Drinking Water and Weight Loss...
Why Drinking Water is So Important!

Drinking water and weight loss go hand-in-hand. However, water, often called the “silent nutrient,” is often overlooked or taken for granted. Water intake is an important part of any weight loss program.

Drinking water does not cause you to lose weight, but it increases your body’s efficiency by eliminating toxins. Water helps maintain muscle tone, helps promote weight loss, and helps you develop healthy skin. It also helps prevent headaches, muscle and joint pain, bloating and constipation.

About Water
Next to oxygen, water is the nutrient most needed for life. You could live for weeks without food but only a few days without water. Water balance is regulated by a sensitively controlled mechanism, giving rise to thirst. The kidney plays a vital role by conserving or excreting water as necessary.

Water acts as a solvent, coolant, lubricant and transport agent. Besides keeping your body temperature stable, water carries nutrients, eliminates toxins and waste products, maintains blood volume and provides the medium in which cell chemical reactions occur. Your body has three sources of water: fluid intake, water content of food, and the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.

Recommended Water Consumption
Even if you are inactive, your body loses up to 80 ounces of water a day – mainly in urine, perspiration (even invisible) and bowel movements. Every time you exhale, for example, you lose water vapor, adding up to one or two glasses a day. To replace this loss, you should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses (64 oz) of water a day.

If the thought of drinking eight glasses of water each day seems a little overwhelming, try not to think of drinking eight glasses. Instead, think of drinking only about three 20-ounce bottles of water! Now, doesn’t drinking three bottles of water sound easier than drinking eight glasses of water?

In addition to the recommended minimum 64-ounces of water per day, you can drink any liquids that are non-caloric. This includes unsweetened hot or iced tea, coffee or diet sodas, or other calorie-free beverages. Just try to reduce or eliminate the caffeinated versions of these beverages.

It is also important to recognize that water needs can vary, depending on climate and activity. For instance, intense exercise in hot humid weather can cause excess water loss of a quart (32 ounces) or more an hour through sweat. That water must be replenished immediately to prevent serious dehydration. If too much fluid is lost through sweating, blood pressure falls and decreases oxygen delivery to the brain.

Here are a few additional guidelines related to drinking water and weight loss, and to getting your daily fluid quota of 64-ounces:

    Thirst – Thirst is not always a good indicator of the body's need for water. Therefore, it is important to drink regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty. This is especially true in the elderly because thirst sensation becomes blunted in older individuals. In addition, intense dehydration, when you need water the most, may impair your usual strong desire to drink fluids.

    Exercise – Drink one or two glasses of water 30 minutes to an hour before exercising and again 10 minutes before your workout. In addition, remember to drink as much as you can immediately afterward.

    Sports Drinks – Skip the high-calorie sports drinks, unless you do strenuous aerobic exercise for at least 90 minutes. These beverages contain sugar or fruit juice and electrolytes (mainly sodium and potassium). For most of us, ordinary water is fine.

    High Fiber Diet – Increase your fluid intake if your diet is high in fiber, protein or salt.

    Juices and Sweetened Drinks – Milk, diet sodas, unsweetened carbonated waters, most herbal teas, decaffeinated teas and decaf coffee can substitute cup-for-cup for pure water, but not fruit juices or sugar-sweetened drinks. Although they still count as fluid sources, the sugar in these beverages can slow down water absorption.

    Caffeine and Alcohol – Do not count caffeinated coffee or alcohol. Caffeine is a mild diuretic (a substance that helps remove water from the body via urine), so coffee and other caffeinated beverages, though they do provide some fluid, are actually poor sources. The best source of water is just plain water!

It would be very rare for a healthy person to drink too much water to the point of toxicity. Even if you drink a great deal of water, there is no danger of flushing nutrients out of your body. Nutrients dissolved in water are absorbed into the bloodstream from the digestive tract long before water goes to the kidneys for excretion. In fact, fiber needs to bind with water, and healthy kidneys require water to do their work.

So, if you struggle with drinking water and weight loss is something you are working on, try to find ways to get your water consumption up to a minimum of 64-ounces per day. Again, drinking water does not directly cause you to lose weight, but it increases your body’s efficiency by eliminating toxins, helps maintain muscle tone, helps promote weight loss, helps you develop healthy skin, and helps prevent headaches, muscle and joint pain, bloating and constipation. The bottom line… keep drinking water and weight loss will be easier and healthier!

Remember - Drinking Water and Weight Loss Go Hand-in-Hand!

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