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Drinking Lots Of Water Can Be Harmful

Updated on May 15, 2008

In 2005, a 32 year old man from Liverpool England, died after drinking too much water. The pathologist had reported that the water had washed the essential salts from his body and caused his brain to swell and he fell into a coma before he died. Isn't drinking lots of water good for us?

We have always been told by our parents to drink lots of water throughout the day and to drink at least eight glasses (8 ounces) of water every day. Drinking a lot of water has been claimed to be helpful for clearing toxins, improving your skin tone and even reduce weight. A new research not only threw all these myths out of the window, it even claimed the drinking too much water can be downright unhealthy!

This new scientific review published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, by Dr. Stanley Goldfarb and Dr. Dan Negoianu of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, found that the recommendation to drink at least 8 glasses of water to be nothing more than urban myth. No scientific evidence could be found to support this practice.

Stop Bringing That Water Bottle Everywhere You Go!

There are 4 main urban myths about drinking lots of water that have caused many healthy people to carry water bottles everywhere they go. These 4 urban myths are

  1. Drinking Lots of Water Can Quench Your Hunger and Can Help You To Slim Down.
  2. Drinking Lots of Water Flushes Toxins From the Body.
  3. Drinking Lots of Water Reduces Headaches.
  4. Drinking Lots of Water Makes Your Skin Beautiful.

These urbans are touted everywhere on the internet and have also been perpetuated by our parents. Finally a scientific study have tried to provide a basis for them and have found that none of the above are true.

Urban Myth 1 - Drinking Lots of Water Can Help You To Slim down

Dr Goldfarb said that there is no consistent evidence that drinking a lot of water can help to suppressses appetite because you absorb water so quickly and it moves through the GI tract so quickly that it does not fill you up the way that people have proposed.

This basically debunks dieting plan that calls for drinking lots of water to fill up your stomach. I have never believed such dieting plans, especially when nutrition companies claim that popping supplements with a hydration diet can help you lose weight within 7 days healthily. Dieting by not eating is definitely the last thing on my mind. One should lose weight by exercising and taking supplements only with a proper diet plan.

Urban Myth 2 - Drinking Lots of Water Flushes Toxins From the Body

The study also claim that drinking lots of water does not flushes the toxins from your body. The researcher said that when you drink a lot of water, you end up with a lots of urine in your bladder and don't necessarily increase the excretion of various constituents of the urine.

In short, don't try to fill up with water to detox. Detoxification does not work in this manner. You will only end up with a bloated tummy and no detoxification will be done.

Urban Myth 3 - Drinking Lots of Water Reduces Headaches

Where did this "benefit" come from? I have never believed anyone who has told me that water is the "heal all elixir" and your headaches will go away if you drink up. Maybe if i down that extra lager...that may be more useful in reducing headaches!

Urban Myth 4 -Drinking Lots of Water Makes Your Skin Beautiful

Dr Goldfarb said "there are no data to suggest that it actually improves the water content of the skin". This is not saying you should not be drinking water, but that excessive drinking of water does not give you the moisturing effect that some hope to achieve in their skin.

Drinking Water is Not Harmful. Excessive Drinking of Water is

The study is not trying to tell you not to drink water. The researchers has found that people living in hot and dry climate have an increased need for water and that people with certain diseases like kidney stones can also benefit from slight increased in water intake. But this is not true for the average person.

For everything in life, moderation is key. Drinking water is essential for us. We need water to survive and for our body to carry out its essential functions. However there is no need to constantly down glasses of water throughout the water and visiting the toilet every hour.

For myself, I have never been the type to drink lots of water. Perhaps now, i will be less guilty when i reached for my beer after work. Cheers! Have a Great Day!


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Robert 6 years ago

    After years of suffering from headaches that set on sporadically but mostly related to foods that come and go before or after the meals-I have finally found a solution that if I drink lots of water at once when I am having this headache, it actually does reduce the headaches.... I don't know how this has worked... hence I googled and arrived at this page. So.. be told drinking lots of water at once helps some reduce their headaches but it's quite understandable that 'too much' is never a good thing!

  • profile image

    Shyam 6 years ago

    I am also driniking almost 4 liters a day and never felt uneasy, so why should i stop?

