I first wrote about the you-need-to-drink-8-glasses-of-water-a-day myth back in August of 2002 and I was just reminded of it yesterday. The cause of my memory jog was an article on NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast that covered Five Myths About Drinking Water:
Myth No. 1: Drink Eight Glasses Each Day
Scientists say there’s no clear health benefit to chugging or even sipping water all day. So where does the standard advice of drinking eight glasses each day come from? “Nobody really knows,” says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania.
Myth No. 2: Drinking Lots of Water Helps Clear Out Toxins
The kidneys filter toxins from our bloodstreams. Then the toxins clear through the urine. The question is, does drinking extra water each day improve the function of the kidneys?
“No,” says Goldfarb. “In fact, drinking large amounts of water surprisingly tends to reduce the kidney’s ability to function as a filter. It’s a subtle decline, but definite.”
It’s only taken six years for the experts to go from saying “I think it’s a myth” in the original article to it’s definitely a myth in the current one. I only mention this because I still get people who feel the need to tell me that I should be drinking more water whenever I mention that I’ve given up drinking diet pop. “You should really be drinking 8 glasses of water a day, ya know.” they say while sucking on the end of a plastic teat attached to the biggest damn water bottle I’ve ever laid eyes on. The only health benefit they’re getting from all that water consumption is from burning calories from having to sprint to the bathroom every ten minutes lest they piss their pants.
See the full article for the three other water drinking myths. My favorite quote is on how to know if you’re getting enough water: If you’re not thirsty, you’re fluid intake is likely “just right.”