Water is an amazing substance – we can’t live without it and in fact we are mostly made of it.
So it is not surprising that a whole bunch of half-truths and myths exist about water, especially when it comes to your health.
So here are our top 5 myths about water.
Myth 1: We should drink 8 glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration. Probably one of the most widely-believed yet false beliefs about water –
no doubt encouraged by bottled water brands.It’s true that our bodies need a fair amount of water every day.
According to the British Dietetic Association, most of us need the equivalent of around six to eight glasses of fluid a day, fluid not water. Much of this can be obtained from the food we eat – fruit and vegetables are 80-90 per cent water by weight – and other drinks including milk, tea and coffee.
Obviously in hotter, sweatier conditions we need to up our intake to make up for the extra loss, but again, any non-alcoholic drink will suffice.
Your body is also very good at regulating its water levels – it will get rid of excess by sweat and urine and when levels are low you will feel thirsty and compelled to drink.
Myth 2: Coffee, tea and other beverages “dehydrate” you
While it is true that caffeine has a diuretic effect (it makes you want to pee) this is very mild compared with the amount of water contained in the drink.
So as explained above these drinks will contribute to your body’s need for water.
Generally speaking water is a non-toxic substance. But it is possible to drink too much water.
In extreme cases drinking too much water can cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body, known as “water intoxication.”
Athletes in extreme sports such as marathon runners have been know to suffer from this condition.
Their sport causes them to sweat profusely, leading to a loss of both water and electrolytes, including sodium.
But if they drink a lot of water in a short period of time without replacing the lost electrolytes, sodium levels in the blood fall, which can be potentially life-threatening.
Myth 4: Bottled water is safer that tap water
Would you drink a liquid containing chemicals that may have been exposed to pesticides, man-made fertilisers and even radioactive materials and destroys the environment?
Then you will probably be happy to pay 1,500 times the going rate to drink water from a plastic bottle.
Tap water is subject to stringent health and safety requirements. It is continuously tested and safe to drink. Bottled waters often come from exactly the same sources as tap water – in fact some are tap water.
Much bottled water is prepared with lower safety standards than tap water, and it consumes vast resources to bottle, ship, market and sell it. That’s why it costs around 1,500 times more per drink than tap water, which is safe, cheap, convenient and by the far the most eco-friendly way to get water.
Myth 5: Water can help you lose weight
Actually there is some truth is this idea. But only some.
Going back to myth 1, drinking calorie-free and sugar-free water is a better way to get your daily fluid intake than gulping back sugary, high-calorie soft drinks.
And some studies have shown that if you drink a pint of water before a meal it can help you eat less. But the key point here is that you do in fact need to eat less – the water itself does not in any way reduce your body fat.