Monday, April 7, 2008


The myth that drinking lots of water to flood yourself with good health is just not true, researchers said on Wednesday.

Dr. Stanley Goldfarb and Dr. Dan Negoianu of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia reviewed the scientific literature on the health effects of drinking lots of water.

People in hot, dry climates and athletes have an increased need for water, and people with certain diseases do better with increased fluid intake, they found. But for average healthy people, more water does notlead to better health, they said.

Their scientific review, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, is the latest to undercut the recommendations advanced by some experts to drink eight glasses of 8 ounces of water a day.

"The four major myths" regarding claims of a benefit for extra water drinking: that it leads to more toxin excretion, improves skin tone, makes one less hungry and reduces headache frequency.

"Our bottom line was that there was no real good science or much science at all behind these claims, that they represent probably folklore," Goldfarb said.

As far as facilitating toxin excretion, Goldfarb said that was not verified by any sort of scientific study.

"The kidneys clear toxins. This is what the kidneys do. They do it very effectively. And they do it independently of how much water you take in. When you take in a lot of water, all you do is put out more urine but not more toxins in the urine," Goldfarb said.

No studies showed any benefit to skin tone as a result of increased water intake, they found. They also found evidence lacking that drinking water wards off headaches.

As far as lots of water serving to limit appetite, he said there was no consistent evidence, adding it was "a little unclear exactly whether that was true."

"What no one looked at is whether anyone really loses weight over the long haul if they go under this regimen of drinking lots of water," Goldfarb said. "We just expressed uncertainty in that area."

While it may not help a person to drink lots of water, it may not harm them much either, Goldfarb said.

"If someone enjoys it, I say that's wonderful, keep doing it. They're not doing anything that's going to hurt them."

"A little mild dehydration for the most part is OK, and a little mild water excess for the most part is OK. It's the extremes that one needs to avoid," he said.


jescotty said...

Yeah, I've kinda guessed that for a while. I live in Japan, which has the worlds greatest longevity and they hardly ever drink water.

They drink tons of tea here though. Green, oolong, and barley teas are popular here especially cold. I knew one educator that said she never drank water because tea was healthier than water because of minerals.

They also never put sugar in those teas, only in black tea like Lypton and it's in very small quantities. In the States, they are inundated with sugar in their drinks. Of course the younger generation here drink more sweet related drinks but the older ones rarely do.

In Japan they also don't over-drink or force themselves to drink liquids. They just drink when they're thirsty. Makes sense to me. They often carry around a little plastic bottle of tea for when the urge arrives.


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