Weight Loss and Dehydration – The Facts

When you are dehydrated, climbing onto the scales may reveal a sudden loss in pounds – leaving you contemplating the possible “benefits” of drinking less. However, the truth is that even if you’re hoping to lose weight – dehydration is not the answer!

fit woman with water

Reducing the amount you drink may feel like a quick fix, but you need water to survive, and dehydration can become a life-threatening problem if allowed to persist. The aim should be to reduce unnecessary fat – not cut down on the water your body needs to function. Furthermore, dehydration could inhibit your fat loss, making you keep weight on – or gain even more.

The best way to enhance weight loss is to know all of the facts. So how does water relate to weight gain?

The Dehydration Problem

Water is essential to health and wellbeing. Depending on your age and weight, the amount of water in your body ranges from 50% to 75%. Water has a role in almost every biological function of your body, meaning that if you’re in a dehydrated state – everything will start to slow down, from your energy production, to your metabolism. Without the right amount of water in your system your ability to burn calories suffers too, meaning that you are more likely to keep weight on, and could even accumulate some extra pounds.

Studies suggest that around 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, leading to a number of issues. After all, water helps our body to:

  • Transport nutrients
  • Lubricate joints
  • Create cell to cell communication
  • Heal wounds and fight disease

How Water Helps Us Lose Weight

Water is effective at suppressing the appetite, reducing the amount of sodium in the body, and allowing muscle tone to develop. On the other hand – when you’re dehydrated – it can be difficult to distinguish between thirst and hunger, resulting in a higher calorie intake throughout the day. Often, if you’re feeling hungry, you may find that drinking a glass of water satisfies your cravings and leaves you with fewer calories to burn.  An experiment conducted by the University of Washington found that a single glass of water eliminated late-night hunger pangs for almost all dieters involved within the study.

What’s more, lack of water can impact your ability to exercise, as hydration regulates your temperature and promotes good muscle performance – leading to a productive workout. If you’re dehydrated, your energy levels are likely to drop, reducing your chances of committing to a workout in the first place.

Most people should drink anywhere up to half of their body weight in ounces of water on a daily basis. However, the recommended intake falls at approximately 1.6 liters for women and 2 liters for men. The amount of water you should be getting on a regular basis will vary according to your personal circumstances and factors such as levels of activity, temperature, and body size. After all – the more you sweat, the more water you need.

Signs of Dehydration

There are numerous symptoms associated with dehydration. For example, you may find that you don’t urinate as often as usual, or that your mouth feels dry. Unfortunately, around 37% of the American population has such a weakened response to thirst that the symptoms of dehydration are regularly mistaken for hunger. Some signs to look out for include:

  • Consistent tiredness or fatigue
  • Inability to produce tears when crying
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Rapid breathing or heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Low blood pressure
  • Constipation or decreased urine output

Thirst is not always a reliable measure of how much the body needs water, especially in older adults and children. A better indicator is the color of your urine: dark or amber colors signal dehydration, whereas clear or light-colored urine suggests good hydration.

Lose Calories – Not Fluids

The key to safe, healthy weight loss – without the threat of dehydration, is drinking plenty of water and managing a diet full of lean proteins, antioxidants, and nutrients. Researchers suggest that over the course of a year, people who increase their water consumption by as little as 1.5 liters every day could burn an extra 17,400 calories – that’s five pounds! A good thing to keep in mind is that if you feel thirsty – you’re already dehydrated. Try to keep a cold bottle of water nearby at all times, and remind yourself to frequently re-hydrate – you’ll soon start to see the difference.

Do you think that you drink enough water now, or do you believe that hydration is less important than studies suggest? Let us know your thoughts on water and wellbeing.

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