For years we've been bombarded by claims that for healthy living, it's essential to drink eight glasses of water a day. However, a new study begs to differ.
. . . according to a report published today, there is no evidence of any benefits from drinking so much.
Dr Dan Negoianu and Dr Stanley Goldfarb from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia reviewed every published clinical study into the subject.
They found evidence that those in hot, dry climates have an increased need for water, as do athletes.
Patients with some diseases also benefit from additional fluid.
"But no such data exist for average, healthy individuals," said a spokesman for the scientists, who are based at the university's renal, electrolyte and hypertension division.
No study indicated any real need to drink the recommended eight glasses of water each day.
"Indeed, it is unclear where this recommendation came from," the spokesman added.
Some studies have shown that water intake affects the rate that kidneys clear salt and urea from the body.
But they failed to show any health benefits, the researchers said.
Other studies showed that water retention in the body varied hugely - and depended on the speed with which water is swallowed.
If gulped quickly, water leaves the body more quickly.
If it is sipped, it is more likely to be retained. But no studies showed any benefit to organs from increased water intake.
The scientists also looked at the theory that drinking more water makes people feel full and helps them lose weight.
Again, the studies were inconclusive.
And while water has been touted as an elixir for improved skin tone, no studies showed any clinical benefit as a result of drinking more.
The scientists concluded there was no clear evidence that drinking more water was healthy.
"There is simply a lack of evidence in general," they reported in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
I've never bothered to drink massive amounts of water. I regularly drink three to four large mugs of tea a day, plus water when I feel like it, and that's been enough to keep me going for almost fifty years!
How about you, readers? How much water have you been drinking a day? In your experience, do the comments of these scientists make sense?