about in the quiet middle.
If you’re one of those people who is constantly sipping on a fancy (and probably expensive) reusable water bottle, you likely believe that you should drink a gallon of water a day. On the other hand, many of us don’t drink enough water in a day’s time. The majority of people probably don’t even know how many bottles of water are in a gallon, let alone adhere to a strict hydration schedule.
The benefits of staying hydrated are no secret: healthier skin, more energy, greater blood flow and cardiovascular health, increased mental alacrity, stronger muscle tissues and healthier joints… the list is long enough to fill multiple gallon jugs.
Can drinking a gallon of water a day be harmful? What are the benefits of drinking water? Should you drink a gallon of water a day? Why all the fuss about the health benefits of staying hydrated when this is obviously something we all need to do?!
These questions and more will be addressed in this sweeping review of this most crucial of societal issues. Let the water balloons fly!
STAYING HYDRATED: BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER
Before we determine how much water is ideal, we need to hone in on why water is good for you. The benefits of staying hydrated are fairly well known, but not everybody is aware of the sheer scope of the benefits of drinking water.
Life on this planet cannot exist without water so it’s obvious how essential H2O is. You might understand that drinking enough water each day can help to prevent digestive issues or keep you feeling awake, refreshed and energized.
But did you know that drinking a gallon of water a day can support your vital organs? Were you aware that the benefits of staying hydrated extend to normalizing bowel movements, can stabilize your heartbeat and even ease sore joints?!
The benefits of drinking water are well documented and are becoming increasingly apparent to many people. Just in case you’re a little behind on the river of information about staying hydrated, here are the top 15 benefits of staying hydrated:
#1) Proper hydration can reduce the risks of kidney damage/failure
#2) Drinking a gallon of water a day can support healthy weight management
#3) Sufficient water can ease the symptoms of a hangover, dehydration and other maladies
#4) Staying hydrated can improve your workout/sports performance
#5) Drinking water helps to regulate your body temperature
#6) Hydration helps to maintain a healthy digestive system
#7) H2O helps your body to flush wastes, toxins, etc
#8) Water is actually important for breathing
#9) Drinking a gallon of water a day lubricates joints and aids in muscle building
#10) Proper hydration leads to healthy looking skin & hair
#11) The benefits of drinking water include making nutrients & essential minerals available
#12) H2O assists in balancing blood pressure
#13) Drinking water aids in the production of saliva, mucus and other important bodily fluids
#14) H2O actually protects and cushions the brain, spinal cord and more
#15) Staying hydrated can support optimal oxygen throughout the brain & body
DRINKING A GALLON OF WATER A DAY
Now that we’re all acquainted with the benefits of drinking water we need to come to an agreement on how much H2O is ideal. This is where the debate heats up and tensions can boil over. Do you believe you should drink a gallon of water everyday? Or maybe you sit squarely in the “drink what you need, when you need it” camp?
Hopefully you’re not one of those types who’d reply “Water? For drinking?!” because there are many negative health ramifications if you don’t stay hydrated consistently. We’ll touch on the potentially detrimental effects of dehydration in the conclusion of this article. For now, let’s put on our lab coats and determine the right amount of water you should be drinking.
Have you ever wondered ‘how many bottles of water are in a gallon’? Well, if you’ve ever heard that old saying “8 glasses of water a day keeps the doctor away”, then you already know the answer. Roughly eight 16oz bottles of water make up one gallon of H2O. The former standard for hydration was 8 x 8oz glasses of water, but you’ll notice by the new standard that it’s doubled to 8 x 16oz glasses/bottles of water.
This might sound like a lot, but when you commit to drinking water throughout the day then drinking a gallon of water a day becomes a lot more manageable. According to the Mayo Clinic in a study published in 2020, the average male should consume 3.7 liters (that’s 1 gallon) whereas women require a bit less with 2.7 liters of water per day.
Why do men require more water than women? These are simply generalized figures, but on average men expend more energy or might have a higher output of energy than women, therefore their water intake levels would be elevated. These standardizations should not be followed as gospel, however – every individual has unique fitness, diets, physical and mental health parameters, so always drink water as befits your health/lifestyle.
If you’re curious about if you should drink a gallon of water a day, here are some of the most well documented health benefits of staying hydrated with the magic number of 3.7 liters each day:
Sufficient Hydration Can Boost Performance
Body functionality may seem intrinsically linked to what kind of nutrition you consume, but what you drink also has a lot to do with how physically fit you can be. Staying hydrated maintains lubrication in your muscles & joints, helps your muscle elasticity, and can help to keep oxygen flowing throughout your body when you need it most. Drinking a gallon of water during high-intensity training, sports or at the gym can ensure your body stays at peak performance.
Water Can Balance Your Bodily Fluids
If you don’t drink enough water each day your body can slip into a state of dehydration, which has a host of negative symptoms such as dry mouth, tiredness and even irritation in your airways. It’s imperative that you keep your bodily fluids balanced because they are constantly being used up throughout your busy day. Blood circulation, mucus, saliva, sweat and numerous vital organ fluids need to be replenished throughout the day. Drinking a gallon of water a day will certainly help to manage healthy fluid levels.
