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Drink Up: Experts Urge More Water Consumption

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Whether it's bottled or from the tap, most people need to drink more water every day, according to health experts.

"Our body is made up of 70 percent water, so we need water in our diet," said Natalie Newell, a registered dietitian at Rex Healthcare.

On average, women need 10 to 11 cups of water a day, while men need up to 16 cups a day, Newell said. About 20 percent of water consumption comes from foods, she said.

"Most people don't think about your iceberg lettuce, your watermelon, even carrots, even yogurt. About 85 to 95 percent of that is water," she said.

Newell doesn't recommend fruit drinks or sodas as a source of water because they are high in sugar. Even most diet sodas aren't the best choice, she said.

"Caffeinated drinks actually act as a diuretic, so they can actually make you more dehydrated" and needing even more water, she said.

The best choice is bottled or tap water, she said, noting that people with well water need to have it regularly checked by a licensed inspector.

Many people believe bottled water is safer than tap water, but Dr. David Weber, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said both commercial water and bottled "are tremendously safe."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency controls the inspection of commercial water, while bottled water is under the control of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Weber said.

"There are similar guidelines in terms of safety with bacteria and with chemicals in the water," he said, noting the risk of contamination is small from either source.


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