  • profile image

    Hany 6 years ago

    Totally disagree. Most articles that talk of the dangers of drinking lots of water I think are referring to way overdoing it like the water contest thing which is absolutely brilliant

  • profile image

    blistrth 6 years ago

    many ppl saying this is silly article, well im not sure about that, drinking a lot of water doesnt make you less hungry, the most fat ppl in my family all of them drink 6+ liters of water daily. since fat floats on water if you over drink water your body will be swimming in fat. it doesnt clean all the toxins in your body because all the water you drink wont be all in your blood and even if so, you will be so full of water your body cant do the osmosis of the toxins because everything is over loaded with water. drinking water healing headaches, ridiculous.. and last, water makes your skin beautiful if you wash your skin with it and if you are correctly hydrate, drinking too much water actually makes your cells to explode, try to study some basics of biology before you saying that this article is silly. and from my experience, i do alot of sports and drinking alot of water has caused me alot of kidney pain because of over drinking, water or anything else in excess is bad for you

  • profile image

    tyler 6 years ago

    beer is made with water

  • profile image

    fts_ss1 7 years ago

    Its like cleaning a drain pipe by flushing it with water. That's the same way. All unwanted substances are flushed out from our body. Drink about 5 glasses in empty stomach in the morning and then eat/drink nothing for next 45 minutes, in the mean time poop [goes very smoothly], exercise, yoga...Moreover guys it increases the semen quality which you pump out

  • profile image

    snap 7 years ago

    I drink a lot of water, I should have been dead by now

  • profile image

    marc 7 years ago

    This Article Sucks!!! i always Drink 1 liter of water every 2 hours and i feel VERYhealty!!!

  • profile image

    nicola 7 years ago

    This is a very silly argument. None are urban myths, just common sense. One has to drink lots of water in order to get water poisoning (what the Liverpool man died of).

    Drinking water helps to lose weight - This is because the feeling of thirst is very commonly misinterpreted as hunger pains. Therefore keeping your thirst quenched will prevent one from snacking.

    headaches - sometimes headaches are caused my dehydration, therefore drinking water will get rid of your headache - duuh

    making your skin beautiful - drinking water helps hydrate you, therefore less dry patchy skin, result is clear complexion.

    why dont you use this valuable space to discus more important issues such as whats happening in north africa?

  • profile image

    Kavita 7 years ago

    hey guys chechk dis url 4 a better understanding :

  • profile image

    i'm confused 7 years ago

    i agree with the artical but i dont because the part about the pant 4om the 48 2 38

  • profile image

    WRONG! 7 years ago

    this has to be the worst article ever written. It is no secret that the body is made up of 70-80% water! no way you can tell me water is not completly good for you. lol even NASA knows this....when NASA looks for life on other planets, they do not look for life literally, they simply look for water....becuse everyone knows water=life....nothing can survive with out it>

  • profile image

    Alex 7 years ago

    This is a funny article hahaha..somebody once told me that drinking about 5litres a day for singers is excellent vocal treatment.i know of a person doing it and he's pretty healthy.This article's definately rubbish.that's it

  • profile image

    Jex da Pogi 7 years ago

    Water is Life... Nuf said!

  • profile image

    hyder 7 years ago

    confused! exprets say 'drink plenty of h2o' experts say excess water lead death...i recently started drinking 6 glasses a day...and now just holding a glass and starring..drink it or not...hmm i will um ahhh

  • mirtlesquirtle profile image

    mirtlesquirtle 7 years ago

    Hello there! I love water. In fact I think it can be associated with my weight loss. I was able to lose 40 pounds to date after 4 years.

  • profile image

    trisH 7 years ago

    i think this is rubbish..drinking water is good for our health..n stop scaring people from drinking need prove!!!

  • profile image

    KLeichester 7 years ago

    Really good read. I learn a thing or two. Thank you.

  • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

    Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

    Water is life. I never heard of one who died of drinking extra water unless he drowned for filling his lungs with it. This is a good hub for the point of being clarified about it. Who knows? But of course our discontented readers want more scientific base to convince them about these so-called urban myths, if that's not crying for the moon. Good work!

  • profile image

    Trista 7 years ago

    Water CAN cure a headache if its cause by heat exhaustion or dehydration.

  • profile image

    Evonne 7 years ago

    water is the best. there is no need for u to take pills to loose weight,there is no need to do skin lifts just drink as much water as your body enables u,it worked for me and my friends.u will find no chemical inside water because God made it to be pure.

  • profile image

    keys 7 years ago

    to those who believe water is harmless; google hyperhydration. better yet look @

    it's simple, if you drink too much water your blood cells "pop", without any way for oxygen to move throughout your body (primarily you're brain) you die.

  • profile image

    LarryCheStnut 7 years ago

    First of all drinking excessive water does not do you any harm, second of all if you are just an idiot who doesn't do any cardio workout then off course you will suffer the consequences. IF you do cardio on the daily you will drink excessive water to help your body maintain it's function from having dehydration. Water is the most important element in your life and you'll need it to perform anything as long as you're still living and have two legs.

