Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Are we drinking enough water?

I've decided to start posting articles from a great website, Snopes. I get lots of e-mails that involve messages including chain letters, missing kids, and other urban legands and tales. Most of the time, I can look up the reference on Snopes, and they will set me straight on whether the information is true or not, or partly true. They seem to really do their research.

Today, I got this e-mail from my dear aunt:

The following will probably amaze and startle you.. . One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University study. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day? (No kidding, all of the above is true...) Of course, too much water may have strange side effects.

Now, read the article that Snopes has about this:

"You need to drink eight to ten glasses of water per day to be healthy" is one of our more widely-known basic health tips. But do we really need to drink that much water on a daily basis? In general, to remain healthy we need to take in enough water to replace the amount we lose daily through excretion, perspiration, and other bodily functions, but that amount can vary widely from person to person, based upon a variety of factors such as age, physical condition, activity level, and climate. The "8-10 glasses of water per day" is a rule of thumb, not an absolute minimum, and not of all of our water intake need come in the form of drinking water. The origins of the 8-10 glasses per day figure remain elusive. As a Los Angeles Times article on the subject reported:

Consider that first commandment of good health: Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. This unquestioned rule is itself a question mark. Most nutritionists have no idea where it comes from. "I can't even tell you that," says Barbara Rolls, a nutrition researcher at Pennsylvania State University, "and I've written a book on water."

Some say the number was derived from fluid intake measurements taken decades ago among hospital patients on IVs; others say it's less a measure of what people need than a convenient reference point, especially for those who are prone to dehydration, such as many elderly people. The consensus seems to be that the average person loses ten cups (where one cup = eight ounces) of fluid per day but also takes in four cups of water from food, leaving a need to drink only six glasses to make up the difference, a bit short of the recommended eight to ten glasses per day. But according to the above-cited article, medical experts don't agree that even that much water is necessary:

Read the rest of the article here: Are we drinking enough water?

Let me elaborate by saying that I am an avid water drinker, and I really do drink 6-8 glasses most days. I feel better when I do. However, I like to see solid research when I come across claims like this, and it just didn't hold up. So, my conclusion--drink up--just don't kill yourself to do it!


Magnanimity said...

I love having friends who are not quite so gullible.

Thanks for the great info.

The only think I'd do better if I drank that much is pee.

They told me...littl 5'3" next to nothing to drink 2 liters of water for an ultrasound once and not go until it was over. I swear, I collapsed in the parking lot and could not make it into the building my bladder was so freakin full. I nearly passed out. My eyeballs were swimming.

So much of medicine is that way. They think we'll do well to do half of what they for the rest of us????

Swimming eyeballs.

Cheryl said...

I have been driking lots of water and I do feel a lot better!

Cheryl said...

Sorry i meant drinking

Misty said...

I always feel better with plenty of water.

I do remember the 2 liter thing for the ultrasound, though. Couldn't eat anything either, I think. So all that water on an empty stomach early in the morning--not a good feeling.