HOW often have you heard experts tell you with confidence that you need to drink two litres of water a day to stay healthy?
They say it flushes out evil toxins and improves skin tone, that it prevents headaches and boosts general well-being. Some claim it can prevent disease.
Two litres – or eight glasses – of water. That is almost four pints.
Now four pints of beer may not seem a lot to some chaps after a hard day’s work, although it is undoubtedly above Government guidelines, but they are drinking ale in a social atmosphere where conversation and intellectual stimulation aid consumption and a good rinse is the norm among their peers.
But try to drink four pints of water instead. On your own. At home. Or at the office without the stimulation of: “Drink up, it’s your round” or “how do you think Town will do next season?”
Four pints of water is a heck of a lot to drink and I know. I drink plenty of water. I always have a small bottle next to me at home during the day and I consume nowhere near four pints.
But now the two litre myth has been exposed by Glasgow GP Dr Margaret McCartney who said, in the British Medical Journal, that the benefits of drinking eight glasses of water a day “is not only nonsense, but thoroughly debunked nonsense.”
She added: “It would seem that water is not a simple solution to multiple health problems.”
There is no clear scientific evidence that we benefit, even though the NHS itself gives that advice.
The NHS Choices website advises drinking six to eight glasses of water or other fluids a day to prevent dehydration.
So tea, coffee, fruit juice and the hydration you get from food and fruit all count.
On the back of the myth, sales of bottled water have soared in the past few years. We buy an average of 33 litres per person every year.
And Dr McCartney claims this is partly because the bottled water industry has fuelled the belief.
She said the Hydration for Health campaign, which recommends 1.5 to two litres of water a day, is sponsored by French food company Danone which makes bottled waters Volvic and Evian.
So everybody will now be relieved that four pints of water a day isn’t compulsory – especially French water.
Particularly those hard working chaps who felt obliged to drink it straight from the tap before going to the pub for their four pints of beer.