The Hydration Hype

Michelle Obama is making a new push for drinking more water:

Sarah Kliff notes that science doesn’t seem to support drinking any particular amount of water and that the eight-cups-a-day idea has a suspect origin:

You’ve likely heard at some point that its prudent to drink eight cups of water a day. But that’s not part of any federal guideline right now, and tracking down where the number came from turns out to be surprisingly tricky. …. But that advice on how much to guzzle is still popular, and some of that appears to have to do with the water industry, which, of course, encourages people to drink as much water as possible.

Drum adds:

[I]f the First Lady’s message is to drink water instead of sugary crap, that would be fine. Unfortunately, that message got ditched long ago, a victim of corporate realities. According to food scientist/activist Marion Nestle, Obama’s anti-childhood obesity campaign “is premised on the idea that change won’t happen without buy-in from the food industry.”

Which is, sadly, probably true, and the article [here] suggests that the food industry has accepted the water message because beverage companies all make as much money from selling bottled water as they do from selling soda.

So why not try? It couldn’t harm us – and I’m one of the soda-freaks – to drink less soda and more water. And the message in the ad is much better than the usual nannying: it insists you’re in charge of what you drink, does not mention the alternatives and plugs water anyway. And although we don’t know how much more water we should drink, I cannot see why that matters. A little more would be good for all of us.