Okay, I'll admit I fell for this one. I bought into the hype that we all need 8 glasses of water a day or else we'll be chronically dehydrated. I think it's a pretty common misconception. Here's what the evidence shows:
"In an invited review published online by the American Journal of Physiology August 8, Valtin, the Vail and Hampers professor emeritus of physiology at Dartmouth Medical School, reports no supporting evidence to back this popular counsel, commonly known as "8 x 8" (for eight, eight-ounce glasses)."
Dartmouth Medical School News, August 8, 2002
So, where may this idea have come from?
The article continues:
"Valtin thinks the notion may have started when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommended approximately "1 milliliter of water for each calorie of food," which would amount to roughly two to two-and-a-half quarts per day (64 to 80 ounces). Although in its next sentence, the Board stated "most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods," that last sentence may have been missed, so that the recommendation was erroneously interpreted as how much water one should drink each day."
The big question for me is why do we fall for this stuff? Why do we accept this type of information as fact without any real evidence to back it up? A great response to this was given by a Los Angeles Times reader as quoted on Snopes, the urban legends reference website, regarding this topic:
"The advice fully meets three important criteria for being an American health urban legend: excess, public virtue, and the search for a cheap "magic bullet"."
It still floors me how gullible I've been and how much wishful thinking has permeated just about every facet of my life. *sigh*