1. Why you NEVER need to drink water

    Health claims on water are all wet

    Health officials in Europe are being ridiculed for their seemingly outrageous claim that you don't need water for hydration -- but as much as I love to bash brainless bureaucrats, I'm not going to join in on this one.

    As crazy as it sounds, they're actually right: You don't need to drink a drop of water for hydration.

    That's a fiction created by the beverage industry, which has everyone brainwashed into believing they have to guzzle bottle after bottle after bottle of water -- eight a day! -- for "hydration" and "good health."

    So far, it's worked like a charm: People carry giant bottles of water with them everywhere, as if they're all heading out for a journey into the desert.

    But the industry wants to sell even MORE water, so it lobbied the European Commission for permission to put a health claim on the labels: "regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration and of concomitant decrease of performance."

    Regular consumption? Significant amounts?? Decrease of performance??? It's a bunch of undiluted nonsense, and the European Commission rightly told them where to stick it (hint: not on the label).

    Fact is, I haven't had a sip of water in decades, and I'm not about to dry up and blow away. Because despite what you've heard, you can get all the water you need for hydration from food.

    If you're thirsty, go ahead and drink something -- but even then, it doesn't have to be water. A mug of coffee or cup of tea can hydrate you (and no, the caffeine in these drinks won't "dehydrate" you).

    Now, you might be tempted to think that at least water is harmless -- but it's not.

    Too much water can strain your kidneys, harm digestion, throw your sodium levels out of whack, and raise your risk of a stroke, kidney failure, and even death (and let's not forget about all the harmful chemicals in water -- which you can read all about right here.

    So no, you DON'T need to drink water for hydration or "performance" -- but I'm not going to let those European bureaucrats completely off the hook here, either: The agency spent three years and who knows how many euros "investigating" health claims about water.

    No wonder they're going bankrupt even faster than we are.

  2. New study puts to rest the 8-glasses-a-day myth

    New study puts to rest the 8-glasses-a-day myth

    Unless you're really thirsty, you can put that bottle of water down. New research has FINALLY come out that puts to rest all of the silly myths about the supposed health benefits of water that have turned legions of Americans into water-bottle toting hydration zealots.

    The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and the conclusion is that there is "simply a lack of evidence in general" that the average person's health and well-being is affected (positively or negatively) by extra fluid consumption.

    Water consumption is, of course, critical to sustaining life, but the researchers could find no proof behind the many claims from "experts" that tied hydration to health benefits for organs and skin. The human body needs a minimum of a pint of water or fluid each day in order to maintain its basic and essential operations. The rest, as they say, is gravy.

    Other popular water myths that bit the dust in the study included the idea that increased hydration improves organ function, curbs the appetite, and increases the quality of skin tone. All of these are total bunk.

    Naturally, the bottled water industry benefits immensely from the public perception that there are significant health benefits to getting a constant flow of fresh water into your system. So it's hardly surprising that the Bottle Water Information Office - an industry association of water bottlers - was quick to reject the research. "Surveys show that people who are properly hydrated feel better and perform better," according to the BWIO's spokesperson.

    You'll note that the spokesperson was relying on surveys - not clinical medical research. Exactly how can you scientifically quantify "feeling better?" It's simple: you can't.

    Of course, there's always the danger that excessive water consumption can pose. Not too long ago, I wrote to you about a national news story in which a mother over-consumed an insane amount of water as part of a radio talk show stunt in an effort to win a new video game system for her kids. The woman died. And while this is an extreme case, I'm sure there are many people out there who compulsively chug down as much of the stuff as possible - and all for nothing.

    According to the report, the only people who actually need to increase their water consumption (and then, only moderately) are athletes, people who live in hot climates, and those suffering from certain diseases. The rest of us? Unless you really enjoy seeing the insides of bathrooms, you can cut back on your water intake.

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