For Weight Loss How Much Water Should I Drink

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Water and Your Diet

Water is an important part of our daily diet. It keeps us hydrated and helps extract nutrients from the food we eat. You should consume at least eight glasses of water a day, although some people need much more to stay hydrated. Water is the most abundant substance on Earth, making up about 60 percent of your body — and yet most of us don’t drink enough of it. It’s especially important for maintaining healthy bones and joints. But there’s a lot more to this humble H2O than what you might expect. Here are seven interesting facts about water and your diet.

How Water Boosts Metabolism

“Water’s involved in every type of cellular process in your body, and when you’re dehydrated, they all run less efficiently — and that includes your metabolism. Think of it like your car: if you have enough oil and gas, it will run more efficiently. It’s the same with your body.” “Your metabolism is basically a series of chemical reactions that take place in your body,” says Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville. “Staying hydrated keeps those chemical reactions moving smoothly.” Being even 1% dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism.

Hungry or Thirsty? How Water Helps a Diet

It’s also very hard for the body to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. So if you’re walking around feeling a gnawing sense of hunger, you might just be dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a snack. Research has also shown that drinking a glass of water right before a meal helps you to feel more full and eat less. “Many people do find that if they have water before a meal, it’s easier to eat more carefully,” says Renee Melton, MS, RD, LD, director of nutrition for Sensei, a developer of online and mobile weight loss and nutrition programs. One study, for example, found that people who drank water before meals ate an average of 75 fewer calories at each meal. That doesn’t sound like a lot — but multiply 75 calories by 365 days a year. Even if you only drink water before dinner every day, you’d get 27,000 fewer calories over the course of the year. That’s almost an eight-pound weight loss.

The Digestive Health Benefits of Water

But getting enough water doesn’t just help you regulate how much you eat. It helps you digest it properly, too. “Water allows your kidneys to function properly and filter everything they need to, and allows us to eliminate effectively and not be constipated,” Melton says. “People who don’t get enough fluids in their diet tend to be constipated.” And that’s not all. There are several causes of kidney stones and chronic dehydration is a significant one. When you don’t get enough water, calcium and other minerals build up in your urine and are harder for your body to filter out. They can form the crystals that make up kidney and urinary stones. Doctors who specialize in pediatric kidney problems report seeing more kidney stones in children in recent years, and they believe it’s because of a combination of factors. Many kids aren’t drinking enough water. Also, many kids are overweight and eat a poor diet. “I’ve been in this field for over 30 years, and I’d say that until about the last 10 to 15 years, you almost never saw stones in kids,” says Robert Weiss, MD, chief of pediatric nephrology at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital of the Westchester Medical Center in New York. “Lately, the frequency is increasing dramatically.”

How Much Water Do You Need?

How can you know if you’re getting enough water to keep your metabolism cranking at peak efficiency and your digestive system functioning? The formula used to be “one size fits all” — eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. But that’s changed, experts say. “It depends on your size and weight, and also on your activity level and where you live,” Nessler says. “In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. If you’re living in a hot climate and exercising a lot, you’d be on the higher end of that range; if you’re in a cooler climate and mostly sedentary, you’d need less. Another quick way to check: look in the bowl after you’ve gone to the bathroom. If your urine is clear or very light yellow and has little odor, you’re well hydrated. The darker and more aromatic your urine, the more dehydrated you are. How can you build more water consumption into your day? Try these tips:
  • Carry an insulated sports bottle with you and fill it up periodically.
  • Keep a glass of water on your desk at work.
  • Keep another glass next to your bed. Many of us wake up dehydrated first thing in the morning.
  • Switch one glass of soda or cup of coffee for a glass of water.
  • Drink small amounts of water throughout the day. Six glasses all at once isn’t good for you!

