Go Ahead and Drink Lots of Water. Just Don’t Be Fooled Into Thinking It Will Improve Your Health.


Oh man:

First lady Michelle Obama led Wisconsin high school students in a toast to “the best drink in town” Thursday as she launched a campaign to encourage people to drink more water — something she said was the single best thing Americans could do to improve their health.

“Water is so basic, and because it is so plentiful, sometimes we just forget about it amid all the ads we watch on television and all the messages we receive every day about what to eat and drink,” Mrs. Obama said. “The truth is, water just gets drowned out.”

We all know this isn’t true, right? You should just drink when you’re thirsty. You don’t need eight cups of water a day, and drinking boatloads of water doesn’t improve your health. It doesn’t clear your kidneys of toxins, it doesn’t improve organ function, it doesn’t help you lose weight, it doesn’t prevent headaches, and it doesn’t improve your skin tone. More here.

On the other hand, if 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 above 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 whatever. The Diet Coke brand manager may not be thrilled with this water initiative, but the Dasani guy thinks it’s just peachy.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate