Popular wisdom says drink eight glasses of water a day for good health. But a new study has shown that those eight glasses might be unnecessary—or even harmful to your health.
Researchers at Monash University and the University of Melbourne found that determining the proper amount of water an individual needs to consume each day is as simple as listening to that body's unique cues. "If we do what our body demands us to we'll probably get it right—just drink according to thirst rather than an elaborate schedule," says Michael Farrell, an associate professor at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. The command center for this thirst, the researchers found, is a 'swallowing inhibition' that is activated by the brain after liquid has been consumed in excess of what the body requires.
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According to Science Daily, this built-in system is the body's natural tool for maintaining the ideal water volume. Therefore, the scientists found that consuming a perceived required amount of water per day—such as eight glasses—could lead to overconsumption of water, which in the most extreme cases could lead to water intoxication or hyponatremia, a dangerous lowering of sodium levels in the blood.