Squashing the 8 Cups of Water a Day Myth

water glassEver hear that you need to drink 8 cups of water a day (64oz)? Of course you have! Working in the alternative medicine field I run into this alot. People and practitioners alike think they should be drinking gallons of water a day. This is an age old myth that got obscured from some factual information. This blog isn’t the first post written to clear this information up, but I would like to see these facts more widespread.

I urge you to search the Internet about water intake and look at all the information available to you. You will get all kinds of information, but most of all you will be told you need to drink lots and lots of water.

In the 1950’s a famous nutritionist wrote an article about water intake to the body. This write-up was scientifically backed with tests and studies and was a wide spread breakthrough research report. This report stated that you need to take in 8 cups of water a day or 64oz. This statement is well used throughout the world and Internet. I see practitioners tell their patients to drink lots of water, people being told they don’t drink enough water, and even people walking around with jugs of water! Well, before I talk about what the rest of the report says, I would just like to analyse this statement of why this really doesn’t make sense.

Drinking 8 cups of water a day from a Chinese Medicine has a few problems right off the bat. First and foremost to say that Jane and Joe both needs to drink 64 ounces a day is absurd. If Joe is 6’3″ tall and 230 pounds why should his water consumption be the same as 5’4″ 120 pound Jane? This is contradictory to every holistic medicine as this is not holistic. Common practice seems to be during the patient intake and history, regardless of the ailment, ask them how much water they drink. A common response is “probably not enough” or “I could drink more”. Why would you accept this answer? This is based on a person thinking they need to drink, more than likely, way to much water. A common pet peeve of mine is even hearing a practitioner say “are you drinking enough water?”. WHY on earth would you say this to your patient? How are they supposed to know that?
Now lets examine some other possible problems with this statement. As far as Chinese Medicine is concerned we have issues of taking in a bunch of water and over working our kidneys. This will lead to weak knees, lower back pain, fatigue, coldness, and much more. Your kidneys do enough work without you asking them to constantly need to drain a bunch of water from you body all the time. Biomedically we face issues of losing electrolytes, causing edema, bursting red blood cells, and not being able to be away from a bathroom for more than 30 minutes.

By far the biggest spread of bad information is telling people they need to drink a bunch of water to lose weight. Are you joking? Are people supposed to pee the fat away? Lets examine this abomination of advice. If you have ever gone on a diet you can relate to the first week diet miracle. You start doing a little more exercise and start eating better you lose 10 pounds or so. Your so excited that you just keep going only to find out that you didn’t lose a single pound your second week. This is the power of water weight. When you took control of your exercise and diet you balanced your body water. I spoke about this and weight loss in a previous post here:

Think about this logically for a second. A cup of water is 8 ounces of water, which is 8 ounces of weight. 2 cups of water or an entire 16oz water bottle is a POUND of weight. Want to gain a pound? Just drink 2 cups of water and get on the scale.

So what happened in this report? What part of the report didn’t get out with the rest of the information? The report said that we all need to take in about 64 ounces of water a day. And went on to say that this includes foods, soda, drinks, anything you put in your body. If you ate a bowl of soup you have taken in quite a bit of water. I don’t care what someone says, a can of soda contains water and counts as water intake. If you want to be specific you can 1/2 your carbonated water. a 12 oz can of soda has about 6oz of water in it. Your daily coffee or tea is part of this figure.

“Does the amount go in, come out in urine?”, I hope no one has ever asked you that. You should NOT urinate the same amount of water daily that you take in. Water is lost through your bowel, breathe and sweat as well. There isn’t scientific proof that drinking a gallon of water a day is good for you. This also stands true for Chinese Medicine.

There isn’t scientific proof that drinking a gallon of water a day is good for you

Is there a reason this myth perhaps got out of hand? I don’t know, look around and see how many people are making money off of water. Bottling Companies (incl. Coke and Pepsi), Water filtration systems, ionizing systems, and more. Not that I don’t drink purified water, but you wont see me walking around with the gallon jug!

Guess what people, your body tells you when your thirsty! Unless your out hiking in the sun, your thirst center is going to be pretty accurate.  Take this information and digest it. If your running 5 miles a day, you probably need more water than if you have and inactive life and an office job. Your size is going to come into play. I would also like to suggest that if you exchanged your sodas intake with water, you would be making a healthy change, so don’t get me wrong here. Every BODY is different, and that’s the point.

Im still searching for the original New York Times article, but found this on the way

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