The short answer is YES! Water is essential for overall health. Our body is made up of 70% water and is required for many metabolic functions. The more hydrated you are the more efficiently your body can perform daily tasks from thinking and burning fat.
While there are many contributors and predispositions that can affect your body weight, if your goal is long-term, moderate weight loss, making sure you’re hydrated is key. Science suggests that water can help with weight loss in a variety of ways. It may suppress your appetite, boost your metabolism, and make exercise easier and more efficient, all of which could contribute to results on the scale.
- Water may naturally suppress your appetite. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger within the brain. Always grab a glass of water first before reaching for the snacks, especially if it’s only been a few hours since you’ve eaten. Drinking water can promote satiation because it passes through the system quickly and stretches the stomach, signaling to the brain fullness.
- Water may stimulate your metabolism. Drinking water appears to stimulate thermogenesis, or heat production, in the body, particularly when it’s chilled. The body has to expend energy to warm the fluid to body temperature, and the more energy expended by your body, the faster your metabolism runs. A small study back in 2003 published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that drinking cold water increased metabolism 30%.
- Drinking water could help reduce your overall liquid calorie intake. Water contains no calories. Choosing water instead of higher calorie alternatives such as juice, soda, or sweetened tea, even coffee and alcohol, can reduce your overall liquid calorie intake by 250 calories. Also to note: Although diet soda contributes no calories, replacing these with water may be a factor that contributes to weight loss in certain groups of people.
- Water helps with removal of toxins from the body. Water is needed for urine production. The more hydrated you are, the easier it is for your system to move things along and the less likely you are to suffer from constipation and bloating. Also, adequate hydration promotes kidney function, flushes harmful bacteria from the urinary tract, and prevents kidney stones, which can occur with more concentrated urine.
- The body needs water to burn fat. The process by which the body burns fat for energy is called lipolysis, and the first step requires water. Mild dehydration can slow lipolysis and therefore metabolism.
- Water may improve motivation and reduce stress. Dehydration increases the production of cortisol, our stress hormone. Under times of stress we often don’t make the healthiest decisions.
- Water can boost brain function. Water composes 73% of the brain. Even a slight level of dehydration can impair your performance in tasks that require attention, cognitive functions, physical movement, and immediate memory skills.
- Water keeps joints lubricated. Water is a component of our synovial fluid. This is what lubricates and cushions the joints and cartilage surrounding them, keeping bones from rubbing together.
It only takes about a 3% reduction in fluid to negatively affect all these areas. Staying hydrated is important to our overall health, not just weight loss. Unless otherwise directed, we have a goal of 96-128oz’s of water daily. Start early, strive to consume 30-40oz before the afternoon. Infusing water with fruits and herbs is an easy way to add flavor without the added sugar.