Drinking up to eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy, and in some cases lose weight, may be nothing but a myth, says Melbourne academic Spero Tsindos.
The La Trobe University lecturer told Neos Kosmos there is no proof that drinking two litres of water a day – as suggested – has health benefits, and says that the belief could stem from guidelines published over 60 years ago. He says that this common misconception has entered our psyche and humans now believe that by drinking two litres of water, we are flushing out toxins from our body, cleansing our insides and also aiding with weight loss.
“The body will take the water it needs no matter what form it’s in; once it’s taken what it needs, it will flush the rest out,” Mr Tsindos told Neos Kosmos.
Mr Tsindos said that even though our bodies do need hydrating, other fluids and foods could have more health benefits than drinking water.
“Lettuce is a really good example of this,” Mr Tsindos explains.
“97 per cent of lettuce is water so if you are eating 100 grams of lettuce you are consuming 97 millilitres of water in that process and you are consuming a whole of biochemical’s that will help it facilitate [the fluid] absorbing into the body.
“So drinking plain water as a continual beverage has every chance of being counterproductive as opposed to having health benefits,” he says, concluding, “you are better off eating your water in food than drinking it in a bottle”.
In an article published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, the La Trobe University lecturer wrote that drinking a large intake of water doesn’t have weight loss benefits alone, but in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet, it would work, but that would be the same as a calorie controlled diet matched with exercise.
In relation to how much water we should be drinking a day, he believes that there is no hard and fast answer as it all depends on each individual and their body in relation to: build; metabolism; fitness levels; how you eat; and so forth and says the best way to know, is to listen to your body.
“Whenever you feel thirsty, drink water, or drink fluid”.