King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat
gkr

Eight glasses of water a day

A spin-off of a comment thread on a previous entry. I've noted before that the admonition to drink eight glasses of water per day has little scientific evidence behind it. Same with the statement that drinks with caffeine don't count for your daily required liquid intake. Don't believe me? Read the following article from the American Journal of Physiology. These are not the people running A Current Affair.

http://ajpregu.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/00365.2002v1.pdf

Essentially, the passing around of this idea is like a big game of telephone. Do you remember that game when you were in 5th grade? Everyone sits in a circle or line. The person who starts whispers something in the ear of the person next to them. That person in turn whispers the same statement to the next person. When it gets to the end, you see how different the statement has become.

Well, obviously, people need some amount of liquid. That little starting point has morphed through word of mouth over many years into you have to drink eight glasses of water per day and caffeinated drinks don't count among other things. Is it true? It could be, but no one has ever checked. The evidence cited in the paper suggests that it is not.

Now think of all the other crap you've been told over the years, and all the crap that you've passed on yourself. Legal statements are a good place to start. Or what you've been told about the internet and how it works (particularly viruses). There are a number floating around about health. And I'm not counting all the urban legends about some axe-wielding marauder who hides in the back seats of cars either.
Tags: culture, skepticism
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