The Myth of Eight Glasses of Water a Day

The human body has around 100 trillion cells, and, believe it or not, 10 times that number of viruses and bacteria residing in it. Each cell operates intelligently, each organ acts intelligently and obviously, the entire organism acts intelligently. There are laws and principles which govern life, and indeed, govern health and disease.

Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fevers, pain and inflammation all have survival value. The body is working as designed. These are reparative, remedial processes the body employs to keep itself clean and well. Sometimes painful, but always having survival value.

Similarly, sensations such as hunger, thirst, tiredness, sleepiness etc all have survival value and are intelligently directed. They have been guiding humans for millions of years. Only recently were we told by supposed experts that these symptoms were wrong, and, in the case of fevers and inflammation, positively harmful.

There are however signs that a more enlightened approach is taking hold.

A document written by an enlightened dietician contains what is known as a medical reversal. A medical reversal is where a completely different recommendation is given, contrary to what has been the “party line” for decades. Whereas dieticians and many doctors have been saying for the past 15 years that we need to drink water all day because by the time we are thirsty we are already suffering dehydration, a recent article by Nicole Senior for the Glycemic Association, contradicts that view.

Agreeing with this view that we are overplaying the water recommendations, Dr Tim Noakes and Dr David Martin, from South Africa and the USA respectively, stated this : “it has been difficult to find any studies in which dehydration has been identified as the causative factor in even a single case of exercise-related heatstroke”

Indeed, drinking too much water, or water gorging, has been shown to cause hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, with serious and rarely, fatal consequences.

Their studies led to the USA Track and Field, the governing body of track and field, making major revisions to drinking guidelines for athletes ( Instead of drinking as much as they can, the guidelines say, they should drink when they are thirsty. Dr Martin said these changes were revolutionary and overdue. Following on from this the International Marathon Medical Directors Association also reversed its stance. Drink when thirsty!

Dr Heinz Valtin, a physiologist from Dartmouth Medical College, said he could find no scientific support for the common advice for adults to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

“The benefits”, he said, “such as weight loss, relief of constipation and headaches, less fatigue and increased alertness, have no foundation in scientific studies”. Listen to your body, it gives accurate feedback if we look after it.

If thirsty, drink!

If hungry, eat!

If tired, rest and sleep!

If feverish, fast and rest!

This philosophy will serve you well.

It appears to be common sense, but common sense is not too common today.