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Water and Weight Loss

Water and Weight Loss

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On average, it is recommended that you should drink eight, 8oz. glasses of water every day for successful weight loss. This works out to be half a gallon, or almost 2 liters of water a day. That said, this is an average figure and is not set in stone. There are many factors that can increase or decrease the amount of water you need to be sipping or chugging each day.

Factors that Change Your Need for Water

There are many different factors that can change the quantity of water you should drink if you want to improve your weight loss.  While some of them may seem quite obvious to you, others may surprise you. Therefore, before you tell yourself that your rule of thumb is eight glasses of water each day, make sure you take the following into consideration.

  • Temperature – You need to drink water year-round, but your body’s need for more water to be hydrated increases the warmer the temperature is where you are. Therefore, if it’s the middle of summer or you spend a lot of time in an over-heated space, you will need more water to stay hydrated than you would if you’re cooler.
  • Physical Activity – The more physically active you are, the more water you will need to stay hydrated. The more you sweat, pant and work your way through your body’s existing water reserves, the more you will need to drink in order to replace them.
  • Illness – When you’re sick, you will generally need to drink more water to stay hydrated than you would if you were well and taking on the same amount of physical activity. Your body’s immune system uses quite a bit of water and depends on your proper hydration for your body’s other systems to keep functioning at their best throughout your illness.
  • Size – It makes sense that a much larger person requires more water to stay hydrated than someone who is quite petite. You can’t expect someone who is well over six feet tall to need the exact same amount of water as someone who hasn’t broken the five-foot mark.
  • Gender – Men typically need more water than women in order to stay hydrated. While the difference isn’t enormous, it remains noteworthy.
  • Age – Our water requirements fluctuate throughout our lives based on many different factors from size to metabolic rate, among others. The average 8 glasses are typically recommended to a healthy average adult. That said, babies, kids, teens and seniors may find that they need more or less than the average adult.
  • Diet – If you’re already eating many foods with a high water content, the odds are that you won’t need to drink as much water. If your diet is full of fruits and vegetables and other hydrating options such as soup, your body will still receive a surprising amount of water through those ingredients. Moreover, if you’re in the habit of having an herbal tea in the afternoon, for instance, then that counts toward your hydration needs as well.

How Water Helps with Weight Loss

Drinking water helps with many aspects of losing weight. Firstly, it is a calorie-free beverage, which makes it the best choice over anything else. Secondly, drinking a large glass of water can help curb food cravings and appetite. Finally, drinking water helps to keep your body hydrated, which is essential in maintaining a good metabolism.

Here are some ways water helps with weight loss:

  • Drinking a big glass of water whenever you feel hungry and before a meal or snack fills the stomach briefly and makes you feel fuller and stop eating sooner.
  • Breaking down body fat and body muscle during weight loss produces wastes that must be eliminated through the kidneys. Drinking enough water is important to keep the kidneys functioning to remove these wastes.
  • Popular high-protein diets produce more waste products from digestion, let alone from breaking down stored fat.
  • Kidney function is even more important when on a high-protein diet.
  • Drinking more water does not "flush fat."
  • If the dieter is drinking plain water, he/she is less likely to be drinking something with calories in it.

 If you want an added benefit from water, drink cold water. Doing this will make your body have to work a bit to warm up the water and will burn a few extra calories.

Drinking Water and Your Metabolism

Drinking 500 mL of water (a half-liter or about a pint) increased the study participants’ metabolism briefly - for about a half hour. In that time, they burned an extra 25 calories. That’s about a quarter of a piece of sliced bread, or 5 M&Ms. The researchers theorized that most of the effect comes from warming the water in the stomach. In the male participants the calories came mostly from stored fat, in the women it came from stored carbohydrates. The paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, December 2003. It was conducted by researchers in Berlin.