Are you drinking enough water?

We’re told to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. But is that really enough? And does it have to be water, or do other fluids count?
 
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  • Updated:30 Sep 2001
 

03.Sources of water

If you’re not a big fan of plain (or even soda or mineral) water, the good news is you can meet your daily quota from a variety of different sources — both foods and drinks.

  • Fruit juice, cordial, soft drink and milk contain plenty of water, although if you drink over 2 L of these each day, you may be getting too much sugar and/or fat.
  • Although caffeine is a mild diuretic, evidence seems to be emerging that, for tea and coffee at least, the diuretic effect appears to be minimal if you drink them regularly and in normal strengths.
  • Alcohol is a stronger diuretic: as a rough guide, for every 1 mL of pure alcohol you drink, you lose 10 mL of water in urine. So, if you drink a 125 mL glass of red wine (12.5% alcohol) you’ll lose about 150 mL of water — a net water loss. If you drink full-strength beer (5% alcohol), you’ll lose about half the water, but the other half contributes to your daily water intake.
  • Food also contains water, from fruit and vegetables to chips and hamburgers.
 

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Water in your diet

The table below shows typical figures for the water content of a range of common drinks and foods. It should give you some idea of good (and less good) sources of water in your diet.

Food / drink Portion size Water (mL)
Water (A) 250 mL 250
Soft drink 250 mL 235
Cordial (diluted) 250 mL 235
Orange juice 250 mL 230
Coffee (black) 240 mL (1 mug) 240
Coffee (white) 240 mL (1 mug) 235
Tea (black) 240 mL (1 mug) 240
Tea (white) 240 mL (1 mug) 235
Beer (lager) 375 mL (1 can / stubby) 350 (160) (B)
Beer (reduced alcohol, 2%) 375 mL 360 (260) (B)
Red wine 125 mL (1 glass) 110 (–40) (B)
White wine (dry) 125 mL (1 glass) 110 (–35) (B)
Apple 155 g (1 medium) 130
Banana 140 g (1 medium) 105
Watermelon 195 g (one cup) 180
Boiled potatoes 100 g 80
Roast potatoes 100 g 65
Baked beans 100 g 75
Cheeseburger 115 g 50
Meat pie 190 g 100
Hot chips 100 g 50
Macaroni cheese 300 g 200
Vegetable soup 300 g 270
Roast beef 200 g 130
Cheddar cheese 50 g 20
Cottage cheese 50 g 40
Milk (reduced-fat, or ‘Lite’) 200 mL 180
Yoghurt 200 g (1 pot) 165
Bread 30 g (1 slice) 12
Toast 27 g (1 slice) 7

Table notes

(A) Includes tap water, soda water and mineral water.
(B) The figure in brackets is the net water gain or loss, after taking into account the diuretic effect of allcohol.