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The Myth Behind Drinking 8 Glasses of Water a Day

It’s common knowledge that we should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Or at least many people think it’s common knowledge.

Heinz Valtin, a Dartmouth Medical School physician, disagrees.

In an invited review published by the American Journal of Physiology, Valtin reported that there is no supporting evidence to back up the popular recommendation to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day.

How did the 8 X 8 myth start? Valtin thinks that the notion may have started in 1945 when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommended approximately “1 milliliter of water for each calorie of food,” which would amount to roughly 2 to 2.5 quarts per day (64 to 80 ounces).

In its next sentence the board stated, “[M]ost of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.” But that last sentence seems to have been missed, so that the recommendation was erroneously interpreted as how much water a person should drink each day.

6 Comments to
The Myth Behind Drinking 8 Glasses of Water a Day

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  1. I tried the 8 glasses of water a day thing last year to help me lose weight… having to pee all the time was the result. I say drink water before and during meals, when you first wake up in the morning, and when exercising. That’s all most people need.

  2. Also, drinking a lot of water may be helpful if you have a cold.

  3. yes, its a total crock. there must certainly be ulterior motives for telling people to drink so much water. maybe so they consume more fluoride toxin to make them more controllable sheep like the nazis & russians did to prisoners. or maybe to prevent people from becoming ill *so quickly* from eating from the crap US food supply full of toxic chemicals & antibiotics.

    elephants drink more water than any other animal at a minimum of ~0.25 oz/lb of weight. this supposed 8 glass/day minimum for a 150 lb person is ~2x that!

    everything you know is wrong (and its usually purely for the benefit of business).

  4. I’m partial to coconut water, it has more electrolytes than gatorade!

  5. I never was able to drink 8 glasses a day always made me feel sick. I tend to just drink water when I need it and not stick to a set amount.
    good blog update – very interesting!

  6. I can’t drink 8 glasses a day, I’d die of thirst :)

  7. I have to wonder about answering the question of using a generalization with another generalization.

    People who exercise, will need to take in water to replace the water they have sweated out of their body.

    A person who has too many toxins in their body that their renal system is not processing through should take in more water to help with detoxifying their body.

    A person who chugs 8 glasses of water in one sitting will make himself sick. A person who drinks no water at all because they figure 8 glasses of cola will be just as good will make himself sick. And possibly diabetic- in which case they will need to drink more water. A person who chugs 8 glasses of alcohol will also make himself sick, you know. But can you ASSUME that the person who is rationalizing 8 glasses of cola having 8 glasses of water in it… will not also assume 8 glasses of vodka have anything other than vodka in it since it’s a liquid?

    Is it a myth? Maybe. But maybe it’s meant to be a rule of thumb since people aren’t born with the innate knowledge that drinking a glass of water is the same as drinking a glass of ANY liquid.



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