Conventional wisdom has long held that eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day are necessary to keep a body healthy and hydrated. But, health experts now say this is a myth and that people should should simply drink when they’re thirsty, instead.

According to experts, people get all the water they need on a daily basis from food and beverages, even drinks like coffee, tea and soda. In fact, Madelyn Fernstrom, diet and nutrition editor for the ‘Today’ show, said the eight glass rule is no longer the recommendation. Instead, people should “drink to thirst.”

Experts are quick to point out that drinking 64 fluid ounces a day isn’t a bad thing, but there’s no scientific data to prove it’s beneficial either. The recommendation likely stems from the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, which proposed in the 1940s that adults should consume approximately 2.5 liters of water a day.

Despite several recent reports debunking the eight glass recommendation, the myth has persisted, probably because people are convinced that water equals good health.

“Bottled water and the entire health culture around drinking more water have been very lucrative,” said Dr. Rachel Vreeman, who analyzed the myth in her book ‘Don’t Cross Your Eyes … They’ll Get Stuck That Way!’ “Certainly, your body needs fluids and water is a healthy choice to meet those fluid needs, but many of us spend a lot of money, effort and guilt on forcing ourselves to drink more water than we really need.”

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