I recently came across advice in a 1920 home economics textbook about how much water we should drink each day – which led me to search for 2020 advice.
When one rises in the morning, it is well to drink one or two glassfuls of water. From one to two quarts of water, either as plain water or in beverages, –should be taken each day. It used to be thought that water drinking during a meal was harmful. Scientific investigations have shown that this is a mistaken idea. Water may be drunk at mealtime. Indeed it has been found that it aids in the digestive processes, provided foods are not “rinsed down” with it, and provided very cold water is not used.
School and Home Cooking by Carlotta C. Greer (1920)
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men drink 15.5 cups of water a day, and women drink 11.5 cups a day. But this is just a guideline.
How much water you need depends on a number of factors, such as what you eat and the way you move your body. Adequate hydration can even change based on climate and what the weather’s like on any given day.
The 1920 advice recommends drinking 1-2 quarts of water a day. Since there are 8 cups in a quart, this would be 8 – 16 cups of water each day. The low end is less than the 2020 recommendation of 15.5 cups a day for men and 11.5 cups for women. A hundred years ago there was no differentiation in the amount needed by gender, whereas it is recognized today that men need more water than women.