Benefits of Drinking 5 Litres of Water a Day – How to

What’s the most important piece of health advice you’ve ever gotten? 

It might differ from the piece of advice you get the most - to drink more water. It seems we don’t discuss a single topic pertaining to our health without the reminder to drink plenty of water.

But how much do we really need? 

Is it better if we drink more, more, and more still? 

Take five litres, for instance - what are the benefits of drinking 5 litres of water a day? Wouldn’t it be better, more beneficial, than two litres?

benefits of drinking 5 litres of water a day

Today, we’re taking a deep dive into water. Is the amount we need being overhyped?

Are we chronically thirsty?

What kind of impact does a water obsession have on the health of the planet, as well as our bodies?

Is Dehydration an Epidemic?

For quite some time now, I have been researching what our optimal water intake truly is.

Unsurprisingly, no one agrees on this.

But what is intriguing is how wildly individuals in the health community disagree on water intake.  

For starters, we have this 2015 Harvard study. It examines more than 4,000 kids between the ages of 6 and 19. As it turns out, more than half are not adequately hydrated. Additionally, boys are approximately 75% more likely to not be well-hydrated.

How does it impact them?

Researchers say this can lead to poor cognition and school performance, as well as behavioral problems. 

On the opposite end, some healthcare professionals disagree with the study’s methodology. Other studies do indeed conclude that there is no reason to drink large quantities of water.

Why do they think hydration advocates got it all wrong?

They insist that the whole “eight glasses a day” (two litres) line is old, misunderstood bunk. Those guidelines apparently included the water we get from everyday foods. So you’re not supposed to drink nearly that much; a lot of it comes from your overall diet.

Let’s look at it from the perspective of how much water should you drink a day in ml (milliliters).

Eight glasses, or two litres, comes out to roughly 2,000 ml. Therefore, this guideline, whatever its origin or intention, is based intake on a standard daily intake of 2,000 calories. It averages out to about one ml per calorie.

As long as you get that, from maybe three glasses of fluid in addition to your food, you’re good.

Yet the suggestion that most people are “chronically dehydrated” persists. To be sure, this mostly catches the eye of people who are already conscious of their water intake.

As a result... they decide to drink even more water. 

This comes with risks, which I’ll tell you all about in just a few minutes. But what water skepticism and advocacy must consider is the individual.

That’s right, I’m going to suggest something radical, something beyond scientific consensus - everyone has different needs.

We need water to live. No matter who you are, you can’t survive without it. But the climate you live in, your size, your diet, your activity levels - it all matters when drinking water. 

Ultimately, if you want to know what the optimal amount of water to drink is, listen to your body. If you experience any of the following, it’s worth asking “How much water have I had today?”:

  • Your urine is dark.  Ideally, your urine will be a pale yellow. Any darker than this, and you need to hydrate. For example, the color gold definitely warrants an extra eight ounces, stat.  
  • You’re constipated.  There are many causes of constipation, and inadequate hydration is one of them.  
  • You have muscle cramps.  Hydration is crucial to electrolyte balance. If you sweat profusely and do not replace fluids, your body will ache.  
  • You have a headache. Water thins out our blood, therefore delivering less oxygen to the brain. Furthermore, our brains can actually shrivel a bit when we aren’t getting enough water, and this hurts. Hydrate. 

  • Your skin is dehydrated. Yes, not “dry”, “dehydrated”. Dry skin needs oil, but dehydrated skin needs water. It may be tight and flaky, just like dry skin, but you may also still be experiencing breakouts. 

  • You’re tired or having trouble concentrating. Mild dehydration, during which you might not even be thirsty, can affect your energy levels and moods. It might even impact your memory and attention. 

  • You're thirsty. Humans wouldn’t survive as a species if we didn’t know to drink water. The best, most reliable way to tell whether or not you need to drink more is if you feel you must.  

Drink Up: Water’s Best Benefits

In the end, how much water we drink all comes down to our individual needs. But what are the benefits of regularly meeting our needs, plus a little extra for good measure? 

If you’ve been skimping on water, but change your ways for the better, here’s what you might notice.

  • 1
    ​​More energy.  The very act of living and breathing costs our bodies water. When you turn up the intensity, you lose it faster. If you replace this water loss promptly, you’re less likely to experience fatigue.

    For example, it’s always a good idea to take a water break midway through a strenuous workout routine. You’ll finish off your session with less exhaustion, which may mean you keep better form and focus throughout.

  • 2

    Better skin.  Well, here’s the million-dollar question. Will drinking more water really help your skin look better? If you already get the right amount of water, a little more probably won’t make a difference.  

    However, if you’re lacking in the water department, you will see an improvement when you step it up. All cells need water, and we are nothing if not a huge collection of cells.

    Get enough water, and your skin won’t wrinkle as easily. Furthermore, staying hydrated improves circulation, and this allows your skin to repair itself faster. And yes, it can also give you a bit of a glow. 

  • 3
    Fewer headaches.​ Do you suffer from frequent headaches? The first thing you should do when you feel one coming on is drink eight ounces of water.
      Of course, not all headaches are due to low water intake. But even those with other causes can see a reduction in intensity and length with adequate water. Fluid often helps dilute blood and plump tissues, and this can reduce pain.  
  • 4
    Weight loss.  Recently, a friend was wondering how many liters of water a day to lose weight. She does moderate-intensity exercise daily, is known to skip breakfast, and lives in the hot, dry southwest. 

