If you are trying to lose weight, you have probably been advised to take a lot more water. In fact, approximately 30-60% of adults in the US who try to slim down are increasing their water intake (1, 2). It is certainly a useful tool in every dieter’s arsenal when weight loss is a goal. Several studies claim that increasing your water intake may help benefit weight loss and maintenance (3). Also, hydration is key for several factors that play a huge role not only in weight loss but for general health too.
But, how much of an influence water consumption have on weight loss? How much water do you need to drink? In this article, you’ll learn about the many reasons why water can help you lose weight as well as its other health benefits. We’ll also discuss how much water you should drink daily along with some tips to boost your consumption.
How Can Water Help You Lose Weight?
1. It Is A Natural Appetite Suppressant
Many people claim that drinking water before meals can help reduce appetite.
Feelings of fullness will send signals to your brain to stop you from eating. Water can certainly help take up some space in your stomach, creating a sense that it is full, thus reducing hunger.
People may also think that they are hungry when in reality, they are only thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before eating something can help curb unnecessary snacking.
Another study on overweight females showed that drinking 500 ml of water 30 minutes before a meal, in addition to your regular water intake, for 8 weeks can help reduce your body weight, body fat, and body mass index (6).
2. It Increases Calorie Burning
Drinking water can help increase the number of calories you burn at rest, which is also known as resting energy expenditure (5). This only includes the energy cost of respiration, cardiac output, body temperature regulation, and other functions of the sympathetic nervous system.
Overweight and obese kids also showed a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure after drinking cold water (9). This result is even more impressive. It appears that when you drink cold water, your body uses extra calories to warm the water up to body temperature.
3. It Removes Toxic Wastes from the Body
If you are dehydrated, you cannot remove wastes as urine or feces effectively. Water helps your kidneys filter toxins and wastes while absorbing essential nutrients and electrolytes. If you do not drink enough water, it will also retain fluids.
Dehydration causes constipation and hard or lumpy stools. Water keeps waste moving by softening hardened feces.
Water may also help your body recover from digestive problems, including indigestion and diarrhea.
When wastes accumulate in the body, you will feel fatigued and bloated. Bloating can add inches to your waist.
Keeping yourself well hydrated is an excellent way to avoid retaining wastes, which gives you a few extra pounds.
4. It Decreases Overall Liquid Calorie Intake
It is very easy to get more liquid calories by drinking soda, juices, coffee, and tea. Many are not also aware of the number of calories they consume in sports drinks or alcoholic beverages.
Evidence found that substituting 2 or more high-caloric drinks for water or other non-caloric beverages such as herbal tea daily for 6 months can give you an average weight loss of 2-2.5% (13).
Another study showed that drinking 250 ml of water after lunch daily while attending a 24-week weight loss program can help you lose nearly 14% more weight (14).
People who replace one serving of sugary drinks for water or any low-calorie drink daily for 4 years had 0.49 fewer kilograms (15).
5. It Helps Burn Fat
Without water, you cannot properly metabolize carbs or stored fat. The process of metabolizing fat is known as lipolysis. The initial step in this process is hydrolysis, which occurs when water molecules interact with triglycerides or fats to produce glycerol and fatty acids.
Hydration is important for burning off fat from the diet, as well as the reserved ones. A review of studies showed that increased water intake boosted lipolysis and loss of fat in animals (16).
6. It Boosts Physical Performance
If you do not drink more water, your physical performance may suffer. This is very important during intense exercise or high heat.
Dehydration can have noticeable effects even if you only lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content. This can cause an alteration in your body temperature control, increased fatigue, reduced motivation, making it more difficult for you to exercise (17).
Drinking more water is effective in preventing this from happening. It can also help reduce oxidative stress that may occur during high-intensity workouts. This should not be surprising at all, considering that our muscles are made up mostly of water, 80% (18, 19).
So if you do physical activities regularly and tend to sweat a lot, drink more water to help you perform at your best.
What Are The Other Health Benefits of Drinking More Water?
Water, a low-cost drink that is both refreshing and hydrating, does not only help you hydrate and lose weight; it is beneficial for your general health too. Increasing your water intake can offer you a slew of health benefits:
1. It Lubricates the Joints
Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
2. It Forms Saliva and Mucus
Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consumed instead of sweetened beverages, it can also reduce tooth decay.
3. It Delivers Oxygen Throughout the Body
Blood is more than 90% water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
4. It Is Good for Your Skin
With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
5. It Cushions the Brain, Spinal cord, and Other Organs and Tissues
Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.
6. It Regulates Body Temperature
Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin’s surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. In sport.
Some scientists have suggested that when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain.
Having a lot of water in the body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise. However, more research is needed for these effects.
7. It Maintains Blood Pressure
A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
8. It Prevents Respiratory Problems
When dehydrated, airways are restricted by the body in an effort to minimize water loss. This can make asthma and allergies worse.
9. It Treats Headaches
Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines in some individuals. Therefore, increasing your water intake can help relieve this symptom.
10. It Protects the Kidneys
The kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Higher fluid intake increases the volume of urine passing through the kidneys, which dilutes the concentration of minerals, so they are less likely to crystallize and form clumps.
11. It Reduces Hangovers
When partying, unsweetened soda water with ice and lemon alternated with alcoholic drinks can help prevent overconsumption of alcohol.
Alcohol is a diuretic, so it makes you lose more water than you take in and causes dehydration. Although dehydration is not the main cause of hangovers, it can cause symptoms like thirst, fatigue, headache, and dry mouth.
One good way to reduce hangovers is to drink a glass of water between drinks and to have at least one big glass of water before going to bed.
12. It Promotes Brain Health
Your brain is strongly influenced by hydration status. Mild dehydration can impair several aspects of brain function, including mood, memory, and concentration. It also affects feelings of fatigue and anxiety.
How Much Water Is Needed to Lose Weight?
How can you know if you’re getting enough water to keep your metabolism cranking at peak efficiency and your digestive system functioning? Honestly, there isn’t a “one size fits all” formula but many health authorities recommend drinking eight, 8-oz glasses of water or about 2 liters per day.
Some people may require more or less water, depending on a variety of factors, including:
- Activity level
- Body size
- Sun exposure
- Health status
If you exercise and sweat a lot regularly, you may need to drink more. Older people and nursing moms may also have higher requirements.
As a good rule of thumb, you should always drink water when you’re thirsty and drink enough to quench your thirst.
As most studies would suggest, drinking 1-2 liters of water per day should be sufficient to help with weight loss.
Tips to Increase Your Water Intake
Getting in the recommended 8-10 glasses a day can be difficult. To help you get on the right track of using water to your weight loss advantage, here are some tips to follow:
1. Add Flavor to Your Water
You can add a little bit of excitement and flavor by steeping fresh fruits, veggie slices, and herbs in your carafe. These tasty add-in combinations will make your water tastier.
2. Sip Before Every Meal
If you are cooking at home, sip while you cook and prep. If you’re out at a restaurant, ask for water when the server comes around to take drink orders. If you’re waiting for your lunch to heat up or your toast to pop, drink water while doing it. Even if you’re putting together a snack, drink that water. It’s just a simple rule that will help you drink more water. Once you establish these little “rules,” you’ll find that you’re doing it almost automatically without having to think about it or put much effort into it at all.
3. Dilute Sugary Drinks with Water and Ice
If you’re drinking something extra sweet like juice, lemonade, or iced tea, water down your beverage by adding ice or even diluting a cup with some water. You’ll still get the sweetness you’re craving and have some extra water at the same time.
4. Eat Water-Rich Foods
One sneaky way to increase the amount of water you consume on a daily basis is to eat your H2O. Add fruits and vegetables with a high water content to your grocery shopping list. Some top picks include cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, and grapefruit.
5. Stick to A One-to-One Rule When Drinking Alcohol
You’ve probably heard the drinking rule “one alcoholic drink equals one glass of water.” This is a great strategy to stay hydrated while imbibing!
6. Keep A Gallon Jug Nearby
Put a jag in your workplace, near your bed, on the kitchen counter, and in other areas, at home where you always walk by so, you will always be reminded to drink water. It’s easy to remember to fill up on water when the source is nearby.
7. Get Into Herbal Tea
What is tea but deliciously flavored water? Drink it hot in the winter and ice it in summer. Whether you like citrus, floral, spicy, or even chocolate, there’s a tea out there for you. A hot mug of tea on a winter afternoon or an ice-cold glass in the summer is just about the best two things ever. Lean into tea, form a tea habit, and enjoy the hydration.
Water can really be a helpful tool for weight loss. It can help you burn more calories and curb appetite. The benefits are even greater if you substitute it for sugary drinks.
However, you must remember that this is just one piece of the puzzle. Lifestyle modification, which includes a healthy diet and exercise are still needed to lose a significant amount of weight.