health

'Do I really need to drink 2L of water a day?' 8 myths about water you need to stop believing.

Fact: We're a generation that's obsessed with water. We are! Really, we are. You'd be lying if you told us you didn't have a fancy BPA-free stainless steel water bottle you take with you everywhere (extra points if it has your initials monogrammed onto it).

Just to put it into perspective, apparently we drink over 30 litres of bottled water each year. THIRTY LITRES. See? Obsessed.

And quite rightly so. Almost everywhere you look, someone seems to be touting the benefits of water - it's the magic cure-all formula for beauty and health. Good for your skin! Flushes out toxins! Makes you feel fuller! Exercise better! 

But is any of this actually... true?

Watch: Here are five refreshing fruit-infused water recipes. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

Does slamming glass after glass after glass of water actually have a measurable or visible effect on your skin and your overall health?

To find out, we asked GP Dr Imaan Joshi to help us separate myth from fact when it comes to water and health.

1. You need to drink two litres of water every day.

We're all over here chugging down, like, eight glasses of water a day because someone told us to. But do we actually need to drink that much?

Well, apparently it's not a one-size-fits all kind of thing - there's no magic number when it comes to how much water you should drink.

"Unlike many nutrients, there is no actual minimum amount of water needed to be consumed on a daily basis," explains Dr Joshi.  

"Current recommendations are based on scientific studies from 1945, recommending that an adult would need on average one litre of water per kilocalorie of food consumed. So, if a person consumes 2,000 kilocalories per day, they would need two litres of water."

According to Dr Joshi, however, this number fails to account for incidental water consumed by way of fruits and other beverages such as juices, teas, coffee and soft drinks, which all have water as their main component.

So, yeah. Look at it as two litres of water every day of any fluid - not just water.

2. Water flushes out toxins from your body.

Quick one: Your internal organs do this. While this process needs water, drinking more water doesn't mean your body is going to do it ✨better✨.

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"The main organs in our body that are responsible for removing waste and toxins are our liver, kidneys and our gut," explains Dr Joshi. "They all need a certain amount of fluid in the form of water to function optimally."

"In saying that, there is no evidence that drinking more water is actually directly linked to these organs working more efficiently beyond a basic level needed."

Dr Joshi adds that there is no evidence that 'toxins' get flushed out by the water we consume. "The body simply does not work like that." 

BAM.

3. Drinking water can hydrate your skin.

Ooft this is a biggie. How many times have you heard a celebrity say the 'secret' to their clear and glowing skin is water? Approximately TOO MANY TIMES. Because apparently there is actually zero difference in the skin's hydration and elasticity when it comes to drinking more water.

How very awkward.

"Choosing water over soft drinks and too many caffeinated beverages is definitely better for your skin and overall health, but there is no evidence currently that supports a direct effect of drinking water on skin hydration or its overall appearance in healthy people," said Dr Joshi.

"You are far better off seeking advice on serums and in-clinic treatments that will actually help hydrate your skin in a more predictable and reliable way."

Quick! Have a listen to this episode of You Beauty, to see if any of your beauty products are actually working. Post continues after podcast. 

4. Drinking more water helps with weight loss.

This is one myth that's been floating around for ages. But here's the thing: While drinking more water will help you feel fuller, drinking lots of water itself won’t make you shed weight. 

"The aim behind fads telling you to drink more water in part, is to keep your stomach full so you are less inclined to give into cravings, thereby consuming fewer calories," said Dr Joshi. 

Instead of drinking glass after glass of water to feel full and restrict yourself from eating, Dr Joshi recommends reducing sugar-loaded beverages and incorporating healthy lifestyle changes such as a balanced diet and exercise.

5. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.

While thirst is your body’s way of telling you that you need to be drinking more water, Dr Joshi it's not a reliable indicator of hydration.

"You may already have lost significant water content by the time you feel thirsty. Other (earlier) ways to tell you may be dehydrated is the colour of your urine," she said.

"This occurs because when you are not consuming enough water, your kidneys try to hold on to this water by concentrating the urine produced, leading to a darker colour."

6. A doctor can tell when you're not drinking enough water.

Nah. This is total BS, you guys. "Not unless you are severely dehydrated to the point that your lips are extremely dry and chapped, your skin looks dry and doesn’t settle back quickly once pinched," said Dr Joshi.

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"Realistically, by the time people are that dehydrated, they usually have many other symptoms that may cause them to present to a doctor, anyway."

7. You can never drink too much water.

"If you are fit and healthy, the kidneys will simply get rid of this excess water and you’ll spend a lot of your day on the loo," said Dr Joshi. 

We feel... seen.

"However, in some people with medical illnesses - some heart conditions, kidney disease and liver disease to name some of the most common - too much water can make the illness worse and lead to serious medical problems."

So, yeah. If you have a history of any medical problems, it's probably best to speak with your doctor before ramping up your water intake.

8. Water is the cure-all salve.

While adequate fluid intake, especially water, is obviously super important - it's not the panacea of health.

"Water makes up around 60 per cent of human beings and drinking enough water has many benefits to help us and our organs function effectively," said Dr Joshi.

"Will it cure-all? No, just as not enough of a good thing is not good, so is too much of a good thing. As with most other things, moderation is key."

How many of the above myths did you believe? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty

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