I've asked this question during conferences, around the office, etc. and the answer is always debated with split results. 50/50'ish yes and no.

History: During a physical, when it was time to cough, I looked dead ahead and there was a daily water intake poster that read, "3 liters of water p/day for a healthy..."

So I asked the doctor in an attempt to break the weird silence while zipping up, "if I mixed my daily 3 liters of water with 3 liters of, let's say kool-aid, for a total of 6 liters of liquid, does that count?"

He said no. Needs to be water. I didn't particularly care at the time - it was just a 'break the silence' question - but it started to grow on me. Then it started to bug me.

Why not? It still had H 2 and O. Although diluted, the alkalites, minerals, fluoride and all the other stuff that comes from 'the man' is still there. Or should be - maybe not. Does citric acid or cool-aid and sugar break all that down.

What if I drank a glass of OJ, then downed a glass of water right after. Did I get my water in then? Doesn't it mix after it all goes down? Is there a time one has to wait before drinking anything other than water, after drinking water?

How many lemons does it take to make a glass of water not water anymore?

I've asked a few docs and tuns of people and the answers are always split and there's always fun debate. But still no solid answer.

Anyone able to settle this?

2 Answers 2


Yes, it counts.

While the basic recommendation is to drink 2-3 liters (In the US, the recommendation is "8x8", or 8 8oz glasses of water per day), all fluids actually count towards that total. While making koolaid may not be as healthy as plain water, the water content remains the same, and will eventually be used in the body as such.

This also includes fluid from food, such as apples, watermelon, tomatoes, etc. Anything that has a fluid component in it will count towards your daily fluid intake needs.

Things that will impact this and require more fluid is exercise, pregnancy, illness, things like this. The Mayo Clinic has a nice article on fluid intake and recommendations.

  • 1
    There are many, many sources that propose 8x8 based on nothing at all. I would be very interested in good references for why drinking excess water is better for healthy people than letting thirst be your guide. Clearly in some cases, more water is needed; but I think the 8x8 recommendation is a myth. Unfortunately one that Mayo's website might be propagating? Jul 23, 2015 at 1:33

Since there's more than one aspect to your question, I shall answer in two parts to your question:

  • You will get 3+3=6L of water, total, half of which is water with some added sugars and food colorant. Using information from the Mayo Clinic[1], "an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day." This should change depending on the status of your health and physical activity. Now, I would say that you do have more than enough water, but take into account the following:
  • Your daily intake doesn't need to depend on a fixed amount. Recently, in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine[2], it was said that "Thirst should provide adequate stimulus for preventing excess dehydration [...] Physiologically-driven thirst has been defined as a “generalized, deep seated feeling of desire for water” and is an evolutionarily conserved, finely tuned, regulatory mechanism serving to protect both plasma osmolality and circulating plasma volume."


[1] The Mayo Clinic Website http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

[2] Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: July 2015 - Volume 25 - Issue 4 - p 303–320 doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000221 http://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/Fulltext/2015/07000/Statement_of_the_Third_International.2.aspx

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