  • profile image

    bukelwa  7 years ago

    you go Nobulali i think i saw u in hemingways and really you have lost hell of a weight good luck

  • profile image

    Nobulali Matewu 7 years ago

    drink lots of water has changed my life in big way , i've lots a lot of weight and i have perfect sick if thre's such a thing, I look 12 years younger

  • profile image

    Charles Kwong 7 years ago

    The guide line to drink 8 ounce of water per day about 1920 ml is not incorrect.

    I read the text book of Synopsis Anatomy & Physiology and visted the following website to confirm the information obtained.

    The glomerular filtration rate of kidneys varies with age and sex but is approximately 120 - 130 ml/min per 1.73 m2 surface area in adults. This mean that each day ultrafiltration of between 170 and 180 liter of water and unbound small-molecular-weight constituents of blood occurs . It would be necessary to ingest large amounts of water and electrolytes to stay in balance if these large volumes of ultrafiltrate were excreted unchanged as urine. This is prevented by the selective reabsorption or water, essential electrolytes and other blood constituents, like glucose and amino acids, from the filtrate in transit along the nephron. 60 - 80% of filtered water and sodium are reabsorbed in the proximal tubule along with virtually all the potassium, bicarbonate, glucose and amino acids. Further water and sodium chloride are reabsorbed more distally, and the fine tuning of salt and water balance is achieved in the distal and collecting tubules under the influence of anti-diuretic hormone and aldosterone. The final volume of urine is thus 1 - 2 litre per day. Calcium, phosphate and magnesium are selectively reabsorbed in proportion to need to maintain a normal electrolyte composition of body fluids.

    It is not incorrect to replenish the water lost i.e. 4 - 8 cups each day. The only question is the word "more than" 8 cups.

  • profile image

    Aniket Kolhapurkar 8 years ago

    Well, all depends on the balance. anything excessive is bad for health. Wat say Rutesh?

  • profile image

    susan 8 years ago

    If u are going to this kind of problem in your home yes then u will belive drinking to much water killed my sister she drank like 41 glasses a day she belived water is good for her system finally she hardly ate she went into coma and never woke up so yes i belive the above this is nothing to joke about.

  • profile image

    lisa.... 8 years ago

    Ahem! I would like to add that drinking '10-14' galsses is complete rubbish! ha unless you are excessively thirsty which may be a sign of diabetes! pish-posh between 5-8 glasses is fine if your human and not fish! Yes drinking water does actually help clear your skin its a fact the whole world knows this it is not a controversial matter and does not have to backed by a doctor its simply common sense! The person who wrote this article obviously doesnt have any and who the hell is Dc. Goldfarb? Yes thats right .. ITS Nonsense!

  • profile image

    Bipasa Mukhopadhyay 8 years ago

    I have tried all means, & this, drinking gallons of water throughout the day only helped me to get a reasonably flat tummy( which I never achieved by hours of excersing also), to top it with glowing skin & no craving for junk food as evening snack.

  • profile image

    Brae 8 years ago

    Alright, if this is an attempt at a scholarly article you failed miserably! There are no citations, no footnotes, no actual examples of any of the research that took part in coming up with these claims, and for the entire article you only make reference to this Dr. Goldfarb??...Any actual doctor will tell you that drinking lots of water is good for you, 90% of your body is water, and it constantly needs to be replenished...however don't drown yourself by drinking water...I'm sure there are negative effects to drinking 5 galons of it a day, but if your'e drinking between 10-14 glasses a day you'll be fine, and your body will thank you for it. In short, disregard this "article" there's nothing backing it.

  • profile image

    Femi 8 years ago

    The benefits of drinking water far outweigh the effects of not drinking enough. Dont listen to the "experts".

  • Jared L profile image

    Jared L 8 years ago from Singapore

    haha...too much water can also turn you rude like the above..hahaha..just joking :P

  • profile image

    Just another water drinker 8 years ago

    I may disagree with the weight loss myth. I changed 2 things in my life style and these are them: 1- Water replaced 90% of the things I drink 2- After 6 pm, if I am hungry, I drink water. I may have 4 to 5 glasses but I seem to want this now in place of snacks at night. The only down side to this is having to pee a lot but I think of this as excretion, the word has to do with getting rid of. :[)

    After 1 year of this, I am use to it and I went from a size 42 pants to a 38 with no excursive at all.

  • Universal Laws profile image

    Universal Laws 8 years ago from UNIVERSE

    The good effects of water are so much more to do with our mental state and state of awareness and consciousness, the first sign of being low on water is when you lose concentration and become foggy and lacking awareness, I will write a hub on it!


  • profile image

    fredrikblom 9 years ago


  • profile image

    blossom 9 years ago

    i do not totallyagree with you. there are no side effects of drinking water becos its natural and completely harmless


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