I stumbled into a nest of interesting articles on the Spectator's online fishwrapper. First up;
Let’s drop the eight glasses of water thing, then. It’s a misunderstood solution to a made-up problem. Instead, let’s get back to Mrs Obama’s claim in the first paragraph. Would we all really be better if we drank an extra glass of water a day? Probably not, unless you’re feeling thirsty all the time, in which case you ought to have worked it out on your own. Perhaps she means we ought to replace a glass of Coke with a glass of water, and that would be a good thing if you’re struggling with your weight and want to get your calorie intake down. But simply drinking a glass of water on top of your daily routine will do no good at all — and if you end up buying bottled water, you’re just adding to an environmental problem and costing yourself money. The most important message to take away here is that your body is actually quite good at knowing how much water it needs, which shouldn’t be a surprise. None of your ancestors died of dehydration before they managed to have children. Evolution is a marvellous thing.
But what about five a day, probably the best-known nutrition message in history? Has that changed? The mantra itself was not the creation of some group of learned nutrition experts and public health officials who examined evidence and considered modern lifestyles before arriving at a simple saying. It actually began life in 1991 as a marketing slogan put together in a collaboration between the US National Cancer Institute and a commercially funded group of growers and farmers in California known as the Produce for Better Health Foundation. While the message does of course have huge merit, it wasn’t based on any definitive research.
Note to Albion-centric Brits; by sheer population, probably not the best-known nutrition message in history. Here in Merricastan, we have a whole different set of pseudoscientific slogans to ignore. What we do have is the USDA's Food Pyramid, which in retrospect has the same scientific foundation as pyramid power.
Also note that a lot of pseudoscience is driven by the cabals of governmental bureaucracies and Big Ag. And as seen in the hypertension/sodium debacle, once Big Govt gets involved, research universities demonstrate their subservience, and folks who know what's good for them do what is required rather than what is right.