The New York Times' Aaron E. Carroll claims people do not have to drink eight glasses of water daily. Instead, they should drink according to their individual needs.
Drinking eight glasses of water a day is a myth.
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Consuming that much water daily is "just not true," per The New York Times' Aaron E. Carroll. He is a pediatrician. He downplays claims that dehydration will become an epidemic.
Carroll tries to put things in perspective. He wrote a paper on medical myths eight years ago. One of those mythis is drinking eight glasses of water every day. When he wrote that paper, he says it got plenty of media attention.
Two years later, he co-wrote another study on the eight-glasses-of-water-per-day myth. He thought the scrutiny would die down.
He was wrong.
Carroll traces this so-called myth to a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation. It says people should drink around 2.5 liters of water daily.
Carroll claims people did not pay attention to the sentence which followed the recommendation.
It said, "Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods."
Carroll reiterates water is present in fruits, vegetables, juice, beer and coffee. He also emphasizes coffee will not dehydrate an individual.
Dr. Sharmeela Saha confirmed this to CBS News last month. She is the director of the dialysis center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
"It's really about fluids in general. Doesn't necessarily have to be water," Saha said. "Lettuce, spinach, fruits in general, soups...those are all things that (are) going to have a lot of water in them as well."
Carroll also cautions a person should not limit himself to these drinks for hydration. He says the body will ask for water whenever it has the need for it.
According to WebMD.com, some of the signs of dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, palpitations, confusion and fainting.
Urine color is also an indication of dehydration. A deep yellow color means the body needs to re-hydrate, per WebMD.com.
There is no real scientific evidence linking extra water consumption to extra health benefits.
Carroll comes up with an example. He says there is no real link between water consumption and healthy skin.
Extra water consumption also does not boost kidney function, per The New York Times. Yet this is necessary in "preventing the recurrence of some kinds of kidney stones," says Carroll.
He defines "real hydration" as the body losing a large amount of water. Underlying causes include sickness, excessive exercise and sweating. Carroll considers real hydration as a serious issue.
Carroll also cites a recent study published in The American Journal of Public Health. Researchers examined 4,134 kids in the 6-to-19 age bracket. The study lasted from 2009 to 2012.
The researchers calculated the children's mean urine osmolality. A higher value means the urine is more concentrated, per Carroll.
The study reveals more than half of the subjects had a urine osmolality of 800 mOsm/kg or higher. Kids who consumed at least eight ounces of water daily had a lower urine osmolality. Theirs was around 8 mOsm/kg less than those who drank less water.
Carroll refers to a Journal of Pediatrics study back in 2002. It reveals urine osmolality among children varies to a great degree. Children in Kenya had an average of 392 mOsm/kg. Those in Sweden had an average of 964 mOsm/kg.
Carroll says he has never used urine osmolality as a barometer for child dehydration.
He says the amount of water a person should drink depends on several factors:
"There is no formal recommendation for a daily amount of water people need. That amount obviously differs by what people eat, where they live, how big they are and what they are doing.
"But as people in this country live longer than ever before, and have arguably freer access to beverages than at almost any time in human history, it's just not true that we're all dehydrated."
Last month, The Harvard Health Letter recommended a daily water intake of 30 to 50 ounces. That is equal to four to six glasses, per CBSNews.com.
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