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Distilling the water myth

Scientsists cast doubt on the benefit of drinking eight glasses of water everyday.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 03, 2008 14:25 IST

Drinking water is known to be good for health - it clears skin, flushes out toxins from the body and reduces tiredness. Yet, a study has cast doubt on the benefits of the fluid of life.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States have found that drinking the recommended amount of water - eight glasses everyday - actually does little in improving our health.

"There is no clear evidence of benefit from drinking increased amounts of water. Although we wish we could demolish all of the urban myths found on the Internet regarding the benefits of supplemental water ingestion, we concede there is also no clear evidence of lack of benefit.

"In fact, there is simply a lack of evidence in general," the two researchers, Dr Dan Negoianu and Dr Stanley Goldfarb, wrote in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

According to them, no single study indicated average healthy people needed to drink the recommended amount of eight glasses of water everyday. "Indeed, it is unclear where this recommendation came from," they wrote.

However, the researchers did find some evidence that individuals in hot, dry climates, as well as athletes, need to increase the amount of water they drink in a bid to stave off dehydration.

In their study, Dr Negoianu and Dr Goldfarb also investigated the theory that drinking lots of water throughout the day curbs appetite, thereby helps in maintaining a healthy body weight. But the evidence for this claim is inconclusive, they wrote in their review.

Moreover, headaches also are often attributed to water deprivation, "but there is little data to back this up," the researchers have claimed.

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