It can be overwhelming when trying to work out how much water you should be drinking. It is a common misconception that you should be drinking 3-4L a day which is simply unrealistic, unnecessary and may not be entirely safe. This poor distribution of information often leads to under drinking water, as the goal is simply unachievable. So, how much water should you be drinking? Let’s start by looking at where you get water from.

Water as a liquid drink is not the only source throughout the day. Food also has a lot of water in it, more then you may realise, and this contributes to your overall intake for the day. As you can see in the diagram above, the recommended range for each source is quite large. This is because it depends on your height/weight, your activity levels, your environment and your individual body needs. You also lose water throughout the day from different sources that can also vary. The most we lose comes out when you urinate followed by sweat, but did you also know that when you breathe you lose water from your lungs? Interesting hey!

Depending on what you eat throughout the day can also determine how much water you need to drink as different foods have different levels of water. In the diagram below, you will find a list of foods and their water content.

Whilst all of this is interesting, you don’t need to calculate how much water you consume from your food to work out how much water you should be drinking from your water bottle. There is a very simple and easy way to determine how much water you should be drinking each day and that’s by looking at the colour of your urine. It may seem gross but it’s the most effective way to see if you are hydrated.

The diagram above outlines the different colours you should be looking out for and what is normal. This simplifies hydration and individualises it for each person. Your body is smart and tells you every day about how many times you should be filling up your water bottle. This means no matter where you go or what you eat, you will always be able to tell if you are hydrated.


  1. Whitney E, Rolfes SR, Crowe T, Walsh A. Understanding nutrition. 4th ed. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia; c2019.


April 11, 2022 — Jayde Williams