While experts have often stated caffeine-based drinks dehydrate the body, new research suggests otherwise.
According to a team of scientists, the ‘eight glasses of water a day’ rule is misleading and drinks such as tea and coffee can hydrate the body just as well as water.
Researchers from La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia, claim that although our bodies need around two litres of fluid a day, this intake can come from sources apart from water.
“We should be telling people that beverages like tea and coffee contribute to a person’s fluid needs and, despite their caffeine content, do not lead to dehydration,” explains Dr Spero Tsindos in a statement.
In fact, fluids can also be obtained through foods such as lettuce (which is 97% water) as opposed to a ‘trendy’ bottle of water.
"Thirty years ago, you didn't see a plastic water bottle anywhere – now they appear as fashion accessories,” says Dr Tsindos.
"If you ate 100g of lettuce you've consumed 97g of fluid. If you think about it a cup is 250ml. If you eat two 100g bunches of lettuce you've consumed nearly a cup of water.
Dr Tsindos debunked the notion that water helps you lose weight in a report published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
"Drinking large amounts of water does not alone cause weight loss. A low–calorie diet is also required. Research has also revealed that water in food eaten has a greater benefit in weight reduction than avoiding foods altogether," Dr Tsindos said.
This research follows a separate study by Pennsylvania University, which found no real evidence that drinking eight glasses of water a day improved skin tone, weight-loss or headaches (except those induced by a hangover).
"Water is important for health, but the recommendation of eight glasses of pure water a day appears an overestimation of requirements," adds Dr Tsindos.
Keep your body hydrated with these clever ways to incorporate water into your diet...
Steer clear of caffeinated drinks when possible, as the caffeine tends to counteract the water benefits as it dries out moisture. If you need to get your hot drink fix, opt for herbal teas instead. Green tea is great for its antioxidants and cleansing, and chamomile tea is a lovely calming drink. If you don't fancy them hot, chill them in the fridge and enjoy them cold.
Get your vegetable intake as well as water with a glass of tangy tomato juice. Tomatoes contain a high level of water, so making these into a juice is an ideal way to get some water into your everyday diet, as well as one of your five-a-day.
Soups are predominately water-based, so in the winter months, use this as an excuse to eat lots of hearty soups and stews.
If you find plain water boring to drink, spruce it up with a slice of lemon or lime (or both). This will add subtle citrus flavour to your drink without involving any added sugar or nasties.
Instead of drinking water, you can eat it instead. Opt for water-based fruits, such as watermelon and cranberries. Watermelon is 90% water and is also packed with other essential nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin A.