Alfven's theorem states that in a perfectly conducting fluid magnetic field lines move with the fluid without dissipation. When a metal becomes superconducting in the presence of a magnetic field, magnetic field lines move from the interior to the surface (Meissner effect) in a reversible way. This indicates that a perfectly conducting fluid is flowing outward. We point this out and show that this fluid carries neither charge nor mass, but carries effective mass. This implies that the effective mass of carriers is lowered when a system goes from the normal to the superconducting state, which agrees with the prediction of the unconventional theory of hole superconductivity and with optical experiments in some superconducting materials. The 60-year old conventional understanding of the Meissner effect ignores Alfven's theorem and for that reason we argue that it does not provide a valid understanding of real superconductors.