An 11 year study proves that reducing animal protein decreases risk of Metabolic Syndrome

The general advice for a healthy diet is less meat and dairy and more vegetables, legumes, grains and fish. Managing weight, reducing cholesterol and systemic inflammation are some of the reasons for reducing meat and increasing plant based nutrients. A recent study shows that after following people’s diets for 11 years , the people who ate more meat were more likely to develop Metabolic Syndrome. Here’s the study below

Dietary protein from different food sources, incident metabolic syndrome and changes in its components: An 11-year longitudinal study in healthy community-dwelling adults

Summary

Background & aims

Limited data are available on the relationship of protein from different food sources with metabolic syndrome (MetS) or changes in its components. We aimed to prospectively examine the relationships of protein intakes from animal, plant and major food groups with incident MetS and changes in its components.

Methods

5324 participants from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, who were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, hyperlipidaemia, elevated plasma glucose, elevated blood pressure and elevated waist circumference (WC) at baseline (1990–1994), were included in the present investigation. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated 121-item Food Frequency Questionnaire and MetS components were measured at baseline and follow-up (2003–2007).

Results

We documented 459 new cases of MetS during a mean of 11.2 years’ follow-up. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) (95% CI) of incident MetS for the highest compared with lowest quartile of percentage energy intake from total, animal and plant protein were 1.46 (1.01–2.10), 1.67 (1.13–2.48) and 0.60 (0.37–0.97), respectively. Positive associations with incident MetS were seen for protein from chicken (OR (95% CI): 1.37 (1.00, 1.87)) and red meat (OR (95% CI): 1.47 (1.01, 2.15)), while inverse associations with incident MetS were observed for protein from grains (OR (95% CI): 0.62 (0.40, 0.97)), legumes and nuts (OR (95% CI): 0.74 (0.53, 1.04)). Each 5% increment in energy intake from animal protein was associated with a 0.97 cm (95% CI: 0.50, 1.45) increase in WC, a 0.97 mmHg (95% CI: 0.13, 1.82) increase in systolic blood pressure, and a 0.94 kg (95% CI: 0.57, 1.32) increase in weight over 11 years. However, an inverse association between plant protein and change in WC (−1.38 cm (95% CI: −2.68, −0.07)) and weight (−1.97 kg (95% CI: −3.00, −0.94)) was identified.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that higher plant protein and lower animal protein consumption may help to prevent MetS.


Bacteria is everywhere does that make the “five second rule” nonsense? This MD thinks so

Melbourne is the Allergy capital of the world. Some Australian health experts say this is because of an obsession with hygiene and food allergies. The FDA recently banned antibacterial soap products and we need to ban them here too. These useless products provide no benefit and cause harm to our microbiome.

Unfortunately product marketing has  played on a fear of bacteria without providing a scientific context and instead making us believe we need to protect ourselves from bacteria. In reality bacteria is everywhere and only a few percent are harmful.

This article from the New York Times remind us we are never far away from our tiny allies and enemies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/11/upshot/im-a-doctor-if-i-drop-food-on-the-kitchen-floor-i-still-eat-it.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_up_20161012&nl=upshot&nl_art=5&nlid=59638583&ref=headline&te=1

You may have read or heard about the study debunking the five-second rule. It said that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you will pick up bacteria with it.

Our continued focus on this threat has long baffled me. Why are we so worried about the floor? So many other things are more dangerous than that.

I first became interested in the five-second rule years ago, when I was a co-author of a book on medical myths. We cited a number of studiesshowing that food that touched household surfaces — even for brief periods of time — could pick up bacteria or other harmful substances.

This most recent study was similar in that it tested a variety of foods, a variety of substances, for various periods. And, like those other studies, this one found that food touching the floor, even for a very short amount of time, could pick up bacteria.

There’s no magic period of time that prevents transmission. But even though I know bacteria can accumulate in less than five seconds, I will still eat food that has fallen on my kitchen floor. Why? Because my kitchen floor isn’t really that dirty.

Our metric shouldn’t be whether there are more than zero bacteria on the floor. It should be how many bacteria are on the floor compared with other household surfaces. And in that respect, there are so many places in your house that pose more of a concern than the floor.

Perhaps no one in the United States has spent more time investigating the occurrence of bacteria on public surfaces than Charles Gerba. He’s a professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona, and he has published many papers on the subject.

