Jul 22, 2011

Science I Like - 1: Drink When You're Thirsty

About time I lived up to my blog description and put some "science" up.
There are so many excellent science blogs out there, written by like, actual scientists, that I hesitate to post comments on much of it. But stuff in the lifestyle section - that I can handle!

So... water. How much do you need to drink?
Answer, as of this week: as much or as little as you want!
Photo by polandeze
via Flickr Creative Commons

Don't you love it when a new study frees you from sticking to some kind of health rule? I sure do. Last week news was made when the British Medical Journal published an article by Scottish GP Dr Margaret McCartney arguing that the common advice to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day was "nonsense". (A good, stern, Scottish-type word, that).

You can read about this, and the "backlash", here. (The comments on this news article are also good reading, as a summary of the varying beliefs held by most of us on this topic).

Now I LOVE water, and I am a big water drinker. Water has always been my preferred drop and I drink it throughout the day. When I was a kid I dreamed of being able to buy water in shops - really! In Australia in the 70's it was all milkshakes and Coke once you left your front door.

But I don't like blanket prescriptions. As in "8 glasses of water a day". At its height, this belief got ridiculous, with some people recommending up to 4 litres of water a day. Granted, these were not necessarily doctors and scientists, but the general advice for a long time has basically been to drink MUCH more water than you think you want.

Another gem I am waiting to be debunked: "Thirst often masquerades as hunger".  I was open minded on this and I have tried to believe it when I am hungry. But seriously, I don't think so.

What about this guy - is he actually hungry?
Photo by Ajagendorf25 via Flickr Creative Commons

So what about you?
What everyday health - or other - "facts" have you been happy to see debunked?


  1. I have never taken notice of such balderdash. Some advice is fine - don't drink too much alcohol and don't smoke - but the water advice is ridiculous. If I drink that much water a day then I end up spending most of my time on the loo instead of working!

    Drink when you are thirsty sounds like sage advice and it has got me through my life so far.

    Thirst masquerades as hunger? Not heard that before - but I will ignore it.




  2. Well said PM. Wise words. Now if only I could stick to the other one, 'Eat only when hungry'...



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