Tuesday, 22 November 2011

EU, Water, Dehydration

The headlines (at least in the UK) screamed: "EU SAYS WATER IS NOT HEALTHY." complete with hysterical, ill-informed, rabid anti-EU comments...

The REAL story behind this however is something very, very different and very serious...I'll let a quotation from a report in The Guardian explain:

Daft hysteria over the EU's ruling on water and dehydration 

Martin Robbins, 18 November 2011

The EU has not said that water isn't healthy, and it's ruling on the vexatious claim that bottled water can prevent dehydration is perfectly sensible

There are two major problems with the claim: drinking water doesn't prevent dehydration, and drinking-water doesn't prevent dehydration. 

Firstly, "regular consumption" of water doesn't reduce the risk of dehydration any more than eating a pork pie a day reduces the risk of starvation. If I drink half a pint of bottled water while running through a desert in the blistering sun, I'll still end up dehydrated, and if I drink several bottles today, that won't prevent me from dehydrating tomorrow. The key is to drink enough water when you need it, and you're not going to get that from any bottled water product unless it's mounted on a drip. 

Secondly, dehydration doesn't just mean a lack of water, or 'being thirsty'; electrolytes like sodium are important too. If salt levels fall too far, the body struggles to regulate fluid levels in the first place. That's why hospitals use saline drips to prevent dehydration in patients who can't take fluids orally, and why people with diarhhoea are treated with salt-containing oral rehydration fluids. Presumably the next big investigation at the Express will expose the shocking waste of NHS money on needless quantities of saline solution, when jolly old tap water would work just as well.

and then refer to the EFSA report:

Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to water and reduced risk of development of dehydration and of concomitant decrease of performance pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

EFSA Journal 2011;9(2):1982 [7 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.1982

Following an application from Prof. Dr. Moritz Hagenmeyer and Prof. Dr. Andreas Hahn, submitted pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 via the Competent Authority of Germany, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to water and reduced risk of development of dehydration and of concomitant decrease of performance. The scope of the application was proposed to fall under a health claim referring to disease risk reduction. The food, water, which is the subject of the health claim, is sufficiently characterised. The claimed effect is “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration and of concomitant decrease of performance”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. The Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 defines reduction of disease risk claims as claims which state that the consumption of a food “significantly reduces a risk factor in the development of a human disease”. Thus, for reduction of disease risk claims, the beneficial physiological effect results from the reduction of a risk factor for the development of a human disease. The Panel notes that dehydration was identified as the disease by the applicant. Dehydration is a condition of body water depletion. The Panel notes that the proposed risk factors, “water loss in tissues” or “reduced water content in tissues”, are measures of water depletion and thus are measures of the disease. The Panel considers that the proposed claim does not comply with the requirements for a disease risk reduction claim pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.

So, once again we read crap in newspapers and find hidden underneath a very serious scientific message...

...in a similar vein, Euromyths contains a vast array of these....well worth reading.

And if you don't like what Europe is doing you might like to consider actually talking to your MEP or even voting for one - at the end of the day, the people of the EU vote for these people in a free and fair democratic process; and, as a citizen of the EU you are entitled to stand as a candidate for the European Parliament

1 comment:

Alvaro said...

This "dehydration" posting, completely useful..