In 1998, he and his colleagues investigated how well cleaning products could reduce coliform bacteria counts on household surfaces. As part of that research, they measured various locations in the house before any cleaning.

They found that the kitchen floor was likely to harbor, on average, about three colonies per square inch of coliform bacteria (2.75 to be exact). So there are some. But here’s the thing — that’s cleaner than both the refrigerator handle (5.37 colonies per square inch) and the kitchen counter (5.75 colonies per square inch).

We spend so much time worrying about what food might have picked up from the floor, but we don’t worry about touching the refrigerator. We also don’t seem as worried about food that touches the counter. But the counter is just as dirty, if not dirtier.

The same thing happens in the bathroom. I know a lot of people who are worried about the toilet seat, but it’s cleaner than all the things in the kitchen I just mentioned (0.68 colonies per square inch). What’s dirtier in the bathroom? Almost everything. The flush handle (34.65 colonies per square inch), the sink faucet (15.84 colonies per square inch) and the counter (1.32 colonies per square inch).

Things get dirty when lots of hands touch them and when we don’t think about it. We worry about the floor and the toilet seat, so we clean them more. We don’t think about the refrigerator handle or the faucet handle as much.

If we carry this logic out further, there are things we handle a lot and never really clean. One study, for instance, found that about 95 percent of mobile phones carried by health care workers were contaminated with nosocomial bacteria. Of those contaminated with staph aureus, more than half were contaminated with methicillin resistant bacteria (MRSA).

Think about how many people have handled the money in your wallet. A study of one-dollar bills found that 94 percent were colonized by bacteria, 7 percent of which were pathogenic to healthy people and 87 percent of which were pathogenic to people who were hospitalized or who had compromised immune systems. Where do you keep your money? In a wallet or purse? When did you last clean it? It’s probably filthy.

I see people pay for food every day and then eat what they’re handed with no concern that the food might have been contaminated. And the money and the hands that just held it could be much dirtier than the floor.

There are so many studies out there showing that things we touch every day are so, so dirty. Gas pump handles. A.T.M. buttons. Remote controls. Light switches. Computer keyboards.

The dirtiest thing in your kitchen, by far, is likely to be the sponge you keep near the sink. Most people almost never wash or disinfect those sponges. Mr. Gerba found they had, on average, more than 20 million colonies per square inch.

All of this should remind you that it’s always a good idea to wash your hands before you eat. Hand-washing is still one of the best ways to prevent illness.

People react to news like this in one of two ways. One is to become paranoid about everything. Such people start to clean compulsively, worry about all the things they’re touching, and use hand sanitizer obsessively.

 

The alternative is to realize that for most of us, our immune systems are pretty hardy. We’ve all been touching this dirty stuff for a long time, without knowing it, and doing just fine.

I clearly fall into the latter group. If I drop food on the floor, I still eat it. I do that because the harm I might get from the floor is not worth my concern compared with many, many other things. You may feel differently. Either way, make an informed judgment based on relative risks, not on any arbitrary span of time that one thing has been touching another

Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine who blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist and makes videos atHealthcare Triage. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronecarroll.


Is working in an office really as unhealthy as smoking?

Well yes sitting down for eight hours a day is slowly killing you and shortening your lifespan equivalent to being a smoker.

Sitting for hours without any activity in the office and then coming home and slumping in front of the television is a ticket to an early grave so the experts are telling us. Good news is physical activity doesn’t mean high intensity training in the gym or running 5km every day. It means movement. but with some exertion e.g. do some chair squats, lunges, chair push-ups,  – who cares what your coworkers think they’ll be pushing up daises whilst you are reaping the benefits of a your office exercises.

Why not walk to a cafe that is a 10 min round trip , find some stairs and walk up and down them 5 times. Do something for a few minutes until you can feel your heart pumping.  This is more or less what the research is saying: do something for 5 minutes every hour in the office. I recommend  including real exercise in your weekly routine where you break a sweat and get your heart racing to 70% of your maximum. However the good news is that recent research says low intensity  frequent activity that adds up to an hour of movement seems to cancel out the deadly consequences of not moving at all.

Here’s some highlights from the article and a link to it

Office workers must exercise for an hour a day to combat the “deadly” risk of modern working life, a major study has found.

Sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent, the study of more than one million adults published in The Lancet found, with sedentary lifestyles now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking and causing more deaths than obesity.