Hydration Helps With Weight Management
Although the term “water weight” gets thrown around a lot these days, drinking water doesn’t actually help you to shed unwanted pounds. Proper hydration can, however, help you to stave off food cravings and potentially avoid those extra helpings at lunch/dinner that might be contributing to your weight. Dehydration can trick your body into thinking it’s hungry in addition to being thirsty, so staying hydrated is not only important for your health but also your figure.
Drinking Water Can Improve Skin Health
Your skin, hair and nails are often the first areas of your body to exhibit dryness, irritation or even pain from dehydration. It takes a lot of water for our bodies to run optimally, especially when it comes to your skin. Drinking a gallon of water a day can contribute to stronger skin, more pliable skin, less wrinkles or signs of aging, much less dryness and reduced irritation. Next time you see someone drinking water from one of the giant reusable water bottles, pay attention to their skin and we’re sure you’ll be impressed by how healthy they look.
Stay Energized With H2O
If you have ever felt the debilitating effects of being dehydrated then you understand the importance of drinking water for your energy levels. Many of us chase the day with numerous cups of coffee or tea, but when you get right down to it all you need is high-quality H2O. Some studies have begun to suggest that drinking a gallon of water a day can help to curb the symptoms of dehydration but also improve your mental alacrity & physical alertness. There’s no substitute for sleep, and you need to make sure you’re being physically active and getting enough nutrition each day, but perhaps our lack of energy stems from not drinking enough water?
CAN DRINKING A GALLON OF WATER A DAY BE HARMFUL?
Whenever someone is wondering if they should drink a gallon of water a day, the question almost always comes up: Can drinking a gallon of water a day be harmful?!
It’s almost negligible to consider “can you drink too much water” because our bodies are roughly 55-60% made up of this vital resource. Sure, you can consume so much water that much of it can become wasted, or you run the risk of causing damage to some vital organs, but the amounts of water you’d have to consume are almost unfathomable and therefore unachievable. So, the short answer to the question of can drinking a gallon of water a day be harmful is: No. Nevertheless, there are a few important caveats to consider.
For starters, you need to be careful where your water comes from as much as you are careful to monitor how much you’re drinking. Tap water, bottled water, public drinking water from fountains and the like are almost always safe to consume. However, be sure to check on the status of water sources in your area as bacteria, particulates and other dangers can seep into your local water source. Another consideration for water quality is to understand how many chemical agents or what kind of treatments are used to filter/clean the water you’re drinking. Are you comfortable consuming large volumes of fluoride-treated water? What about chlorine? Make sure you weigh your options carefully and considerately.
Another important thing to make note of is the timing of your water drinking, or hydration schedule. When you drink water can drastically impact your health in numerous ways – drinking too much water before bed can interrupt your sleep, whereas a couple glasses of water in the morning might actually perk you up and help you to avoid relying on caffeine. It’s imperative that you stay hydrated throughout the day, but timing your hydration before busy hours of the day – such as before a presentation or meeting, during a workout or after vigorously cooking a big meal – can help you to get the most out of your daily hydration.
Thirdly, there’s the issue of the costs of staying hydrated. Even though many cities, towns and such have free access to clean, drinkable water through public works there are still many people who avoid drinking enough water throughout the day because of the costs of bottled water. In the same vein, there are those people who find water to be bland/boring, and therefore choose to spend their money on electrolyte drinks or other flavor-enhanced beverages. These kinds of drinks can certainly be of benefit, but nothing beats the simple purity of a fresh glass/bottle of clean water. Try to invest a healthy amount of time, energy and money into choosing your favorite source for water because the benefits of staying hydrated cannot be discounted.
Is it healthy to drink a gallon of water a day?
The majority of people can drink a gallon of water or more each day and not encounter any negative health effects. However, some individuals who suffer from debilitating conditions like kidney disease, liver disease or congestive heart failure can be at risk of harm from too much hydration. That being said, for most people the health benefits of staying hydrated are paramount, so drinking a gallon of water a day is not only acceptable, it is recommended.
Can drinking a gallon of water a day make you gain weight?
In some cases, drinking a gallon of water a day or more can impact your body weight. Consistent hydration can and typically will increase your weight for a 24 hour period, but your body is constantly processing the water we drink. Therefore, your body will cycle through the water you consume, but it may register on the scale. So, try not to be concerned with your weight if you’re staying hydrated – instead focus on how the food you’re eating or activity levels might be influencing your weight.
Is it good to drink water before bed?
Staying hydrated is certainly important and can’t be overlooked, but when it comes to winding down for sleep you need to be careful how much water you drink. Many people wonder if drinking a gallon of water a day can be harmful, especially before bedtime. Drinking too much fluids before you go to sleep can lead to interrupted rest due to frequent urination. This disrupted sleep cycle can lead to fatigue, soreness or stiffness from lack of sleep. So, a glass or two 1-2 hours before bed won’t tip the scales too far, but always be cognizant of how much water you’re drinking leading up to bedtime.