Over 4 trillion cubic meters of water is consumed in the U.S. every day. Water has been around since before the inception of people, who now require it in various aspects of their lives. Considered a life-giving force, scientists look for hints of water on Mars to indicate the presence of life.
Despite being surrounded, and kept alive by water, the myths about it are plentiful. While some myths have come about intending to market a product to make a quick buck, others are just common misconceptions.
Today, let’s myth-bust five such common misconceptions about water. We will also look into what the reality about the claim is, and aim to explain why it is untrue.
Thirst and Dehydration
If you feel thirsty, it is a sign from your body that you need to consume more water to stay healthy. Simple enough, right? A common misconception about thirst, however, is that it is a symptom of dehydration.
In reality, however, thirst is seldom an accurate indicator of dehydration. While it can be considered a subsequent side effect, there are many other ways our body tells us that we need to drink more water. These include experiencing dry mouth, fatigue, or at times even a headache.
Additionally, the fact that you cannot drink just water to cure severe dehydration further disproves this myth. Unlike mild dehydration, severe dehydration requires IV fluids to be treated.
Bottled Water Is Safer Than Tap
A common misconception is that bottled water is safer than tap. The appearance of the water being ultra-processed and packaged in a sterile bottle makes it seem so. Add to that the fact that tap water can definitely get contaminated. More than a million people were potentially exposed to toxic chemicals in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987, which caused the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Due to leaking underground storage tanks and places of waste disposal, water at Camp Lejeune was severely contaminated. The result was over a million people being potentially exposed to toxic chemicals for more than 30 years. Veterans, their families and workers were all put at risk, and TorHoerman Law points out that the lawsuit is still in process as of today.
A more accurate retelling of this concept then, is that bottled water is less prone to contamination. But, this is not because the bottle keeps is safer, or cleaner. According to the CDC, lead, copper and other chemicals can make their way into the water supply (and thus your tap water) through old and rusty pipes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) however, heavily regulates the water supply in American states. Therefore, unless you have some old faucets or rusty pipes, your tap water is likely just as safe as the bottle. TorHoerman Law points out how tap water can often include minerals like fluoride known to protect against tooth decay.
Drinking Water Can Prevent Dry Skin
A common misconception is that drinking water can help reduce or prevent dry skin. This is because we assume that if we hydrate, this is passed on to our pores as well. However, more often than not, internal factors do not have an effect on the moisture in your skin.
Your skin is more sensitive to external factors like the weather, humidity, and pollution levels. Instead of drinking water to increase the moisture in your skin, keep the surface of your face clean. Washing your face every few hours, and using sunscreen to protect your skin are much more effective methods.
Using hard water in your face cleaning routine could also lead to a number of skin problems like eczema or dermatitis.
Too Much Water Can’t Hurt
Contrary to popular belief, you can drink too much water, and it can be bad for you. This is known as overhydration.
There are two primary causes for overhydration: You either consume too much water, or your kidneys are retaining too much water. This is not good for your body and can cause water toxicity. Here, the electrolytes are put in a state of imbalance due to the excess water in your body that it is now unable to process.
The 8-Glass-A-Day Rule
The 8-glass rule is a common belief that many religiously follow. There is, however, no real downside to following this rule. At the end of the day, it is making sure that you are consuming a certain amount of water every day, which is essential. A well-intentioned myth, but a myth nonetheless.
Each person is built differently and has different nutritional requirements. While eight glasses of water might be too little for some, others might need more or less water.
On average, women should drink about 2 liters of water a day, and men 3. Even these numbers are not the standard across the board. If you are an athlete, for example, you might require a lot more water. Our kidneys also have different rates of water retention.
Water offers numerous benefits and is very realistically required for our survival. Like with most other health and wellness activities, however, staying informed and up to date on the right practices can make all the difference