5 Busted Myths About Water

March 5th, 2014

Nope! Not better for you!

water bottlesImage via Steven Depolo (Flickr)

5 Busted Myths About Water

Television shows such as MythBusters have encouraged our natural curiosity in a good way. Throughout our lives, we hear all kinds of myths, old wives’ tales, whatever you want to call them, and sometimes, it’s hard to decipher fact from fiction. Well, I’m a water expert, and I’m here to help you debunk some of the myths you’ve heard about H2O. Do you believe that bottled water is better for you? Think again!

Myth #1 Bottled Water Is Better for You Than Tap Water

Let me just debunk my intro-teaser right off the bat. Bottled water is not better for you than tap water, not even the costly “enhanced” bottled waters. A majority of bottled water is treated tap water thrown into a bottle and sold at ridiculous prices. Additionally, the bottles in which the water is stored are hazardous to your health and our environment; they contain BPA, which is a possible carcinogen, and they are not biodegradable. Finally, unless you’re running a marathon, you do not need to drink “enhanced” water. In fact, placing electrolytes into your body when you don’t need them can cause serious health complications. Bottled water is not better for you than tap water.

Myth #2 Tap Water Is Perfectly Safe

This is also a myth that isn’t true. Yes, when you look at the whole picture, tap water in the United States is much safer than in many other places throughout the world. We certainly do not suffer from the illnesses and death caused by bacteria, protozoa, and viruses found in a dirtied water supply. To say that tap water is perfectly safe, however, is stretching the truth. Harmful chemicals, such as chlorine, are used to treat our water to kill bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. There are also harmful additives, such as fluoride, put into our water. Finally, other contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides, often find their way into our water supplies, as do harmful minerals such as lead and mercury. The only way to ensure that your tap water is perfectly safe is properly filtering it.

Myth #3 You Need Six to Eight Glasses of Water Every Day

We hear all kinds of “formulas” for how much water we should be drinking daily. Some believe that six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water is the perfect amount; others believe that you need eight to ten 8-ounce glasses each day. There is even a school of thought that you should take your total weight and divide it by two to determine how many ounces of water you should drink daily. The Institute of Medicine recommends 91 ounces for adult women and 125 ounces of water per day for adult men. This water intake includes any water you get from your food, juices, and other hydrating beverages.

Myth #4 If You’re Already Thirsty, It’s Too Late

The Institute of Medicine also cautions us, however, not to take any guidelines as absolute! Many people believe that when you become thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and it’s time to start chugging down the H2O, but you might find you experience periods of thirst even if you’ve been drinking water all day. Our thirst mechanism is designed to let us know that our bodies want us to drink some water, but it doesn’t mean that we’re dangerously dehydrated. The Institute of Medicine says that while guidelines of how many ounces you need per day are a good thing to try to follow, really, your thirst should be your guide. If you’re thirsty, drink some water!

Myth #5 You’re Only Properly Hydrated if Your Urine Is Clear

Nope! If your goal is to guzzle water until your urine runs clear, then you are genuinely filling yourself with water to the bursting point. Yes, you want to drink water to keep your body properly hydrated, but you don’t need to drink it until your urine is clear. Just like too much of any good thing, drinking too much water can be dangerous, too. If you are only drinking enough water that your urine is light yellow – you know, the color of lemonade – guess what? You’re hydrated! You do not need to force yourself to consume water when you’re not thirsty just to get your urine clear. If your urine is dark yellow and/or strong-smelling, however, chug-a-lug!


Written By: Lynn Taylor

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