Workers who spend several hours each day at their desk should change their routine to include a five-minute break every hour, as well as take exercise at lunchtimes and evenings, the study recommended.

An hour of brisk walking or cycling spread over a day was enough to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office, the researchers said.

Current public health advice recommends just half this level of activity – yet almost half of women and one third of men fail to achieve even this.

Prof Ulf Ekelund, the lead scientist, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, said: “We found that at least one hour of physical activity per day, for example brisk walking or cycling, eliminates the association between sitting time and death.”

He added: “You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym, it’s OK doing some brisk walking maybe in the morning, during your lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day but you need to do at least one hour.”

Researchers said the typical modern routine of spending a day in front of a computer, followed by an evening slumped in front of the television was proving fatal.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/working-in-the-office-is-as-bad-as-smoking-study-finds-20160727-gqfcjz.html


Five life-changing reasons to loose your belly fat

Five life-changing reasons to loose your belly fat

Belly fat gets a bad rap, but why? Well the fat around your belly is not  inert. Every fat cell is busy communicating with the rest of our body reinforcing a poor state of health that has implications on your future and what you die from. Belly fat causes low grade inflammation; it produces hormones that affect appetite and fat storage,  it impairs  energy metabolism  and belly fat is associated with insulin resistance, depressed mood and chronic stress to name a few. A little belly fat is probably ok, but how much belly fat is considered a health risk?

 

 

The Waist to hip ratio

The waist to hip ratio (WHR) has become a strong indicator of predicting a number of chronic debilitating illnesses including Type II diabetes, depression , chronic stress,  heart disease and increase your risk of many cancers. Evidence suggests the WHR is more reliable way to predict chronic disease like depression and type II diabetes. Another way to look at WHR is that
people with “apple-shaped” bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with “pear-shaped” bodies who carry more weight around the hips. For women this means they can be less concerned about their thighs and buttocks , but keeping the belly fat off is critical for a long healthy life.

The currently accepted guidelines for a healthy WHR and therefore better health and longevity is as follows: –

Men who have a WHR of more than 0.9  and Women who have a WHR ratio of more than 0.8 are at greater risk of chronic diseases and a shorter life.

 

So to recap there are many reasons to loose that excess belly fat, here’s five big one

  1. You are less likely to feel depressed, stressed or anxious.
  2. You are less likely to to develop Type II diabetes
  3. You reduce you risk of many cancers
  4. Your fertility is improved significantly
  5. You will live longer, have a greater vitality and have a healthier heart.

Are you still feeding your family margarine ? Time to switch to butter

Butter  has many benefits for your health and if you still believe the hyperbole that margarine is more healthy and butter is bad than you are still buying into out-dated health advice based on weak and questionable scientific theories. Here’s some reasons to return butter to your fridge and give it to the whole family.

  1. Butter contains healthy fats which help raise HDL (the good cholesterol )
  2. Butter in modest amounts will not make you put on weight or increase your risk of heart attack
  3. Butter has anti-inflammatory properties
  4. Butter contains vitamins A, E and K2

 

Grass fed butter is best , but any real butter is a wiser option than margarine. For one thing margarine contains emulsifiers and emulsifiers kills the good bacteria in your gut , which is not what you want for your growing children who need the bacteria for a healthy digestion and strong immunity.

 

 


Anxiety more common in people with diabetes

A recent study found that the incidence of anxiety disorders is almost double in people with diabetes than the general population. Diabetes, and diabetes Type II (DB II) in particular is a chronic preventable disease that has been associated with depression and obesity , but no studies have looked at associated of anxiety disorders and DBII.

What is anxiety? We feel anxious is because we anticipate a perceived threat. It is common to feel anxious about a job interview or an exam.  However feeling anxious and worrying habitually over ordinary things : – like getting to work on time, meeting people, going outside your neighbourhood , worrying about things you should have done or said. This kind of anxiety begins to interfere with our health and well-being and so our life.  In an anxious state people’s fight-flight body response is activated. This causes you heart rate to increase, your breathing may become shallow and more rapid, you become restless and hyper-vigilant. Your blood pressure increases and your liver releases glucose into you bloodstream to supply energy to your muscles in anticipation of moving away from danger. Your gut may decide to jettison its contents and this is why it is common to have diarrhea when we feel anxious.

Why is it  more common in people who also have diabetes?

