Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eight glasses of water a day - not?


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?



farmist said...

I drink very little water, but plenty of fluids. 1 or 2 cups of coffee, usually a quart of iced tea, and a glass of milk at bedtime.

Justin Buist said...

Your body pretty much knows what it needs. Just listen to it. It's worked pretty well for however long mankind has been around. Heck, all the animals know it too. I'm pretty sure my dog has never listened to a scientific study, but he knows when to drink some water.

Anonymous said...

From Joe Ex PNG:

Ever since having an episode of severe dehydration in New Guinea I've been a bit paranoid about drinking my proper amount of fluids and electrolytes. Not that I measure the amount I drink by any means, just that I keep an eye on the colour of my urine- if it's dark, time to drink some water or Gatoraid.

Simeron Steelhammer said...

I've always drank alot of water. I can take a single pull of almost any fluid that is drinkable at room temp and drain up to a 46 oz can/container.

(Yes college was a blur but fun).

I have found a few things to be true...

1) Water intake is good for colon cleansing time.

2) Water will help you lose weight but, its because you do get full of something with 0 caleries. And you have to wait for the body to get rid of it too.

3) The body is a wonderfully build thing. Drinking and eating things with high water content will also serve to fill the need for water.

4) Sodium levels (salt) will make you hold water ALOT more and salt is one of the biggest things removed from the body via water. Sugars are #2.

5) Dehydration will kill you quick and make you feel like death warmed over even if its not severe. Keeping hydrated is important.

Christina LMT said...

Living here in the desert, I'm fanatic about drinking plenty of water, and I always have a case of water bottles in the trunk of the car. Also, I sweat a lot at work, and usually drink (chug) a 12 ounce bottle of water between each massage session.

Anonymous said...

Ditto the desert problem here. Plus I work in a very climate controlled archive that is aggressivly de-humidified, so I tend to drink a large amount of water during the work day.


phlegmfatale said...

When I was training as a classical singer, I had to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated - you lose a lot of your water through your breath. However, since then, I have stopped drinking so much and I find I'm plenty hydrated even though I drink dramatically less than 8 cups a day.

Chris in SE TX said...

The thing I've noticed is that every-so-often a new study comes out that contradicts the previous studies. So now, we are supposed to believe the newest one. Until the next study will contradict it.

To me, it simply shows how little the scientists know about our bodies. The fact is that we were probably only "designed" for around 50-60 years total. The useful service life can be extended in many cases, but we really don't have the knowledge of what works and what doesn't.

I tend to ignore any studies that I don't like!

Chris in SE TX said...

Oh, I forgot. I do drink lots of water - probably (5) 24 oz bottles a day (they are free at work). The biggest thing I've noticed is that I have to use the restroom a lot. I have no idea if it does anything helpful or not. It's just a habit I picked up.

I have noticed that your body gets used to drinking a lot. I used to be able to go half a day without needing to drink. Now, I doubt I can go 1 hour without feeling thirsty. Again, it tends to be annoying.

It does keep you from eating (or eating a lot) if you drink 24-36 oz when you're hungry!