    At first, I wasn’t sure how to answer this. Water for weight loss - why? Are we replacing food with it? Definitely not. As it turns out, water is great for the metabolism, and can really help us burn more fat. 

    Not to mention, if you drink a big glass of water before a meal, you’ll probably eat less. Knowing all of this, I told her she could try drinking 3 litres a day weight loss.  

  • 5
    Shorter illnesses. As soon as you feel like you’re coming down with something, drink water. We hear this all of the time - why? 

    The real reason is that our bodies lose water when we have fever, inflammation, or other things going on internally. Additionally, illnesses like colds and flus can give us the sweats, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    When we get enough fluid, it’s easier for our bodies to recover, so we’re not out of commission as long. Water can also thin out mucus, helping ease congestion.

    Just be aware that drinking a ton of water won’t “flush” the illness out of your system. On the contrary, it can be stressful on your kidneys, which are already helping battle illness. 

Are You Drinking Too Much Water?

On the topic of kidneys, it’s important to know how much water is too much. If you’re not in a hot environment and/or very active, chances are, five liters is entirely too much. 

Maybe you’re not quite up to five liters, but how do you know when you’ve gone overboard?

Here are some of the signs of overhydration:

  • ​​Excessive urination. H​ow many times do you get up during the night to pee? Rest is so important, and too much water can actually interrupt our sleep.  

    Also, urinating constantly does the same thing dehydration does - deplete electrolytes. Therefore, you’re more likely to suffer muscle cramps. If you’re urinating more than six or seven times daily, cut back.  

  • Fatigue and stress.  H​ey, where’s all of that energy water was going to give you? It left when you overdid it. When your water intake is too much for your kidneys to handle, you can experience adrenal fatigue. 

    This can also prompt an increase in cortisol production, leading you to feel more stress.

  • ​​Swelling in extremities.  ​All of the above can actually make you retain water. It’s because you’re now very low on sodium, and your body is sending fluids to your hands, legs, or feet. 

    If this is a problem for you, drink a reasonable amount of coconut water - click for price. It contains naturally occurring electrolytes. 
  • ​​Headache. So, we know that hydrating the brain keeps it from shrinking, thus helping with headaches. But if you drink too much, this can cause swelling, which also hurts. 

    Above all, do not drink if you’re not at all thirsty. Forcing tons of water into a body that doesn’t exactly want it isn’t doing you much good. 

How Do You Take Your Water?

I love water, and find that two liters a day is just about my limit. But those of us who drink lots of water can be rather particular about what kind of water we drink.

Tap, filtered, spring, artisan.

Who would have ever thought that a certain kind of water would actually make us feel healthier...


even fancier?

However, when it comes down to it, we’re usually after one thing: taste. 

Typically, tap is off the table, thanks to excessive minerals (like iron), and other treatment byproducts that taste terrible. In some cases, it can even be bad for your long term health.

Knowing this, we start hitting the bottle. However, there are two problems with this. First, approximately a quarter of all bottled water is really just tap water from somewhere else.

Second, we have plastic. Not only are we drinking microplastics in the water itself, but we’re simply using way too much plastic in general.

Seriously, we discard 50 billion plastic water bottles annually. Well, thank goodness for recycling, right? Wrong. About three quarters of these bottles never meet a recycling center.

Plenty do end up in oceans, though. 

If this doesn’t give you pause, think about your wallet. Investing in a filtration system can save you thousands of dollars per year when used instead of buying bottles. 

Here’s what I recommend:

First, buy a refillable, BPA-free glass - click for price or plastic bottle - click for price, that will last the entire year. As another great feature, some of these help you measure how much water you’re drinking.

Next, start filtering your tap water. If you’re like me, you haven’t had much luck with pitchers. The filters may need to be changed frequently, which adds up financially. Also, some just don’t remove enough minerals and contaminants to improve the taste. 

In this case, you should think bigger. A stand-alone water filtration system with powerful, proven filters may be just the ticket. This system’s - click for price, filters are good for 3,000 gallons. Not to mention, it holds double the amount of your average filtering pitcher. 

​My final word on...

​Benefits of Drinking 5 Litres of Water a Day

As far as I can tell, there are no known benefits of drinking 5 litres of water a day. In fact, you could end up overhydrating yourself, which entails many of the same negative side effects dehydration does. 

That said, ​you should probably be drinking two liters daily. That’s only assuming you’re not drinking a lot of other fluids in addition to the water. 

If we don’t meet the two-liter goal, we’ll probably still be fine. But if you go too far below this, ​you can experience: 

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    ​​Persistent headaches
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    ​​Muscle aches and cramps 
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    ​​Dull, dehydrated skin 

When we replenish fluids regularly, we burn more fat, cut sickness and headaches down to size, and have more energy. 

But in the end, how much is “just right” is all up to you.

I want to know what you think. Do you feel like the push to drink a ton of water is all hype and pseudoscience?

What would you say are the benefits of drinking 5 litres of water a day?

What amount is right for you, and why? 

​Your answers to these questions are important to us!

​Please leave your answers in the comments below.

​Thank you and have a great day! 

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