Drinking lots of water is the “holy grail” of body health. Water makes up as much as 60% of our bodies, according to the US Geological Survey, and it’s in charge of everything from cleaning away waste to controlling body temperature.Is there a link between water and weight loss.
“All cells, body compartments, and biological fluids (for example, blood) within the human body include water to some degree,” says Albert Do, MD, MPH, a gastroenterologist and the clinical head of Yale Medicine’s fatty liver programme.
He goes on to say that our kidneys are excellent at controlling the amount of water in our bodies; when we drink too much water, we produce more pee, and when we drink too little, we produce less urine. The body, on the other hand, is more susceptible to water deprivation and can usually only go for a week without drinking.
Water can help you maintain a healthy weight in addition to keeping you alive by aiding the function of your body systems (which is clearly the most important benefit of staying hydrated!). But it isn’t as easy as drinking water and losing weight. Here’s all you need to know about how water can help you lose weight or maintain your current weight.
What Does Science Say About Drinking Water and Losing Weight?
Water can help you lose weight through a variety of processes, according to scientific studies. Dr. Do stresses that it is “not apparent” if drinking water causes weight reduction directly, but that the two may be linked indirectly.
Water is just one component of the weight-loss jigsaw, says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RDN, a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics in Los Angeles, and she doesn’t recommend relying on it as a primary weight-loss answer.
“However, water is required for every action in the body, including good circulation, digestion, and waste removal,” she continues.
Drinking More Water Could Mean Eating Less
Drinking water before meals helped naturally lower calorie intake, according to a small study published in Clinical Nutrition Research in October 2018. Subjects who drank one and a quarter cups of water before a meal ate less than those who drank the same amount after a meal or did not drink anything at all.
There were only 15 participants in this study, all of whom were between the ages of 20 and 30, indicating that larger, more diverse investigations are required.
“In other words, drinking water before or with food can help you eat less and lose weight,” Do explains. “Drinking water an hour before a meal may give hormonal satiety signals time to take action, resulting in less appetite during mealtime.”
Increasing fibre intake before meals or opting for many, smaller snacks throughout the day (rather than three larger meals) may have a comparable effect, according to him.
Increased Water Consumption May Aid in Metabolism Acceleration
Increased water consumption not only promoted weight reduction through “decreased eating,” but also aided expedite metabolism by enhancing lipolysis, according to a review of studies published in Frontiers in Nutrition in June 2016. (the breakdown of fats and other lipids by hydrolysis to release fatty acids).
“Research shows drinking water can help boost metabolism, and while the effect may be little at first, it can snowball over time to have a larger influence,” Sass adds.
When it comes to losing weight, how much water should you consume?
Because the link between the two hasn’t been scientifically verified, Do says there isn’t a set amount of water that should be consumed for weight loss.
However, he recommends following the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s recommendations in order to “keep hydration balance”: Men should drink 15.5 cups (3.7 litres or 124 ounces), while women should drink 11.5 cups (2.7 litres or 92 ounces). According to him, this comprises water and food fluids.
When Is It Appropriate to Drink Water for Weight Loss?
When it comes to drinking water to help you lose weight, drinking it before meals can help kerb your appetite and keep you from overeating. Consider drinking some water after a meal because it can aid with digestion. Sass, on the other hand, suggests that you drink water throughout the day.
“Some drinks also contain compounds that boost pee output, such as caffeine,” Do adds. To put it another way, they dehydrate you. While switching to decaf isn’t required for hydration, he recommends recognising when more water is needed — for example, when you’re exposed to hot weather or exerting yourself — and making sure to rehydrate accordingly.
What Are Some Ways to Increase Water Consumption?
Incorporating water breaks into your daily routine will help you keep to the habit, as it can with other healthy lifestyle choices, according to Do. “This could include tying water consumption to current routines (for example, drinking a cup of water after brushing your teeth in the evening) or putting up reminders.”
Adding water-containing items to your diet could be another option. Watermelon and spinach are two foods that are nearly 100 percent water, according to the Mayo Clinic.
To remember yourself to drink, Sass recommends carrying a water bottle with you and setting reminders on your phone. You can also use a smart water bottle, such as HidrateSpark, to calculate how much water you need to drink and track your consumption.
Finally, Sass recommends infusing water with flavour to encourage yourself to drink it. “If you don’t like plain water, try adding lemon or lime, fresh mint, sliced cucumber, fresh ginger, or slightly mashed chunks of seasonal fruit,” she says.
What Is Water Weight (and How Do You Get Rid of It)?
“The fluid weight your body clings to is known as water weight,” Sass explains. If you’ve ever started a diet and watched the numbers on the scale drop almost immediately, it’s probably due to water weight loss.
“Body weight from water can fluctuate from day to day and is dependent on one’s present hydration condition, food choices other than water, geographic location, including weather and altitude, and other factors,” Do continues.
Excess sodium causes fluid retention, therefore water weight is frequently caused by a higher-than-normal sodium intake, according to Sass. “Hormonal changes can also cause water weight to be retained,” she says.
“The easiest method to reduce it is to drink more water and increase your potassium intake, which causes the release of excess sodium and fluid,” she says if the water weight is linked to excess salt.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, and leafy greens such as spinach are all potassium-rich foods, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Water weight is not damaging to one’s health; in fact, the body is designed to hold some water. Rather, fatty tissue weight (also known as adipose tissue or fat mass) is a health risk. “Since fat mass weight is impossible to properly measure, total body weight is a substitute measure,” he writes.
“Excess fat mass causes metabolic health problems such as high cholesterol, insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and fatty liver disease.”
Can You Lose Weight with Other Dietary Water Sources?
According to Sass, water-rich foods such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, oranges, cucumber, yoghurt, and cottage cheese can supply up to 20% of your daily fluid requirement.
Water intake from food sources, however, might be difficult to estimate. “Because water is included in all foods [to varying degrees], it might be difficult to determine how much water one consumes on a daily basis,” Do explains.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you should examine the nutritional composition of each food, such as calories, carbs, and protein grammes, as well as how they’ll affect your entire diet.
Is Water Fasting a Good Weight Loss Option?
Water fasting is a sort of fasting in which only water is consumed. “Especially not on your own, without full medical supervision,” says Sass, who does not recommend the procedure. (In some cases, such as before a colonoscopy or blood tests, your doctor may advise you to fast temporarily.)
Most liquid-based fasts and cleanses, including water fasting, may result in temporary weight loss. However, there is little to no scientific proof that this eating strategy can lead to long-term weight loss.
While transient weight loss may be the only “positive,” the “con” list is long. What are some of the possible health risks? Kidney damage, dietary shortages, fainting, cognitive fog, weariness, and hormone level abnormalities in women are all things that Do mentions.