Drinking 2 litres (about 68 ounces) of water per day can provide several health benefits. Here are some quick answers about what happens when you make a habit of drinking this amount of water daily:
- You stay better hydrated which improves physical and mental performance.
- It supports kidney function and helps prevent kidney stones.
- It aids digestion and prevents constipation.
- It helps maintain normal bowel movements.
- It can help with weight loss and appetite control.
- It keeps skin looking healthy and radiant.
One of the main benefits of drinking 2 litres of water per day is staying well hydrated. Water makes up about 60% of the human adult body, and every system depends on water to function properly. When you are dehydrated, it negatively affects physical and mental performance. Some symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headache, dizziness, and problems concentrating.
Drinking enough water ensures your body has the fluid it needs to transport nutrients, remove waste, regulate temperature, lubricate joints, and perform many other essential functions. Proper hydration keeps all systems working optimally.
Studies show that being just 2% dehydrated can negatively impact physical performance and endurance. When working out, muscles use water and electrolytes. If you are dehydrated, you are more prone to muscle cramps. Drinking 2 litres of water daily helps keep muscles fueled for better performance during exercise and sports.
Dehydration can also lead to problems concentrating, headaches, tiredness, and poor memory recall. Water is needed for proper brain function. Your brain is about 75% water. When hydrated, brain cells fire faster and you think more clearly. A 2% drop in hydration can negatively affect concentration, alertness, and short-term memory.
Water helps regulate body temperature. As you get dehydrated, you are more prone to overheating. Water transports thermal energy and helps cool the body through sweating and respiration. Staying hydrated with 2 litres of water daily helps the body better regulate temperature in hot weather.
The kidneys play a vital role in the body’s detoxification process and filtering waste. They depend on water to function properly. When dehydrated, the kidneys are not able to effectively remove waste and toxins from the body. This puts strain on the kidneys over time and can lead to kidney problems and kidney stones.
Drinking enough water every day reduces strain on the kidneys and helps prevent kidney-related problems. It helps dilute the salts and minerals in urine that can form into crystals and lead to kidney stones. The American Kidney Fund recommends drinking 8-12 cups of water daily to support kidney health.
Preventing Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form when there is too much crystal-forming substance in the urine, such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid. There is not enough liquid to dilute the waste, so it sticks together and forms stone-like deposits.
Staying hydrated with 2 litres of water dilutes the urine, decreasing the chances that salts and minerals will stick together and form painful kidney stones. People who regularly drink high volumes of water have up to a 15% lower risk of developing kidney stones.
Many people find that drinking more water improves digestion and relieves constipation. Water adds fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass.
One study found that participants who drank 1.5 litres of water daily experienced more regular bowel movements and better colonic transit time compared to those who drank less than 0.5 litres per day. The researchers concluded that increased water intake can improve constipation symptoms.
Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. It often results from dehydration or inadequate fiber intake. Increasing fiber intake is important for relieving constipation. Drinking more water softens stools and aids the fiber in moving waste through the colon.
If you are constipated, drinking an extra 1-2 litres of water per day in addition to your usual fluid intake can help get things moving again. Just be sure to make other positive diet changes as well, such as increasing fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains.
Drinking water may also help with losing weight and keeping it off. Water is an effective appetite suppressant and helps the body metabolize fat. Substituting water for higher-calorie beverages is also an easy way to cut excess calories.
Drinking water helps you feel full, decreasing hunger signals. In one study, drinking 500 ml of water prior to meals resulted in a significant reduction in energy intake compared to not drinking the water. Participants who drank the water before meals ate 75-90 fewer calories per meal.
If you tend to overeat, drinking a glass or two of water 30 minutes before meals can help curb your appetite so you eat moderate portions. Keeping a pitcher of water on the table during meals also helps.
Water is needed for metabolism. The kidneys require water to metabolize fat and convert it into energy. When you are hydrated, your kidneys work more efficiently to metabolize fat into a usable energy source. Even mild dehydration can slow metabolism.
Drinking adequate water keeps your metabolism revved so you burn more calories throughout the day. It allows your body to put fat to use rather than storing it.
|Calories Per Day||Weight Loss Over 1 Year|
|100||About 10 pounds|
|200||About 20 pounds|
|500||About 50 pounds|
As shown in the table above, cutting just 100 calories per day from your diet through water consumption and avoiding high-calorie beverages can lead to 10 pound weight loss over a year. The more calories you cut with water, the greater the potential weight loss.
Lastly, staying hydrated with sufficient water intake keeps your skin looking supple and glowing. Skin cells need water to generate new cells and wash away dead cells. When your skin cells have the moisture they require, your skin appears plumper and more radiant.
Dehydration is a leading cause of dry, itchy skin. The surface skin cells require water to stay flexible and lubricated. When your skin lacks moisture, it can flake, crack and become damaged.
Drinking plenty of water hydrates skin cells from the inside out, increasing skin elasticity and circulation. Hydrated skin appears more smooth, soft and youthful. It can help minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
Water also cleanses skin cells and increases blood flow to the skin. Toxins and irritants are flushed out through sweat and urination, preventing pores from getting clogged. This helps prevent acne and breakouts. Water transports nutrients like vitamin C and zinc to skin cells that aid collagen production and skin renewal.
How Much is Needed?
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set general recommendations for total water intake from both food and beverages. They recommend:
- Men: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) per day
- Women: About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) per day
These recommendations cover water consumed through the diet as well as beverages like juices, tea, milk and other drinks. About 20% of daily fluid intake generally comes from food.
So if you eat a typical diet, drinking about 2 liters (68 oz) of water daily should sufficiently cover your basic hydration needs as an adult. Individual water needs can vary based on age, climate, activity level and health status, so it’s best to drink to your thirst.
Tips for Drinking More Water
Here are some simple tips to help you drink 2 liters or more of water daily:
– Carry a refillable water bottle with you throughout the day for easy sipping.
– Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up and with each meal.
– Flavor water with fruits, vegetables and herbs to make it tastier if plain water is boring.
– Set a daily alarm on your phone, watch or computer to remind you to drink water at regular intervals.
– Choose water over other beverages like soda, juices, coffee and alcohol.
– Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, oranges, lettuce, watermelon.
– Drink a glass before reaching for snacks to help avoid overeating.
– Take water breaks when working out to stay hydrated during exercise.
Drinking extra water is safe for most healthy people, but there are a few possible drawbacks to be aware of:
- You may need to urinate more frequently.
- It may temporarily decrease sodium levels, especially if you drink excessive amounts.
- Drinking too much water can cause hyponatremia or “water poisoning.” This is extremely rare and mainly occurs during prolonged, extreme endurance events.
- Some medications may need dosage adjustments if increasing water intake. Check with your doctor.
Unless your fluid intake is very high for a prolonged period, drinking 2 liters of water per day is unlikely to cause any adverse effects in healthy individuals. As with any major change, introduce it gradually and listen to your body. Reduce intake if it causes discomfort.
The Bottom Line
Drinking 2 liters of water daily provides a number of benefits related to physical performance, kidney function, digestion, weight management and skin health. It ensures the body has enough fluid to properly transport nutrients, remove waste, regulate temperature, lubricate joints and conduct many other vital functions.
Aim to drink about 2 liters of water per day from beverages. Increase intake during strenuous exercise or in hot climates. Cut back if it leads to discomfort. Enjoy staying properly hydrated with refreshing water.