When we are anxious and the flight-flight response is activated , our bodies use more stored energy. The loss of stored energy increasing craving for sugar and fats , otherwise known as comfort eating.  Anxiety may cause us to eat more processed high sugary foods, which we know if regularly eaten in excess can contribute to insulin resistance  and elevated glucose. These are both key markers of DBII. Secondly fat deposits can build up around the waist and this fat is bad for your health. It causes inflammation, insulin resistance and interferes with your metabolism. Obesity is strongly associated with DB II.

Another physiological change from chronically feeling anxious is the release of more cortisol into our bloodstream. Cortisol is hormone that activates the release of more glucose into the body for energy we need to flee. Unfortunately if cortisol is released for  repeatedly everyday for a long period this demands more and more insulin. Insulin is required everyday to get glucose into our cells, but  if our bodies are on  “full throttle” all day then eventually the functions that regulate healthy levels of insulin and glucose begin to weaken and we are at risk of developing DB II. These are two ways that chronic unresolved anxiety could be more common in people with DB II.

 

Results from Study

The prevalence of diabetes in patients with anxiety disorders was higher than that in the general population (11.89% vs. 5.92%, odds ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval, 1.17–1.28) in 2005. The average annual incidence of diabetes in patients with anxiety disorders was also higher than that in the general population (2.25% vs. 1.11%, risk ratio 1.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.28–1.41) from 2006 to 2010. Compared with the general population, patients with anxiety disorders revealed a higher incidence of diabetes in all age groups among both females and males.

Methods

The National Health Research Institute provided a database of 1,000,000 random subjects for study. We obtained a random sample aged 18 years and over 766,427 subjects in 2005. Those study subjects who had at least two primary or secondary diagnoses of anxiety disorders were identified. We compared the prevalence of diabetes in anxiety patients with the general population in 2005. Furthermore, we investigated this cohort from 2006 to 2010 to detect the incident cases of diabetes in anxiety patients compared with the general population.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022399916302070


Australia has a health crisis.

This country has a  crisis of chronic preventable disease and chronic unresolved stress. Here one in two people are overweight or obese. There are almost a million people with Type II diabetes and two million  estimated to be pre-diabetic  There are eight million Australians are predicted to be diagnosed with bowel cancer, a preventable condition. There are more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia. This number is expected to increase to 400,000 in less than five years. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 2050. One million Australia have depression and another two million have a diagnosis of anxiety. Antibiotics are failing, some common bacteria has mutated and can now resist current medications. The top most prescribed 10 medications  in 2014 were for high cholesterol, hypertension,  pain and GERD (stomach acid reflux, heart burn , bloating).

The cost of medicine is increasing. “Expenditure on high cost drugs on the PBS is rising and, to date, it shows no sign of slowing. The growing incidence of diseases such as cancers and Alzheimer’s disease is likely to contribute to increased expenditure as new treatments become available.”  (http://www.aph.gov.au)

Most people in Australia work more than 40 hours a week often skipping a decent meal and  missing essential nutrients.  One and half million Australians don’t get a decent nights  sleep suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders.  We are subjected to repeated stressors at work and at home and we have little time to truly relax and switch off. We soothe ourselves with junk food, alcohol and recreational drugs.

Despite all the diets people still gain the weight they lost. We are nutritional deficient,  we consume on average 30 tea spoons of sugar a day hidden in diet foods and health snacks, and take-away food. It is estimated as little as  2% of Australians Eat Enough Fruit And Veggies, and even if we did the vegetables and fruit found in our supermarkets   lack the nutrients we need because the over-farmed soil lacks the required minerals. Many people don’t get sufficient exercise. We sit down on average 12 hours or more a day. Sitting down for this long  is now said to be more deadly than smoking.

So what about you? 

Are you getting sufficient sleep?

Do you feel fatigued and stressed?

Are you in pain?

Do you exercise enough?

Do you and your family know how to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and prevent disease?

Do you know the side effects of your medications?

What are you long term health goals?

How long do you want to live?


In response to evidence that previous guidelines of Alcohol consumption increases incidence of bowel cancer the UK revises advice on weekly Alcohol consumption.

Recently Sally Davies the UK’s Chief Medical Officer issued new guidelines for alcohol consumption. The new guidelines recommend further reducing alcohol consumption to avoid increased risk of cancer, heart disease and overall risk of death.

