How Dehydration Affects Metabolism

Yes, I did it! I was really congested yesterday and had no energy, but forced myself to go to the gym to workout. I pushed myself as hard as I could. I haven’t sweated like that in a long time, partly due to the fact I was sick. But this morning I woke up and my nasal passageways were clear and I felt 90% of my usual self. So for those of you with colds who are making excuses not to exercise, get out there and sweat those bugs out. You may feel much better in the morning.

Speaking of my sweaty experience at the gym yesterday, I drank more water last night than I have in a lifetime. I was parched. I admit I haven’t been drinking the eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day that is recommended for proper hydration. I find water to be a tasteless bore and am not naturally inclined to glug the stuff down. As most of us know, however, water is an essential ingredient for a healthy body and I have written about its benefits in the previous post “Drinking Water is Important for Weight Loss and Health“. Particularly when you are trying to lose weight, drinking water is one of the best and easiest things you can do.

If you do not drink enough water to keep your body properly hydrated your metabolism will slow down.

If you do not drink enough water to keep your body properly hydrated your metabolism will slow down.

When dieting, you are advised to drink a lot of water. The amount varies, but at least eight cups of water a day are recommended. Many of us, however, skip this or do not pay close attention to how much we are really drinking because we feel people are making too big of a deal out of water intake. If you understand the effects that dehydration can have on your metabolism, and also how thirst can make you overeat, you may rethink your stand and start downing the right amounts of water each day.

Our bodies tell us when we need to drink more water. There is a balance needed to keep the body working at top form, and this can affect your metabolism and other important bodily functions. When we are kids, we know when we are thirsty and we ask for something to drink. As we get older, however, we lose the ability to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. At times, when we think we are hungry we actually need water. We can not tell the difference, so we eat. This is why when you are hungry between meals it is recommended that you drink a big glass of water. If your hunger is due to thirst then your hunger pangs should subside.

Your metabolism will slow if you are even slightly dehydrated, and three fourths of the population is always dehydrated without knowing it. Even if it only slows it down a little bit, this can be a problem when you are trying to lose weight. Water also helps keep your joints lubricated and it carries toxins from the body. You may be left feeling stiff all over and that can cause you to avoid exercise. You may be lethargic from toxins and that too will stop you from exercising.

If you add up all of the reasons why your metabolic rate may drop, you can see why something as simple as water is essential. Age can slow your metabolism, as can cutting back your calories. If you are not exercising enough, or if you are allowing long stretches between meals, your metabolism will be affected in a negative way. Making sure you get enough water can counteract some of that, though you should work on things you can control like exercising more and timing out your meals so you eat more often.

As you upgrade your water intake, keep something else in mind. There is a such thing as drinking too much water. It is very hard to do this, so you should be safe if you drink steady throughout the day instead of trying to down large amounts all at once. You should sip while you are exercising, but don’t guzzle to avoid an upset stomach. Eight 8-ounce glasses should be sufficient water to drink every day, but you can add more if you wish, especially if you are exercising more.

3 comments to How Dehydration Affects Metabolism

  • If you add up all of the reasons why your metabolic rate may drop, you can see why something as simple as water is essential. Age can slow your metabolism, as can cutting back your calories.

  • Skit

    Hey bro.. thanks for the info… I have a problem.. I been excercising and lost about 13 lbs.i’m now almost at my average weight. I been cutting back processed foods, mcdonalds all the garbage that I ate almost everyday for the past 5 years. And now that I’m determined to eat right I been feeling really stiff. I stiff all day for the last 3 days now. Like when i sit down and finally get up, My leg stiffens and i have to shake it off. And even internally when i breathe in deeply i feel like my lungs are stiff and won’t let me breathe out. Like its squeezing my lungs for a second. No pain. But i don’t know what it is. any suggestions???

  • Elyse

    This artical is great! I did want to point out one flaw, as it might pose a danger to uneducated readers… There is such a thing as too much water. Excess hypotonic fluid intake can dilute serum electrolytes in a condition called hyponatremia, or more commonly, “water toxicity”. This is why it is very important for people losing large amounts of fluid through sweat to use electrolyte replacement drinks as opposed to plain water. Hyponatremia gained attention from college fraternities that thought water was a harmless substitution for alcohol in hazing pranks, unfortunately leading to the death of several pledges by acute cardiac arrest. So yes, drink lots of water…it’s now recommended to have six 16-oz glasses a day, but make sure to get sufficient electrolytes as well!

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