Excess body weight refers to excessive fat accumulation in the body which the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as overweight and obesity. Excess body weight (fat accumulation) increases a person’s risk for food-related non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, and certain cancers. For health reasons, you want to keep off excess weight as much as possible. There are a number of healthy strategies you can employ to help keep off excess weight or to reduce excess weight if you are either overweight or obese. In this article, I am going to be showing your answer to the frequently asked question; Does drinking water help weight loss?
Water is one of the gifts of nature. Pure water is transparent, tasteless, odourless, and colourless substance, which is vital for all life, though it provides no calories or nutrients.
Why drinking water is good for you
Water is vital for sustaining life. The human body is made up of about 60% of water and the blood is about 90% water. The water we drink is used in maintaining the balance in the body and helps the organs especially the kidneys in performing the function of detoxifying the blood. Water is usually lost via the kidneys, the bowels, the skin and the lungs. The water lost needs to be replaced with liquids from food and drinks. When you drink enough water, you will be well-hydrated and the following benefits could be yours:
- The effective functioning of the digestive system. The bowel uses water to digest foods. When the body has enough supply, digestive problems such as constipation and heartburn will be prevented.
- Effective waste elimination. Water is used in the processes of sweating and removal of waste through the urine and faeces
- Regulation of the body temperature. Water in the body helps the skin to balance heat production with heat loss thereby keeping the body at a normal temperature for optimal functioning.
- Cushion support for the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues. Water helps the brain and the spinal cord to function effectively thereby preventing problems with mental functioning.
- Skin health is enhanced. When the skin is adequately hydrated, the skin is less vulnerable to skin disorders and premature ageing and wrinkles.
- Maintaining normal blood pressure. Water helps to ensure the volume of the blood thereby enabling the blood to flow at normal pressure around the circulatory system carrying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and organs.
- Lubrication of the joints. Water makes up about 80% of the cartilage of the joints and makes room for ease of movement around the joint, thereby preventing joint pains.
- Adequate production of saliva. Digestion of foods begins from the mouth with enzymes in the saliva. The saliva also helps to keep the mouth moist thereby preventing dryness and friction. Adequate intake of water helps to moisten the tissues of the mouth, nose and eyes.
- Effective transport of nutrients: Water helps to dissolve minerals and other nutrients for transport to where they are needed in the body. Water also helps in transporting nutrients and oxygen to the cells.
- Kidney functions. The kidneys help to regulate the body fluid through elimination in the urine. Adequate intake of water helps the kidney function effectively.
Does drinking water help weight loss? – absolutely yes
In addition to the many benefits of drinking water outlined above, you can benefit from the weight loss potential. When the body is adequately hydrated, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is at its best. The BMR is the rate at which the body utilizes energy at rest to perform the basic life-sustaining functions. The better the body is able to do this, the better it is to burn calories at an accelerated rate, thereby losing unwanted weight. The opposite is the case when the body is inadequately hydrated, the BMR is slow and the ability to lose unwanted weight is low.
Reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and drinking adequate water instead has been a repeated recommendation for obesity prevention and treatment guidelines. Water can help you to lose unwanted weight if you drink water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks, juices and soft drinks. Drinking a cup of water before meals will create in you a sense of fullness thereby preventing you from overeating. Drink water as a preferred alternative to sweetened drinks. Consider this scenario; sugar-sweetened drinks may provide an average of 400 kcal per day to your energy intake, which could correspond to over 18% of your total daily energy intake. If you replace sugar-sweetened drinks with water, it means you could reduce an average of 400 kcal per day. If this continues over a period of time, you are sure to drop some weight gradually over time. This is a healthy and sustainable weight loss. Research studies have demonstrated how water consumption as a replacement for sugar-sweetened beverages was used for weight reduction among overweight and obese participants with good success.
Experts’ recommendation for drinking water
Experts recommend that adults need to drink 6 – 8 cups of clean and safe water daily. There is no one recommendation fits all. Also, the amount needed by you will depend on your medical situation. For more information on this click here. Sometimes water may not be readily available in the environment of your work or chores. An important thing for you to note is that you don’t have to wait until you are thirsty before you drink water. A feeling of thirst is an indication of dehydration, a condition you don’t want your body to be too often. This is an indication for you to make plans for your water intake the way you plan for your food intake. You may wish to drink tea or coffee, this also contributes to your water intake. However, be advised to have it with little or no sugar. Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks to rehydrate is not advised. This is because they significantly contribute to excess energy intake and can lead to undesirable weight gain.
Reasons why people don’t drink enough water
People often give several reasons why they are not able to drink enough water or follow the recommendation of healthy water intake. The explanation varies from very personal to more general excuses. People often complain that water is a boring drink. Some do not see the need to drink water at all, not even during a meal. Others express the fact that they don’t feel thirsty so no need to drink water. Also, many people in this category perceive drinks such as sugar-sweetened drinks, fruit juices, and beverages as a good replacement for water. Others genuinely express the fact that they have limited opportunities to go to the toilet during their daily routine especially away from their home. Some people are simply not comfortable carrying their water with them whereas they do not have access to drinking water at work or where they go.
The fact is whatever the reasons are, they could be addressed. Moreover, the health consequences of not drinking enough water far outweigh the inconveniences any individual may experience. However, it should be noted that certain health conditions may limit the intake of water and such a situation are under the supervision of a physician.
Easy tips for drinking enough water
With a little adjustment and determination, you can easily meet the daily recommendation of 6 to 8 cups (approximately 1.5 – 2ltrs) of water per day. You will be helped by following these tips:
- Drink 2 cups (500ml) of water on an empty stomach in the morning. This has additional benefits of enhancing your metabolism, cleansing your system and stimulating your digestive system.
- Drink 1 cup of water after every meal (breakfast, lunch and supper)
- Keep a 750ml capacity water container with you at all times and drink from it between your
meals and as you wish. You may not use the water from this container as the 1 cup of water accompanying your breakfast, lunch and supper. If you do, be sure to replace it.
- Make sure you finish drinking the water in your container by the end of the day.
- To help you drink your water more readily, add slices of fruits such as lemon, strawberry, watermelon etc.
Adverse effect of inadequate intake of water
If you don’t drink enough water, your body will become dehydrated, your BMR will not be at its best and your ability to lose weight will be reduced. This further affirms the query; Does drinking water help weight loss? Also, dehydration can cause emotional and physical problems leading to tiredness, irritable behaviour and headache. When you feel thirsty, it is usually a sign that your body is already dehydrated. Prolonged dehydration may reduce lubrication at the joints leading to joints pain, lower back and constipation. The kidneys may become seriously deprived of water to effectively carry out its functions leading to serious health issues such as kidney stones and infections.
I hope I have been able to convince you of the immense benefits of drinking enough water every day. Therefore, I say yes to the question – Does drinking water help weight loss? In addition to these benefits is the fact that you can drop the unwanted weight in a healthy way. All it takes to achieve this is a stench determination while letting the numerous benefits motivate you. Go ahead and avail yourself. Be sure to share your success story with me.