The great water myth

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  • Why drinking water isn't as good for you as you thought it was

    We all know we should drink eight glasses of water a day for optimum health, right? Wrong. Apparently the whole premise is a complete myth.

    A team of researchers in America have reviewed every study into water consumption they can lay their hands on and discovered that not a single one recommends drinking eight glasses of water a day.

    Dr Dan Negoianu and Dr Stanley Goldfarb, of the University of Pennsylvania, also couldn’t find any evidence that drinking more water improves skin tone or the productivity of any of the body’s organs. Nor is it likely to help fight weight gain, as the claim that drinking more water makes you feel full remains ‘inconclusive’, according to their research.

    In fact, the only health benefit they found was that drinking more water may help those who suffer from headaches, although again only one small study appeared to substantiate this claim and the results of it were not overwhelmingly conclusive.

    The pair’s report backs up an article which appeared in the British Medical Journal in December which looked into where the eight-glasses-a-day recommendation had come from and discovered a 1945 diktat that said adults should consume one millimetre of water for every calorie consumed; approximately 2.5 litres of water.

    However, this recommendation also noted that ‘most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods’, something subsequent health advisors tend to ignore.

    The BMJ went on to advise readers that even tea, coffee and beer can contribute to this recommendation, despite being mildly diuretic.

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