Tips for Reaching Your Daily Water Goals

So now that you know how much water you should be drinking every day, let’s talk about how to make sure you actually get enough. Drinking over 100 ounces of water may seem impossible at first, but with these easy tips you can reach your goal in no time.
  • Drink 2 cups (16 oz) of water before every meal: Science has proven that drinking 2 cups of water before every meal helps you to eat less during meal time and lose weight. If you do this three times daily – at breakfast, lunch, and dinner – you have already consumed 48 ounces of water.
  • Morning and Night: Get into the habit of drinking one glass (16 oz) of water when you wake up and another 8 oz glass before you go to sleep every night. This will add another 24 ounces of water to your daily intake. The easiest way to do this is to keep a glass or container of water at your bedside, that way as soon as you wake up and start your day, you can begin drinking water.
  • Keep Track By Your Container: One thing that has proven to help people consumer enough water daily is to buy a special container for their water, like this one or this one, and set a goal of how many times they will fill an finish the container. For example, if you buy a 16 oz container and need to drink 80 ounces of water a day, your goal would be to drink 5 of those daily. Need to drink more water? Try a larger container.
  • Infuse Your Water With Flavor: Water doesn’t have to be boring and infusing your water with fruit, herbs, and other flavors can make it much easier to reach your daily goal. Try adding cucumber, strawberries,lemons, limes, and fresh herbs to create flavorful water. This fruit infusion water pitcher is a great way to always have great tasting water on hand.
  • Bubbles: Consider carbonated and sparkling water in addition to regular water. Many people find that adding sparkling water and 0 calorie flavored water makes drinking water throughout the day more fun. Find yourself drinking lots of expensive sparkling water? Consider buying a sodastream and make your own delicious sparkling beverages at home.

What are the benefits of drinking enough water daily?

Water is essential for our bodies to functions correctly and efficiently. It’s vital to our health and can have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness. Most of us know this, but do you actually know why water is so important. Here are the main benefits of staying hydrated:
  • Aids digestion and prevents constipation
  • Carries oxygen and nutrients to you cells
  • Helps stabilize blood pressure and heartbeat
  • Supports healthy joints and joint function
  • Helps regulate body temperature
  • Potentially lowers the risk for disease in the future such as cancer, heart disease, hugh blood pressure, kidney stones, and stroke

How much water should I drink to try and lose weight?

Let’s start out by being clear that drinking water alone will likely not lead to weight loss. However, the benefits of drinking water can help support and encourage weight loss. First, water helps us to feel full and satiated. When we are hydrated, we tend to eat less since we don’t confuse signs of dehydration with signs of hunger. Many people actually report feeling hungry when they are in fact dehydrated. Another added benefit of drinking water is that it is less likely that someone will overeat. When your stomach is filled with liquid from drinking water, it is less likely you will eat too much or mindlessly snack throughout the day. Lastly, if you are focused on drinking more water, you are less likely to reach for sugary drinks and beverages with empty calories. Swapping in water for higher calorie beverages is a great way to lose weight.

More Questions and Answers About How Much Water to Drink

What liquids count towards your daily water goal?

Pretty much all liquids count towards your daily water intake goals. This includes sparkling water, juice, milk, tea, coffee, smoothies, and even soda and diet soda. However, the best and most affordable option is always plain water. And it better for your body than other beverages according to this Harvard study. A few notes about caffeine. For a long time, people believed that drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea, actually counted against your daily water intake since they are diuretics. However, recent studies suggest that this might not actually be the case. One other important note, food also contributes to your daily water goals. Some foods, like watermelon, is almost 100% water and therefore counts as well. Since this can be hard to track, just think of food as extra water you are having every day instead of trying to track it.

How much water is too much?

Many people wonder if there is actually a point where you can drink too much water. There are some rare cases of someone over-hydrating, known as hyponatremia. However, it is very rare and usually only seen in endurance athletes who are over-drinking while doing very intense exercise or in older adults with certain health conditions. For the average person, this is normally not a concern.

Is drinking a gallon of water bad for you?

Water poisoning or water intoxication is a condition where someone drinks too much water in a short period of time and their cells become imbalanced due to a loss of sodium. It is a serious condition but extremely rare. General guidelines suggest that you shouldn’t drink more than 27-33 ounces of water per hour. This means drinking a gallon of water in an hour wouldn’t be recommended. Any type of water challenge could potentially be dangerous and it is always best to listen to your body.

How much water do you really need?

At the most basic level, you should be drinking enough water every day that you do not show any symptoms of dehydration and that your body is functioning well. There is no exact number for everyone since it varies based on your body, activity level, diet, climate, and more. Generally speaking, doctors recommend that you get at least 6 cups of water daily at a minimum but most people should be drinking more than that. One easy indicator is urine. Your urine should be fairly frequent and like yellow or clear in color.  Darker or smelly urine is an indicator of dehydration and usually indicated you should be drinking more water.

