Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, April 8, 2013

5 Myths and Facts about Drinking Water

I'm tempted to ask my readers to tell me whether they view the glass in the picture as half empty or half full but that has nothing to do with my topic today. (Besides.  It's half-full of water and half-full of air.  It's not empty at all!)

Back on topic...
We've previously discussed the fact that we don't need to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to be healthy and that no one is sure exactly where that notion came from. There are plenty of other statements made about drinking water that we can examine, however.

Which of these do you think are fact and which ones are myth?

1. Drinking lots of water helps to clear out toxins from the body. Our kidneys filter toxins from our blood and we release them through our urine.  Drinking more water doesn't aid this process at all.  In fact, drinking large amounts of water may actually reduce the ability of the kidneys to filter toxins properly. That makes this statement a myth.

2. Drinking a lot of water will give you healthier skin.  It can be correctly stated that dehydration does affect the skin.  Drinking more water than the body needs has not been shown to improve the skin's appearance, however.

3. Drinking water can help to contribute to weight loss. The idea behind this is that if you drink a glass of water before a meal - or with a meal - it will help you feel fuller and prevent you from overeating.  The truth is that there is no evidence that this actually works this way - but there is no evidence that it doesn't work, either. One thing for sure is that substituting a glass of water for a can of soda or other calorie-laden drink will benefit you if you are trying to lose weight!

4. It's easy to get dehydrated when you are working out.  Probably not.  Dehydration occurs when you've lost 2 percent or more of your body weight.  For a 130 lb woman, that would be 2.6 pounds of water.  That's an awful lot, isn't it?  Chances are that, unless it is extremely hot out or you are running or biking several miles, you won't have to worry about dehydration.  Still, if you are exerting yourself outdoors, you should know the signs of dehydration just to be safe.  The best advice is to just drink water when you are thirsty.

5. Bottled water is better for you than tap water. Well, to be honest, most tap water in the US is perfectly safe to drink. If you get water from a well, you need to test your water on a regular basis to be sure that it remains safe.  Most water from municipal systems is safe to drink and it is better regulated than bottled water is.  Bottled water is more expensive, as well.  Worse, it comes in plastic bottles so that creates another problem:  What to do with the plastic.
If you are concerned about your local drinking water, you can go to this EPA website page and find out the facts on your local supply or contact your supplier for a copy of their annual report. (which might be easier because the website isn't set up to make it easy to search for your particular water company)  Another suggestion is to get one of those Brita filters for your faucet or, if you can afford it, an even better idea is to get a reverse osmosis filter for your home.  We have one because I didn't like the taste of our local tap water  but it has the added benefit of helping to filter out any possible contaminants so its a win-win for me.

Data for this post was obtained from the following sources:
The CDC - Healthy Homes
NPR News - Your health
CNN - Health

Image obtained here.

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