Water is one of the most important things to our survival. However, we often forget to drink enough. Days can go by before we realize we're dehydrated and get some real water. We survive on sodas, water coming from fruit and vegetables we eat and so on.
As a result, our skin becomes dry and lifeless, same happens to our hair, our mood worsens and we can’t wake up so easily.
But did you know that water could change all of that? And did you know that you can drink water to lose weight?
Read further to find out more.
How Much Weight Can You Lose by Drinking Water?
For a very long time, people thought that just by drinking more water they could lose weight. While water can help, on its own – meaning, if you don’t change your diet and start exercising – water won’t do you much good. However, there are ways water can help you lose weight.
Drinking regular water can increase the amount of calories that you burn during rest time – by as much as 25-30% within 10 minutes of drinking the water. A study on overweight or obese children found a 25% increase in calorie loss during resting. One study concluded that water alone results in extra 2kg of weight loss in a year. Cold water helps increase the burn because your body spends calories to warm up.
Many other studies found same or similar results – water does lead to weight loss but it’s not that substantial unless paired up with other weight loss methods.
Drinking water can also help by reducing your appetite. If you drink a glass of water before a meal, you can end up eating less because you’ll feel fuller sooner. Drinking water before every meal has shown to decrease weight by 2kg over 12 weeks.
The results were especially impressive in older and middle-aged people.
Drinking water is also linked to reducing calorie intake and less weight gain. This is because water is calorie-free. You can skip the empty calories when you replace other beverages which are often sweet and contain excessive amounts of sugar.
People who mostly drink water have up to a 9% less calorie intake. Increase your daily water consumption 1 cup at a time. If you drink just a cup more per day, you’ll reduce weight gain by 0.13kg. Replace other drinks with water and you’ll reduce the average weight gain by 0.5kg. This is why it’s so important to give children plenty of water instead of sugary drinks.
How Much Water You Should be Drinking
Did you know that your body is about 60% water? Considering the fact that you are always losing water via sweat and urine, you need to drink the right amount of water to make up for that loss.
However, opinions on optimal water intake may differ from professional to professional. Most people know about the oft-repeated eight 8-ounce glasses per day or 2 liters or water per day. But, some health experts say that you should take water constantly throughout the day, no matter how much you've already had.
What does this mean for you?
Your water intake will depend solely on you. Internal and external factors are different for different individuals.
Keep in mind that it’s not only water that counts as fluids that enter your body. Other drinks and meals count as well. Coffee or tea, especially if not sweetened, are an excellent way to take plenty of fluids which are not water. Food is also loaded with water. You can eat meat, fish, eggs and get extra intake of water from them.
Not to mention fruits and vegetables which are mostly water.
These can help you keep your fluid levels in balance too.
General recommendation when it comes to water intake – from real health experts who have done numerous studies – is that you should trust your thirst. Our bodies have a system which is usually pretty in tune. When you really need water, your body asks for it by making you thirsty. It’s as natural as breathing and you don’t have to think about it.
So, the 8×8 rule is wrong, and completely arbitrary.
However, if you exercise more, you should drink plenty of extra water because you are also losing a lot of it. Hot weather also calls for more water. Breastfeeding is another case when you should take more water. When you have nausea or diarrhea, you need more water too.
Older people should also watch their water intake because this mechanism starts to fail as we get older.
In the end, no one can say how much water is the perfect amount for you. Everyone is different. Experiment to see what works for you. More water may work wonders for some people and for some it can just result in too many trips to the bathroom.
But, the general formula stands – drink when thirsty, don’t drink when not thirsty.
Can You Lose Belly Fat by Drinking Water?
Water can be really useful in weight loss but drinking water can’t really help you lose stomach fat. That excess will come off, however, with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.
However, weight loss is an important part of this and you should try to use water in these ways:
- Drink water before your meals, it reduces your appetite.
- Replace sugary drinks and similar beverages with water.
- Drink water to burn more calories while resting.
- If you are exercising to lose weight, drink plenty of water to make up for the amount lost by sweating.
To lose stomach fat, you need to stick to a healthy diet high in calcium, sleep 8 hours every night and exercise regularly.
Drinking Water Tips
Drinking more water every day is often easier said than done. Sometimes it just seems boring, at worst annoying. However, there are some simple tricks that can help you intake more water if that is your goal.
- Add some flavor to your water by adding veggie or fruit slices and let it sit.
- Take a glass of water after every bathroom break.
- Drink a glass before every meal.
- Download a fun app and track your intake.
- Get a high-tech water bottle that helps you track your consumption.
- Keep a gallon bottle nearby.
- Pack a water bottle everywhere.
- Buy a filter if you don't like the taste of your tap water.
- Drink mineral or sparkling water.
- Eat food that’s rich in water.
- For every serving of alcohol, drink one glass of water.
- Use a water bottle marked with hours at which you should drink water and some encouraging statements.
- Every time you empty a bottle or a glass, fill it up again.
- Drink herbal infusions.
- Use straws, it might be more fun for you.
Is Water Fasting Dangerous?
Fasting has existed for thousands of years. There are many types of fasting and water fasting is one of them. It means that you can’t eat or drink anything but water. It’s gotten more popular recently because it sounds like a simple way to lose weight quickly.
Water fasting can have some health benefits. For one, it can lower risk of chronic diseases. It can also stimulate your body to reproduce newer cells.
Most of the water fasts last around 24-72 hours. Water fasting longer than this is dangerous, especially if you're not explicitly under your doctor's guidance.
People mainly try it for the health benefits. Studies have shown that this means cancer risks, heart diseases and diabetes risk decreases. Many popular fasting methods like lemon fast are based on water fasting. However, you can’t do them for too long.
People with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, older people, pregnant women and children should not try the water fast. People who have never fasted should prepare their body by eating smaller portions and less food. During the water fast, you shouldn’t take anything but water. You can do this for up to 72 hours after which you have to stop or your health could worsen quickly.
You might feel weak or dizzy while it lasts. After the fast, you should stay away from eating big meals because you might get strange symptoms. Break the fast with a smoothie or something small. The post-fast phase lasts a day or more.
Here are some of the risk factors of fasting:
- Lose the wrong type of weight – water, muscle or carbs.
- Can become dehydrated – if you take the same amount of water you usually do.
- Get orthostatic hypotension – a drop in blood pressure when you stand up suddenly.
- It can worsen a medical condition that’s already there.
Water fasts allow you to lose as much as 1kg per day of fasting. However, this weight will most likely come from muscles, carbs and water. The weight will likely come back. Water fasting can be dangerous and doesn’t bring truly amazing results. Keep in mind that the only way to really lose weight effectively is to eat healthier and less, sleep better, exercise more and drink enough water to support that. Other methods might bring quick results but they are hard to maintain in the long run.
Are you staying super hydrated? Share your best H2O tips down below!