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.