Diet Blog

Water for weight loss

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Eight glasses of water a day- it’s what we’ve all been told we need for as long as we can remember. But how many of us actually practice this? It might not sound important, but drinking water does actually give your body a lot of benefits that support your weight loss goals. Here are some of the main reasons to fill up your water bottle and get drinking…

It has no calories

When we’re carefully counting our calories, what could be better than a drink we can consume as often as we like without affecting our calorie total? A lot of the time, we don’t really think about the calorie content of our drinks, but juices, soft drinks and cordials are quite high in calories, and they do start to add up.

Water has no calories, and so it won’t affect your daily energy intake, but it still makes you feel energised and refreshed. If you can replace some of your daily beverages with water, you can save a lot of calories and still get the energy and satisfaction you need.

Dehydration can be mistaken for hunger

Often when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just dehydrated. Water accounts for 50-80% of lean body mass, and dehydration of as little as 2% can start to impact your body noticeably, reducing your physiological performance and responses.

Studies have shown that thirst and hunger sensations are triggered together, so that sometimes when we really need water, we start to crave food. And because most food contains some water, you might be subconsciously driven to eat more to gain the water supply your body needs.

So by drinking enough water during the day, you are less likely to consume extra calories to get the water you need from food. Make sure you are always well hydrated and you’ll be more in control of your calorie intake.

It can make you eat less

Some recent research has shown that drinking water before a meal can be a good strategy for weight loss. The theory is that drinking water slows down the emptying of contents from the stomach, therefore making you feel fuller for longer, so that you feel more satisfied after the meal.

This, combined with the confusion of thirst and hunger explained above means that drinking more water before and with your meal can help you to eat less and feel fuller, making it much easier to stay within your daily calorie limits.

It may boost your metabolism

Your body needs water to function. Being well-hydrated means that all the functions within the body can occur quickly and efficiently. It has been suggested that because all chemical processes involve chemical metabolism, drinking plenty of water can actually boost your metabolic rate, meaning that you burn calories faster.

This is most effective if you drink water with ice, or chilled from the fridge. When the water enters the body cold, it needs to be warmed up in the stomach, and this causes the body to burn more calories.

It has been suggested that drinking the recommended eight glasses of water- and adding in a few ice cubes- can help you to burn an average of 70 extra calories a day. This might not sound like a lot, but it all adds up, and the numerous other health benefits of staying hydrated makes it well worthwhile. 

Getting into the water habit

So when you’re trying to lose weight, and especially when you are embarking on an exercise program, make a commitment to include plenty of water in your daily diet to give your body the support it needs.

Get into the habit of carrying a water bottle with you and drinking throughout the day. Try replacing some of your usual beverages with water, and start each meal with a glass or two.

If you want a bit more flavour, try adding some lemon to water for a refreshing and hydrating drink. Or, you can get some of your water intake from green tea- which is also a good little metabolism booster.

Drinking more water will make you feel more energised, more satisfied, and more able to go about your daily routines. And best of all, it’s free. So drink up, and support your body while working towards your weight loss goals.

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