Geoff Bond's The Bond Effect
“Drink At Least 8 Glasses Of Water
A Day” -- Really?
have always been puzzled by the modern mantra to drink all that water. In Deadly
Harvest we point out that our Pleistocene ancestors could achieve
water balance without drinking any water at all. Not surprising really;
not much fun competing with lions, crocodiles and hyenas for a sip from a
muddy, excrement-infested waterhole.
the contrary, a high plant-food diet should provide all the liquid you
Valtin, a kidney specialist and author of renowned textbooks on the kidney and water balance, reports no supporting evidence for "8 x 8" (an 8oz glass 8 times). He finds it, "difficult to believe that evolution left us with a chronic water deficit that needs to be compensated by forcing a high fluid intake."
8 x 8 rule is slavishly followed. Everywhere, people carry bottles of
water, constantly sipping from them; it is acceptable to drink water
anywhere, anytime. A pamphlet distributed at one southern California
university even counsels its students to "carry a water bottle with
you. Drink often while sitting in class..."
How did the obsession start? Is there any
scientific evidence that supports the recommendation? Does the habit
promote good health? Might it be harmful?
Valtin thinks the notion may have started when
the Food and Nutrition Board recommended "1 milliliter of water for
each calorie of food," (64 fl oz per day) BUT with the overlooked kicker: “most of this
water is CONTAINED
He found no scientific studies in support of 8 x
8. Rather, studies strongly suggest that such large amounts are NOT needed. Furthermore caffeinated drinks, like
tea, coffee and infusions can be counted toward the daily total. Many
experiments demonstrate how well the human body can maintain proper water
On the other hand, in exceptional conditions such
as kidney stones, strenuous physical activity, long airplane flights or
hot weather, a good fluid intake is needed.
Drinking too much water can even be dangerous.
"Water intoxication" causes the body to lose essential
electrolytes. It leads to mental confusion and even death. Marathon
runners, Ecstasy-crazed teenagers and ordinary misguided water guzzlers
have died from it.
It is often stated that by the time people are
thirsty, they are already dehydrated. On the contrary, thirst begins when
the concentration of blood has risen by less than two percent, whereas
dehydration begins when that concentration has risen by at least five
The warning that dark urine reflects dehydration
is alarmist and false in most instances. Valtin argues that the burden of
proof that everyone needs 8 x 8 should fall on those who persist in
advocating the high fluid intake without, apparently, citing any
view? Perrier, in a remarkable, 1980’s marketing coup, persuaded
people to PAY for bottled drinking water instead of getting it out of a tap
water industry has happily kept the “8 x 8” misunderstanding going –
to the greater health of their balance sheets.
 American Journal of Physiology, August 8, 2002
from The Natural Eating Newsletter, September