Drinking Water – 8 Glasses May Not Be Healthy

Do We Really Need to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day?

For the past 20 years or our society has been indoctrinated into drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.  There have even been books published about curing diseases by drinking water.   Oh sure, every now and again someone would go against the grain and and advise us to just drink when we are thirsty.  But they were crazy, right?

Maybe Drinking a Lot of Water is Crazy

Today I read a piece of advice from an Ayurveda practitioner, Dr. Janardhana V Hebbar:

“According to Ayurveda, thirst, hunger, sleep, sneezing, urination, defecation etc., are called as natural urges. Ayurveda preaches that “Not attending a natural urge, when it is there, and initiating an urge, when it is not there leads to disease. ” For example, any healthy person should eat when he feels hunger. He should not eat, when there is no hunger. Similarly, water should be had whenever there is thirst and it should not be had, when there isn’t any thirst.

There are some theories that if you drink 8 glasses of water, it will detoxify and flush of all the toxins in the body. Excess of water drinking is good for skin, as it keeps it well nourished and hydrated. But this is not true as per Ayurveda!

Water is a coolant. Too much of water intake,  when you’re not feeling thirsty, will cause indigestion and may cause or worsen a condition called as “Ama”.  This is a product of improper digestion and metabolism at the level of digestive track and at the level of body tissues and cells.”

I have to admit, what Dr. Hebbar says makes a lot of sense.  But he is not the only one with  this view of drinking water in great quantities. A few months ago I read an article by,  Ann Dunev, PhD, a holistic doctor who works in the Los Angeles area.  Here is an excerpt from her article:

​”I have been seeing many people who are dehydrated now that the weather is turning warmer. Here in Los Angeles, it has been very dry with the humidity at 17-20%.

So, that means drink a lot more water, right? Not necessarily. Have you ever cut yourself and had water leak out? No, because the water in the body is always mixed up with other vital nutrients, particularly minerals.

In fact, drinking too much water can flush out minerals and water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin B’s and Vitamin C.”

“Don’t force yourself to drink more. The body is not a sieve and toxins will not flush out of fat tissue, just because you drink more water. And you may tax your kidneys by requiring them to work harder to filter water.”

No Scientific Evidence

Did you know there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support drinking 8 glasses of water a day?

We are all different, and our liquid consumption needs will vary from person to person.  For example, an athlete, or someone who lives in a hot climate and perspires a lot, will require more than a person who lives in Alaska and is not very active.  Location and activity levels should be the deciding factor on what volume of liquid a person needs.

And who says the only good liquid consumption is pure water?  Again, this piece of data isn’t necessarily true either.  The very popular paleo diets have a high water content.   Even foods like eggs and potatoes contain about 75% water.  Vegan and vegetarian diets are very high in water content from the fruits and vegetables.

Are You Thirsty?

Unless you have a serious health condition and need to work with your health practitioner, let thirst be your guide.

One thing we do need is to keep our body hydrated with electrolytes.  These are minerals that conduct electricity in our bodies and help keep our fluids in balance.   Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar so stay away from them.  Coconut water, bone broth, or even some lemon in water with a bit of salt can help provide your body with electrolytes.  There are also mineral formulas available that contain a good balance of electrolytes.

Bottom line? Eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty.  Now, is that so hard?

To your Health!

Peter Gillham