The new guidelines say that to reduce health risks, men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol in a week, roughly the equivalent of seven glasses of wine, six pints of beer, or half a bottle of whiskey.

Others called the new guidelines alarmist.“The chief medical officer has focused on small increases in cancer risk while ignoring the much larger body of evidence that shows moderate drinking reduces heart disease risk and, most importantly, reduces the overall risk of death,” Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at Institute of Economic Affairs, a research group in London that favors free markets, said in a statement.

“Alcohol consumption has been falling for a decade. The change to the guidelines will turn hundreds of thousands of people into hazardous drinkers overnight thereby reviving the moral panic about drinking in Britain and opening the door to yet more nanny state interventions.”

Ms. Davies, the chief medical officer, defended the guidelines as good science based on solid evidence, and said that other countries would follow Britain’s example.
“If you take 1,000 women, 110 will get breast cancer without drinking,” she told the BBC. “Drink up to these guidelines and an extra 20 women will get cancer because of that drinking. Double the guideline limit and an extra 50 women per 1,000 will get cancer.”
“Take bowel cancer in men: If they drink within the guidelines their risk is the same as non drinking,” she added. “But if they drink up to the old guidelines, an extra 20 men per 1,000 will get bowel cancer. That’s not scaremongering, that’s fact and it’s hard science.”

The dietary guidelines for Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, define moderate alcohol consumption as consuming up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men (a drink is broadly defined as a 12-ounce beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine).

The guidelines note that even “moderate alcohol intake” is associated with “increased risk of breast cancer, violence, drowning, and injuries from falls and motor vehicle crashes.”

In Britain, the Alcohol Health Alliance, which represents over 40 health organizations, said the new guidelines would bring Britain in line with countries such as Canada (10 drinks a week for women; 15 for men) and Australia (for healthy men and women, no more than two drinks on any day is advised).

Comments.

There was a time in Australia and UK when men’s and women’s drinking guidelines were different. For example Men’s guidelines used to be 21 units a week and women’s 14 units a week. Now they are equal. These changes seems to be based on new evidence that the UK’s previous drinking guidelines increase risk of bowel cancer.

Read Full Article Here.


‘Fat but fit’ may be a myth, researchers say

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

One of the most controversial ideas in medical science today is whether people can really be fat and fit. That is, is weight in itself a marker of health – or simply a suggestion of a person’s physical fitness?
A key study in this debate was published in 2012 by a team of researchers from the United States and Europe in the European Heart Journal. They argued that overweight and obese people were at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer as compared with those of normal weight – as long as they were “metabolically fit.”

By that they meant not having insulin resistance, diabetes, high triglycerides or high blood pressure and having good cholesterol levels. An astounding percentage – nearly half of the 43,000 obese people they had data on – were deemed fit according to this criteria, and when compared against similarly healthy normal weight participants, the fit obese participants had no higher risk of death.
That settled the issue for many, but a large new study out this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology adds another dimension to our knowledge about how weight affects our health by focusing specifically on aerobic fitness.

The analysis involved data from 1,317,713 men in Sweden for an average of 29 years. Researchers evaluated their aerobic fitness by asking them to cycle until they got tired.

Men who weighed in in the normal range, regardless of their fitness level, appeared to have a lower risk of death as compared to those who were obese but fit (in the highest quarter of aerobic fitness). Even more striking: the beneficial effect of high aerobic fitness appeared to be reduced with increased obesity. In fact, those at the most extreme in terms of obesity did not see a benefit at all from aerobic fitness.
The researchers said the findings suggests that being obese may reduce the protective effects of being fit. “This data does not support the notion that ‘fat but fit’ is a benign condition,” they wrote.

Of course this study is limited because it only involved men and the researchers noted that many in their sample died relatively early. Other recent research has highlighted the idea that it isn’t just your weight that impacts your health risks, but where it is on your body (like your mid-section or belly).
In fact, as one researcher told The Washington Post as far back as 2004, “this is something that really shouldn’t be a debate of one versus the other.”

“It’s clear that both fitness and fatness are important,” said Walter Willett, an expert on nutrition and health at the Harvard School of Public Health. “It’s definitely good to be as fit as possible no matter what your body weight. But it’s also clear that it is optimum to be both lean and fit. It shouldn’t be a question of one or the other.”

