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Don’t Drink the Water: 8 Glasses a Day Theory Questioned

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According to a report in the British Medical Journal, it is not necessary to drink 8 glasses of water a day for good health. Scottish doctor Mary McCartney calls this recommendation “nonsense” and cites that there are no clear studies or convincing evidence to support this claim made by the organization Hydration for Health.

I don’t know about you, but I drink more than eight glasses of water a day, especially in the summer. Of course, in the back of my mind I have that “eight glasses a day” thing, but I also find water to be the best thirst quencher. I also prefer to drink water with my meals rather than soda, juice, or coffee. This is a personal preference, but I know as I drink water I always think it is a healthier practice than imbibing drinks loaded with sugar or caffeine.

McCartney points to the motives behind Hydration for Health’s call to drink water and notes that they are supported by the French company Danone, which just so happens to own Evian, Volvic, and Badoit water bottlers. Obviously, it is no coincidence that this group promotes good health through water.

I am sure if Pepsi and Coca-Cola supported some group to tout the benefits of drinking soda, we would all see it as a sham, but since water equals healthy in most people’s minds, we don’t think twice about it.

Dr. McCartney is not suggesting we stop drinking water, and she does note that drinking more water can be a good thing for patients who have a need for it, like “those with current kidney stones or polycystic kidney disease.” She also notes that the eight glasses theory doesn’t make sense for everyone; children and the elderly certainly will not need to drink as much as adults and so on.

Another thing that stands out for me is the bottles. There are millions of plastic water bottles being tossed away every year, many of which never make it to recycling. That has to bother people as much as the fact that some water companies even admit that they bottle tap water. Why pay for something that you have coming into your home that is much cheaper?

I must say that I use some pre-packaged bottled water when I have no other options, but for the most part I use tap water that has been filtered. I make four half gallon bottles a day and use most of it up. I have also picked up reusable water bottles (available in many stores) and take them to the park and beach.

In the end it will be an individual choice to drink water or other beverages. There is no question that I push water on my kids because there is so much sugar in juice and soda. It is a rare treat when they get to have soda, and juice is only allowed once a day at breakfast. Milk is in the mix too, but on these hot summer days they have been asking for water much more than anything else.

Do you drink 8 glasses of water a day? Will you continue doing so? I know that I feel healthier drinking water, so I am not changing anything. In fact, I am enjoying a glass of cold water right now. Cheers!


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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written well over 500 articles; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.
  • maskay

    Last November I switched to only drinking water, with the occasional juice or pop a couple of times a month, and have since lost 20+ pounds. May not be 8 glasses a day, but its enough reason for me to just drink water.

  • Dr. D, groiwng up and living in NYC I’ve always had fluoride in the water, and I know it’s supposed to be good for my teeth. I am not sure what level starts making it dangerous, but my Dad has been drinking it unfiltered for over 90 years.

  • As for the fluoride, I’m not going to lose any sleep over my Brita filter not removing it. Even though this undoubtedly means I will soon be one of the millions who die tragically from fluoride poisoning every year.

  • It’s really not necessary to drink eight glasses a day, unless like Bill you live in an extremely hot climate and/or have a physically demanding job which gets you dehydrated quickly.

    Advice like this tends to overlook the fact that there’s already water in practically everything we drink and eat.

    Our regular dietary intake accounts for a good portion of the body’s daily water needs.

  • Thanks for the comments.

    Bill, if you’re living out there that just makes perfect sense.

    MAC, I did not know that thing about fluoride. I can see why you would go for the bottled water then.

  • MAC

    I would drink tap water except for the fluoridation. Typical water filters don’t remove the fluoride so I drink bottled. Maybe two bottles per day in addition to milk and juice.

  • Living in the AZ desert, I know I go for at least eight glasses a day.