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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Does drinking iced tea count toward your recommended total daily water intake?

I know we are supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day to be healthy, but it is so hard to get it all down because I hate water. Would iced tea accomplish the same thing since it is made with water?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Several glasses of iced tea garnished with lemon

You need about 8 cups of fluids a day, on average. Larger people need a little more and smaller people need a little less. Basically 6-8 cups total is considered adequate. In excessively hot conditions people will need more to compensate for the extra water lost through sweat.

This total amount includes water that's in solution, such as decaffeinated beverages or flavored waters, etc., so yes, you can include decaffeinated iced tea as part of your total. Remember that it's 6-8 cups in a whole day, so 2 cups (16oz.) of decaffeinated tea + 6 cups (48oz.) of water would provide plenty of fluids. Even juices and occasional decaffeinated sodas and flavored waters can be part of the total.

You should not try to force yourself to drink more than is comfortable for you, however.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet