Water is life, yes indeed it is life and it makes a huge part of the body weight. This article will discuss the critical importance of water to the body especially on how to drink water for weight loss. More than half of the composition of the human body is water though it varies under different factors like age, body fats, and gender.
Water is the heaviest thing in our body besides the bones and is the first thing to lose during weight loss. Therefore drinking water in a special way can help you to lose weight.
When you restrict calorie intake the body gets its energy by using glycogen, which bound to the body by water, hence water is released when glycogen is used up. You can stay months without food but you can’t last a few weeks without water. Water is used for many body processes and we need it to live.
In spite of this, we constantly lose water through respiration, sweating, and urination that needs to be replenished, unfortunately, many of us don’t drink enough water. When we are dehydrated many vital body processes like digestion, respiration, circulation, and excretion processes suffer.
Water is also an agent in the body for weight loss. Yes, by just drinking water each day you can reshape your body weight and ensure good health. This article seeks to guide you on how you can use water for weight loss.
What much of the body is water?
Let us begin by looking at the body composition of water and where is it stored. On average normal weight adult male is about 60 percent water while an average adult woman is about 55 percent because women naturally have more fatty tissue than men.
People who have a high percentage of body fat have a lower percentage of water compared to lean people. Infants have high water levels of about 75 percent that drop to 65 percent before they reach their first birthday because they start gaining fatty tissues.
In general, about 2/3 of total body water is intracellular (fluid within the cells) while the remaining 1/3 is the extracellular fluid (fluid outside the cells), the balance is regulated by a semipermeable cell membrane and minerals such as potassium and sodium.
The body organs have different water composition, for example, the lungs 83%, muscle and kidneys 79%, Brain and heart 73%, skin 64% and bones 31%. The blood is composed of a high percentage of water about 90% and it helps to carry essential oxygen and nutrients to body cells.
The table below summarizes the range and average water percentage for normal weight males and females with reference to their age.
|Adults||Ages 12 to 18||Ages 19 to 50||Ages 51 and older|
|Female||Range 49% to 63%
Average of 59%
|Range 41 to 60%
Average of 50%
|Range 39 to 57%
Average of 60%
|Male||Range 52 to 66%
Average of 59%
|Range 43 to 73%
Average of 59%
|Range 47 to 67%
Average of 56%
How to drink water to lose weight
Everybody drinks water for a living but drinking water in different ways can help to lose weight and improves the overall health of an individual.
- Drinking a glass of water before a meal has shown to promote weight loss. A study was done by the American Chemical Society comparing two groups of study participants who were taking the same low calories meals except that the other group was taking their meal with water.
The study revealed that after 12 weeks those people who were taking water with meal lost on average 5 more pounds than participants of the other group.
- Drink water when you feel hungry is also another way to help you lose weight. When we dehydrated the body will always send signals demanding for water but unfortunately, those signals often mimic hunger and some people will perceive thirst as hunger, so by drinking water instead of food especially during the mid-morning or mid-afternoon helps to remove these fake hunger feelings.
By just being well hydrated, you will be surprised at how much calories you will save yourself from as time goes. You will never have these fake hunger feelings outside your mealtime.
- Drink water instead of all other types of beverages during your mealtime. For example, a can of soda will contain over 130 calories while an 8-ounce glass of juice contains about 120 calories, so if you drink water instead of these beverages you will notice that by end of two weeks you will avoid consuming an extra 3500 calories or more thus equal to a pound. Drinking water during a meal also helps you to eat less.
So how does water help you to lose weight?
Taking a glass of water before a meal helps you to feel full and eat less thus lowering your consumption of calories, which assist to lose your weight. Drinking water in this way may help you to reduce the amount of calorie intake of about 75 calories per meal. Keeping yourself well hydrated helps to put your appetite under control and prevent those hunger pangs and the food cravings.
Drinking water instead of soda, juices and sweetened beverages help to prevent consumption of some more calories contained in those drinks. Enough water also helps to make people less likely to take sugary filled beverages. Studies have reviewed that replacing two or more high caloric beverages for water 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.
Water is very essential for the fat-burning body process called lipolysis. The process involves hydrolysis which is water molecules interacting with fats. Therefore, keeping yourself well hydrated helps the body to metabolize stored fats as well as fat from the food.
Water also has the tendency to increase the body resting energy consumption thus the number of calories burned while resting. One study indicated that people who drink 500mls of cold and room temperature water experienced 2 to 3% more calories burning than usual.
Water lubricates and cushions your joints; this is essential when you are exercising for not only will this prevent you from joint pain but also it extends the time for exercise. Making you feel invigorated and refreshed.
How much water is enough per day?
Too much of everything is bad for your health, now you need to know how much water should an individual drink per day? The water requirement varies per individual depending on different factors like body weight, activity level, age, sun exposure, health status, and weather.
The amount of water you drink per day for weight loss will mostly depend on body size, weight, activity level and the weather of the day. Mostly you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh every day.
On a very hot day, you are more likely to lose more water through sweating, respiration this implies that your water intake for this day can be revved up unlike on a cold day.
Moreover, your activity level plays a huge role in how much water you will drink on that day. The more active you are, the more likely you will lose more water through sweating and respiration and the more water you will drink. Most of the exercises to lose weight will require you to be well hydrated before, during and even after.
You have heard of the saying that a person should drink 8 glasses of water a day, which has been criticized by some researchers as propaganda for some companies to promote their sale on water. The 8 eight glasses rule generalizes everybody despite different factors that may determine the water intake per individual.
How to gauge your water requirements
The body was well-designed with all the mechanisms to alert you when the need for water arises, mostly you will feel thirsty when your body needs a water supply.
Once your body has lost 1 and 2 percent of its total water content it signals you to supply it with water; probably thus when the feeling of thirsty develops and you get some water. However, this tendency becomes ineffective with age, older people are likely not to feel thirsty despite being dehydrated and the same is also true in children because their thirst mechanism is undeveloped hence they won’t feel thirsty even though they need water.
The urine color can also help you to gauge the body water requirement, mostly light or pale urine indicates that there is adequate water in your body, while dark yellow colored urine implies that your kidneys are retaining fluids in order to maintain normal levels of water. Hence, this is a clear sign that there is inadequate water in your body and that you need to drink some water.
Using your urine to gauge your water requirements can be compromised by other things such as drugs like Riboflavin (vitamin B2) has the ability to turn urine color to bright fluorescent yellow.
Another gauge for measuring water requirement is the frequency of urination, a healthy person should urinate on average about seven or eight times a day although this frequency may change depending on the weather, activity level and many other factors. If your urine is scant or if you haven’t urinated in several hours there may be a need for more water.
You can also gauge water needs basing on signs and symptoms such as; fatigue, dizziness, mood swings, muscle cramps, headache, joint ache, dull dry skin, constipation, and pronounced wrinkles. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to use them as they are also related to many diseases or illnesses. If you experience one of these signs and symptoms try to take some water if it does go away then consult your doctor
The quality of water
It should also be noted that the quality of water that you drink each day matters much for your health.
The best water to drink is naturally clean, purified and has naturally occurring minerals; this includes water from a hole drilled to the ground, water from natural springs and mineral waters from an underground source containing dissolved solids including minerals and traced elements.
Reversed osmosis water has been filtered through membranes that remove larger particles, pollutants, and minerals. Basically, it is acidic in nature thus it is also unhealthy to be consuming this type of water quality.
Bottled water also deserves some proper scrutiny; sometimes it can be contaminated with dangerous toxins from some plastic water bottles.
Tap water is processed, disinfected and purified by chlorine or fluoridation. However, there are some health risks correlated to these ways of treating water. Distilled water has no minerals that are essential for our body but not associated with health complications like tap water.
On the same note, Deionized water is mostly water that has had ionized impurities and minerals removed from it but not pathogens and bacteria. Hence, this quality of water can be associated with bacteria-caused diseases; mostly it is not safe to drink.
Side effects of drinking too much water
Just like too much of anything is bad for you, drinking too much water (overhydration) is bad for your health and is associated with its own side effects as discussed below:
Drinking too much water is associated with a condition called hyponatremia (decreased blood serum sodium levels below 136 mmol/liter blood serum). This happens due to drinking water too fast without giving enough time to your body to get lid of it. The person may present with symptoms such as nausea, disoriented, fatigue and headache. In severe cases, death may occur.
The hyponatremia causes the body cells to swell up by osmosis through the semipermeable cell membrane. This has serious consequences on muscle damages and other organs. Hyponatremia can cause the brain to swell resulting in psychosis, speech disability, disorientation, and even death.
Overhydration also resulted in an increase in blood volume that put extra pressure on the blood vessels and the heart, in some case it can lead to seizures. It also put extra pressure on the kidneys to maintain homeostasis, which can lead to frequent urination, as you have to go to the washroom now and again.
Depending on the source of water you are drinking, overhydration can also lead to poisoning with some other water contaminants like chlorine overdose leading to multiple health problems.
Drinking too much water can lead to a reduction of potassium ions levels resulting in a condition called hypokalemia, which can result in severe diarrhea and prolonged sweating.
Note: when you notice any sign of overhydration stop any water intake and seek medical intervention if you notice no change. Not everyone is at risk of overhydration only a few people are more prone to overhydration such as those with kidney problems.
Take home message
Understanding how to drink water for weight loss and make it part of your weight loss plan can positively help burn calories. The hunger may not always be hunger, therefore by just keeping yourself well hydrated and your appetite will be under control, as already discussed often times signals of dehydration may present as hunger and if you respond to it by taking some food you are just adding unnecessary calories.
Replacing beverages with water can save you from some extra calories over a period of time that can assist you to lose some pounds.
The amount of water needed to maintain optimal hydration status varies per individual throughout the day depending on different factors, therefore you have to listen to your body and keep yourself hydrated. Get extra water with you when doing the physical activity or exercises.
The quality of water matters for your overall health, so makes sure you are taking a good quality of water.