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How does water help with weight loss?

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The more tools you have to use on your weight loss journey, the more successful you’re going to be. One of the most accessible tools at your disposal is a resource essential to our survival—water. 

Proper hydration helps curb your appetite, boost your energy, and improve your overall health. To that end, keep reading to learn more about: 

  • When to drink water

  • How much water you need

  • Our six favorite reasons to drink water

  • Ways to ensure you stay hydrated

Let’s discuss. 

When should you drink water?

Truthfully, there’s never a bad time to drink water. It should be no surprise that staying hydrated is one of the most essential components to your physical well-being. However, there are certain situations where you can target your daily water intake for weight loss. 

These include:

  • Before meals – Several studies have shown that drinking water before eating will reduce overall calorie intake. However, it’s important to note that the findings demonstrated a decrease in calorie intake in older adults more so than in younger people. This, of course, is due to the rate at which a younger person’s physiological systems operate. 

  • During exercise – Hydration during exercise or any physical activity is critical for performance. If an exercise regimen is a part of your weight-loss strategy, then drinking water while you exercise can help you yield the results you want. Why? Because staying hydrated helps you work out for longer periods at higher intensities, meaning you’ll burn more calories. 

  • Throughout the day – We sometimes mistake thirst for hunger, causing us to eat more when we’re actually craving water. Sipping water throughout the day will keep proper hydration in homeostasis and prevent you from reaching for snacks. 

How much water do you need?

You’ve probably heard that you need to drink 8 glasses of water per day. This is a broad generalization of daily water intake and, as with most diet advice, is dependent on you and your specific body type. According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of water you need varies. 

To that end, women should consume around 11.5 cups per day and men about 15.5 cups. However, this is highly influenced by:

  • Your overall health and any medications you take

  • Environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and altitude

  • How much you exercise and sweat

  • If you’re pregnant and/or breast-feeding

  • The food you consume

  • Your gender, weight, and height

Typically, if you have enough daily fluid intake that can curb your thirst, you’re on the right path. 

How does water help with weight loss? Here are six ways 

Learning how to set weight loss goals? Be sure to include your daily fluid intake into your weight loss program.  Despite weight loss, staying hydrated is important for your overall well-being. Our bodies rely on water to perform at their best. Staying hydrated is one of the most effective ways to overcome weight loss plateau. With that being said, below we’ve outlined six reasons to drink water to achieve your weight loss goal. 

#1 Water can quench your appetite 

Have you asked “is calorie counting effective?" Yes it is. If you are doing it, drinking water before meals can, for some people, reduce the number of calories you consume when you eat and prevent weight gain. It’s also a fantastic way to learn about your hunger signals since many people confuse thirst with hunger. 

In one study, obese older adults were found to eat 13 percent fewer calories at breakfast when they drank water before the meal. 

While the link between drinking water and consuming fewer calories isn’t evident in every group, it was an effective strategy for decreased calorie consumption in older adults.

#2 Replaces calorie-heavy beverages

Another reason you should drink water is that it reduces your reliance on a sugar sweetened beverage or calorie-heavy beverages. When you don’t drink a sugar sweetened beverage, you consume fewer calories overall. Some drinks you can replace with water to reduce your calorie consumption include:

  • Fruit juices

  • Soda

  • Sweetened tea and coffee

  • Energy drinks

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Diet soda

All of these, except diet beverages or soda, contain excess sugars and calories that your body can do without. Diet beverages, while non-caloric, contain artificial sweeteners that interfere with your body’s metabolism and have been linked to other health issues.

We often don’t realize that we’re consuming more calories when we drink beverages like fruit juice. Not only do added sugars contribute to a high calorie count, but the fiber you’d find in a piece of fruit isn’t present. 

Therefore, not only will you consume more calories drinking a glass of apple juice than you would by eating an apple, but you’ll also feel less full afterward because it doesn’t have the fiber of the physical apple. 

Don’t like plain water? No worries—you can dress it up with the addition of fresh fruits. Some of our favorite ways to enhance the flavor of plain water are to toss in a few slices of:

  • Lemon

  • Lime

  • Cucumber

  • Mint leaves

  • Berries

  • Melon

These options add negligible calories and enhance the flavor profile.

