>With zero calories and the ultimate in refreshment, there’s no denying that H2O is delicious and essential for human life. However, there are some common misconceptions about water that need addressing. Beloved broadcaster NPR has busted five major myths about water that are sure to set tongues wagging.
1. Drink 8 glasses of water every day.
Just because we hear it a lot doesn’t mean it’s true. Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that “there’s no clear health benefit to chugging or even sipping water all day.” What’s more, experts have no idea where that particular advice came from. So, don’t sweat it if you’ve only had a couple of glasses today. If you’re not thirsty, you’ve probably had enough.
2. Drinking water flushes out toxins.
Here’s another one we hear ad nauseum, but is it true? “The kidneys filter toxins from our bloodstreams [and] the toxins clear through the urine.” Ergo, the more we pee the less toxic we are, right? Wrong actually. According to Dr. Goldfarb, “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.”
3. Lots of water equals healthy skin.
Now this one’s gotta be right. Just ask about any Hollywood starlet’s pre-red carpet routine and it’s “water, water, water”. Truth is, the effect of water is negligible. That’s because the human body is already 60% water, so in the case of a 120 pound starlet, she’s already 72 pounds of water. Says Goldfarb, whose full editorial is published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: “It’s such a tiny part of what’s in the body, it’s very unlikely that one’s getting any benefit.” Sinking that myth faster than “Waterworld”.
4. Drinking lots of water makes you thin.
True only to the extent that drinking water gives you less time to stuff your face with donuts. “Water is a great strategy for dieters because it has no calories,” says Madeline Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh. “So, you can keep your mouth busy without food and get the sense of satisfaction.” Fernstrom adds that “other zero-calorie options such as diet sodas are fine, too”, but I beg to differ here. Why imbibe carcinogenic aspartame and other artificial sweeteners when you have pure, clean water available. Face facts, people: diet soda has no redeeming features.
5. It’s easy to get dehydrated during exercise.
We often see hikers in L.A. clutching a bottle of water (or a latte!?) as if they were nomad in the Sahara desert with no oasis in sight. Truth is, “dehydration sets in when a person has lost 2 percent of his or her body weight.” In the case of our Hollywood starlet, that’s 2.4 pounds. So while it’s recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that marathon runners, cyclists and other athletes “drink 16 ounces of fluids a couple of hours before starting sports practice”, the rest of us can drink when we’re thirsty.
The upshot: when it comes to water, let your thirst and common sense guide you.