For years, scientists suggested we should all be swilling down a vast amount of water a day – eight glasses, every day, each.
But do you really need to have a glass of water at your elbow all day long?
Probably not, according to a 2016 study, which found that ‘listening to your body’ is a good rule. And what’s more, drinking too much can actually be dangerous.
Water actually becomes difficult to swallow when you no longer need to drink, the scientists say – and going past that limit can kill, in extreme cases.
‘If we just do what our body demands us to we’ll probably get it right – just drink according to thirst rather than an elaborate schedule,’ said researcher Michael Farrell from Monash University in Australia.
‘Here for the first time we found effort-full swallowing after drinking excess water which meant they were having to overcome some sort of resistance.
‘This was compatible with our notion that the swallowing reflex becomes inhibited once enough water has been drunk.
‘There have been cases when athletes in marathons were told to load up with water and died, in certain circumstances, because they slavishly followed these recommendations and drank far in excess of need.’
The researchers got volunteers to drink water in several different scenarios – including when they had already drunk enough water – and rate the effort.
Drinking eight glasses a day probably won’t do too much harm – it’s just that listening to your body is probably easier.
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