Water, Water Everywhere but…


You mean this isn’t one of the Ten Commandments chiseled on the Stone Tablets?

Thou shalt drink an 8 ounce glass of water 8 times a day.

Turns out, while this aqueous “law” has been around for some time, it in fact, er, doesn’t hold water.

A recent editorial (PDF) in the Journal of the American Society for Nephrology is getting wide press coverage for debunking the so-called “8×8” theory–the popularly held belief that drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily helps remove toxins, improve skin tone, and increase satiety, among other health benefits. The authors chalk up the belief to folklore, and newspaper reports claim ignorance as to its provenance. Just how long has this idea been around? Source: Slate

The Slate piece looks at the long history of what has been widely thought of as substantiated dogma that the nephrologists now have pretty well debunked. And say…do you think this has played at all into the hands of the bottled water folks–another myth that swims in there nicely with the one that bottled water is healthier and cleaner (if enormously more expensive) than the vast majority of tap water.

So maybe you CAN fool most of the people most of the time after all.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Have you ever tried to drink 8 X 8 ounce glasses of water a day?

    I tried, and never got past 6 X 8 oz glasses a day. Then I was up at least 3 times during the nigh.

    It sounds like such an easy thing to do, but it’s not easy at all. I decided it wasn’t a good idea for me.

  2. Maybe someone can explain this to me. Bottled mountain spring water is not cheap, but tens of thousands purchase it every day and swear by it. My water comes from a mountain spring, and yet I’ve been told numerous times I should have a well dug. I had no problems during last summers drought. What’s the deal?

  3. I think it probably has to do with the DEPTH of the spring source. In the Ridge and Valley a spring can arise from deep and very old water in limestone caverns while in Floyd and other parts of the Blue Ridge, the water is younger and comes from more superficial sources and has not passed through porous rock and been filtered like the sedimentary rock provides. Also a goodly percentage of water sources in Floyd Co have agricultural pollution (e. coli being perhaps the most dangerous and yielding positive “fecal coliform” grades for some springs.

    I have to wonder to what degree our burgeoning deer population contributes to coliform deposits in streams and hence from wells and springs.