Six reasons why drinking water may help you lose weight

Researchers are still unsure why drinking more water helps a person to lose weight, but many studies show some positive correlation between increased water consumption and weight loss. Below are six reasons that water may help with losing weight.

1. Water is a natural appetite suppressant

Water being poured from a jug into a glass.
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Drinking water may aid weight loss. When the stomach senses that it is full, it sends signals to the brain to stop eating. Water can help to take up space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and reducing hunger. A person may also think that they are hungry when they are actually thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before reaching for something to eat can help to curb unnecessary snacking. In a 2014 study 50 overweight females drank 500 milliliters (mL) of water 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to their regular water consumption, for 8 consecutive weeks. The participants experienced a reduction in body weight, body fat, and body mass index. They also reported appetite suppression. A Trusted Source from the previous year had yielded similar results.

2. Water increases calorie burning

Some research indicates that drinking water can help to burn calories. In a 2014 study Source, 12 people who drank 500 mL of cold and room temperature water experienced an increase in energy expenditure. They burned between 2 and 3 percent more calories than usual in the 90 minutes after drinking the water. Water may also temporarily increase the body’s resting energy expenditure, or the number of calories burned while resting. Drinking cold water may further enhance water’s calorie-burning benefits, because the body expends energy, or calories, by heating up the water for digestion.

3. Water helps to remove waste from the body

When the body is dehydrated, it cannot correctly remove waste as urine or feces. Water helps the kidneys to filter toxins and waste while the organ retains essential nutrients and electrolytes. When the body is dehydrated, the kidneys retain fluid. Dehydration can also result in hard or lumpy stools and constipation. Water keeps waste moving by softening or loosening hardened stools. Water also helps the body to recover from digestive problems, such as diarrhea and indigestion. When waste builds up in the body, people may feel bloated, swollen, and tired. Bloating can add inches to a person’s waist. Staying hydrated is a good way to avoid retaining waste, which may add a few extra pounds. For more science-backed resources on nutrition, visit our dedicated hub.

4. Drinking water can reduce overall liquid calorie intake

Person pouring water from tap into glass.
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Water is a calorie-free alternative to energy drinks or juice. It is easy to accumulate liquid calories by drinking soda, juice, or sweetened coffee or tea. Most people also ignore how many calories they consume in sports drinks or alcoholic beverages. Replacing even a few high-calorie drinks each day for water or other no-calorie beverages, such as herbal tea, may have long-term weight loss benefits. Authors of a 2012 study found that replacing two or more high-caloric beverages for non-caloric drinks every day for 6 months resulted in an average weight loss of between 2 and 2.5 percent in a group of females with obesity. In a study from 2015, female participants drank 250 mL of water after lunch each day while attending a 24-week weight loss program. They lost 13.6 percent more weight than women in the same program who drank the same volume of diet beverages after lunch. Results of a large-scale study showed that men and women who replaced one serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage for water or a low-calorie drink every day for 4 years gained 0.49 fewer kilograms (kg) than a similar group who had made no changes. The same study found that adults who replaced at least one serving of fruit juice with water or a low-calorie drink gained 0.35 kg less than their counterparts.

5. Water is necessary to burn fat

Without water, the body cannot properly metabolize stored fat or carbohydrates. The process of metabolizing fat is called lipolysis. The first step of this process is hydrolysis, which occurs when water molecules interact with triglycerides (fats) to create glycerol and fatty acids. Drinking enough water is essential for burning off fat from food and drink, as well as stored fat. A mini-review Source from 2016 found that increased water intake led to increased lipolysis and a loss of fat in animal studies.

6. Water helps with workouts

One of the most important components of any weight loss plan is exercise. Water helps muscles, connective tissues, and joints to move correctly. It also helps the lungs, heart, and other organs to work effectively as they ramp up activity during exercise. Being hydrated reduces the risk of things that can get in the way of a good workout, such as muscle cramps and fatigue. Always drink water before, during, and after exercise to avoid dehydration. Keeping water close at hand is essential, especially if exercising in hot, humid, or very sunny conditions.

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