Source:

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/fat-but-fit-may-be-a-myth-researchers-say-20151223-glui71.html


No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

Aaron E Carrol New York Times AUG. 24, 2015

If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this: You should drink eight glasses of water a day. It’s just not true. There is no science behind it.

And yet every summer we are inundated with news media reports warning that dehydration is dangerous and also ubiquitous.

These reports work up a fear that otherwise healthy adults and children are walking around dehydrated, even that dehydration has reached epidemic proportions.

Let’s put these claims under scrutiny.

I was a co-author of a paper back in 2007 in the BMJ on medical myths. The first myth was that people should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. This paper got more media attention (even in The Times) than pretty much any other research I’ve ever done.

It made no difference. When, two years later, we published a book on medical myths that once again debunked the idea that we need eight glasses of water a day, I thought it would persuade people to stop worrying. I was wrong again.

Many people believe that the source of this myth was a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that said people need about 2.5 litres of water a day. But they ignored the sentence that followed closely behind. It read, “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”

Water is present in fruits and vegetables. It’s in juice, it’s in beer, it’s even in tea and coffee. Before anyone writes me to tell me that coffee is going to dehydrate you, research shows that’s not true either.

Although I recommended water as the best beverage to consume, it’s certainly not your only source of hydration. You don’t have to consume all the water you need through drinks. You also don’t need to worry so much about never feeling thirsty. The human body is finely tuned to signal you to drink long before you are actually dehydrated.

Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits. For instance, reviews have failed to find that there’s any evidence that drinking more water keeps skin hydrated and makes it look healthier or wrinkle free. It is true that some retrospective cohort studies have found increased water to be associated with better outcomes, but these are subject to the usual epidemiologic problems, such as an inability to prove causation. Moreover, they defined “high” water consumption at far fewer than eight glasses.

Prospective studies fail to find benefits in kidney function or all-cause mortality when healthy people increase their fluid intake. Randomized controlled trials fail to find benefits as well, with the exception of specific cases — for example, preventing the recurrence of some kinds of kidney stones. Real dehydration, when your body has lost a significant amount of water because of illness, excessive exercise or sweating, or an inability to drink, is a serious issue. But people with clinical dehydration almost always have symptoms of some sort.

A significant number of advertisers and news media reports are trying to convince you otherwise. The number of people who carry around water each day seems to be larger every year. Bottled water sales continue to increase.

This summer’s rash of stories was inspired by a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2012 to examine 4,134 children ages 6 to 19. Specifically, they calculated their mean urine osmolality, which is a measure of urine concentration. The higher the value, the more concentrated the urine.

They found that more than half of children had a urine osmolality of 800 mOsm/kg or higher. They also found that children who drank eight ounces or more of water a day had, on average, a urine osmolality about 8 mOsm less than those who didn’t.

In other words, there’s very little reason to believe that children who have a spot urine measurement of 800 mOsm/kg should be worried. In fact, back in 2002, a study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics, one that was more exploratory in nature than a look for dehydration, and it found that boys in Germany had an average urine osmolality of 844 mOsm/kg. The third-to-last paragraph in the paper recounted a huge number of studies from all over the world finding average urine mOsm/kg in children ranging from 392 mOsm/kg in Kenya to 964 in Sweden.

That hasn’t stopped more recent studies from continuing to use the 800 mOsm/kg standard to declare huge numbers of children to be dehydrated. A 2012 study in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism used it to declare that almost two-thirds of French children weren’t getting enough water. Another in the journal Public Health Nutrition used it to declare that almost two-thirds of children in Los Angeles and New York City weren’t getting enough water. The first study was funded by Nestlé Waters; the second by Nestec, a Nestlé subsidiary.

It’s possible that there are children who need to be better hydrated. But at some point, we are at risk of calling an ordinary healthy condition a disease. When two-thirds of healthy children, year after year, are found to have a laboratory value that you are labeling “abnormal,” it may be the definition, and not their health, that is off.

None of this has slowed the tidal push for more water. It has even been part of Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up” campaign. In 2013, Sam Kass, then a White House nutritional policy adviser, declared “40 percent of Americans drink less than half of the recommended amount of water daily.”

There is no formal recommendation for a daily amount of water people need. That amount obviously differs by what people eat, where they live, how big they are and what they are doing. But as people in this country live longer than ever before, and have arguably freer access to beverages than at almost any time in human history, it’s just not true that we’re all dehydrated.