#3 Cold water stimulates your metabolism… a little 

Should you weigh yourself every day? That can be helpful in achieving your weight loss goals alongside tracking your daily water intake.  Whether or not water consumption increases your overall metabolic rate is a hot topic. Drinking cold water, however, has been shown to boost your metabolism for up to an hour afterward. 

To be clear, the increase in metabolic rate is minimal, so drinking cold water won’t make you lose much weight on its own. The reason we include it on our list is that every small change can amount to bigger results down the line. Adopting healthy habits—such as drinking water regularly—is what will lead to lasting weight loss.

#4 More energy for exercise

Drinking water or infused water gives you more energy for exercising. If you’re experiencing mild dehydration, you’ll notice your concentration and energy levels will begin to slip. Your ability to perform athletically will decline as well. When you have proper hydration throughout your exercise, you’ll find that you’re able to exercise for a longer period at a higher intensity. 

This will lead to improved fitness results and burn additional calories, both of which contribute to your overall well-being and sustained weight loss. 

#5 Prevents cramping during exercise

Along with increasing the duration of time you can exercise, adequate hydration during your session will prevent cramping. If you’ve ever experienced a serious leg or stomach cramp during an exercise, you know that the pain can ruin your workout. 

#6 Promotes overall good health

We know water can assist with reducing your body weight. However, water is essential for many functions, including but not limited to:

  • Digestion

  • Flushing out waste

  • Transporting oxygen

  • Improving tissue health

  • Regulating body temperature

  • Improving nutrient and mineral absorption

When you don’t get enough water you can face serious short- and long-term health problems. In the short term you might feel dizzy, confused, irritable, tired, and thirsty. If you’re chronically under-hydrated, you may be bothered by more frequent urinary tract infections as your body is less efficient at flushing out waste products. 

Without proper hydration, losing weight is an uphill battle.  With it, sustained weight care gets a whole lot easier.

Other hydration sources

If you struggle with drinking water throughout the day, don’t fret. It takes a while to create a consistent routine. It’s also important to keep in mind that drinking a glass of water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. You also receive important hydration from the foods you eat! Some excellent choices with high water content include:

  • Watermelon

  • Spinach

  • Cantelope

  • Strawberries

  • Oranges

  • Lettuce

  • Cucumbers

  • Zucchini

  • Tomatoes

  • Grapefruit

  • Bell Peppers

All of the above are low in calories and rich in nutrients. This makes these food items the perfect choice to boost your hydration throughout the day. Brothy soups packed with vegetables are another highly effective way to sneak more water (and nutrients) into your diet!

More help for your weight loss goals

The benefits of drinking water for health and weight loss are unquestionable. But, water is just one tool in your quest for a healthy body. If you’re hydrating properly, exercising, and eating well, you’re on the right path. 

However, sometimes weight loss can be an arduous journey. Even worse, you may have trouble experiencing results. 

Enter Found. Here, we have health coaches, online communities, and a program designed specifically to help individuals lose weight. Take our quiz to see whether or not you think we’re a good fit! 

No matter what you choose for your weight loss regimen, fill that water bottle up throughout the day and don’t let yourself go thirsty. Your body will thank you. 

Sources: 

PubMed. Pre-Meal Water Consumption Reduces Meal Energy Intake in Older but Not Younger Subjects. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228036/

University of Connecticut. Hydration. https://ksi.uconn.edu/prevention/hydration/#

PubMed. Hunger and Thirst: Issues in Measurement and Prediction of Eating and Drinking. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849909/

Mayo Clinic. Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

PubMed. Water Consumption Reduces Energy Intake at a Breakfast Meal in Obese Older Adults. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18589036/

PubMed. Plain Water Consumption is Associated with Lower Intake of Caloric Beverages. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25928232/

PubMed. Diet Soda Consumption and RIsk of Incident End Stage Renal Disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27797893/

PubMed. Water-induced Thermogenesis Reconsidered: The Effects of Osmolality and Water Temperature on Energy Expenditure after Drinking. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16822824/

WebMD. Foods High in Water. https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-water

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