Make Water Part of Your Weight-Loss Plan

Water plays a crucial role in human health. This is not surprising, considering that the human body is 60 percent water. When you are dehydrated, your body does not function efficiently. And this adversely affects functions that range from burning body fat to critical thinking.


On weight loss, research suggests that being adequately hydrated can make your workouts more efficient and boost your metabolism – that is, the way your body converts food into energy. Drinking water before eating could also subdue your appetite. Below are ways water aids in weight loss.


It makes your workouts more efficient

Your body needs water during exercise. According to dietitians, water dissolves magnesium, sodium and potassium, and transports the minerals throughout the body. The electrical energy produced triggers muscle contractions needed for movement. 


When you exercise with too little water in your body, you risk developing cramps. In addition, dehydrated cells build muscle more slowly than hydrated cells, making your workouts less efficient. 


Being hydrated adequately can decrease fatigue, meaning you can exercise for longer and burn more calories. It’s best to hydrate before and during exercise. In addition, according to a 2016 mini-review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, adequate hydration may increase your body’s ability to burn fat. 

It boosts your metabolism

Studies suggest that adequate hydration fuels your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss. In a 2013 study by researchers associated with Pad Dr D Y Patil Medical College and Hospital, Nerul, in Navi Mumbai, India, 50 overweight girls drank two cups of water 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner. They made no additional dietary changes. After eight weeks, the girls lost weight and recorded a reduction in body mass index and body composition scores.


According to dietitians, when you drink cold water, your body has to utilize energy to warm the water to body temperature. This produces heat, and the more energy your body utilizes, the faster your metabolism.


In a small 2003 study, when 14 healthy adults drank 500 ml of 71° F (21.6° C) water, their metabolism rate increased by 30 percent on average. The increase happened within 10 minutes, peaking after 30 to 40 minutes. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.


Water may suppress your appetite

Drinking water before your meal helps to make you feel full, thus reducing the amount of food you eat. In a small 2016 study, 14 young males who drank about 500 ml of water just before a meal ended up eating 22 percent less than those who didn’t take water. The researchers, led by Robert A Corney of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK, suggested drinking water before a meal could aid in weight loss.   


Again, sometimes you may mistake thirst for hunger. Nutritionists suggest you first look for water when you think you’re hungry. You may find you are thirsty instead and only need water.


Proper hydration may boost alertness

Water may boost alertness. Dehydration may cause drowsiness and reduced alertness, according to researchers of the 2016 mini-review. When you are dehydrated, you may suffer bouts of dizziness and fatigue and become de-motivated to exercise, and may make unhealthy food choices. 


Research suggests that your brain, just like your body, needs water to function optimally. Dehydration weakens your brain’s ability to perform cognitive, memory and physical functions.


Final thoughts

Replace juice, soda, alcohol and other high-calorie drinks with water. This will cut down on your calorie intake. Drinking water may not come easily to everyone. You may be inclined to drink water just when you’re thirsty. To get around this limitation, adopt the habit of drinking water throughout the day, sipping it all day. Make drinking water part of your normal routine.


Secondly, it’s best to drink water half an hour before eating and again half an hour after eating. Drinking water with your meal could dilute the digestive gastric juice, making digestion difficult. If you are very thirsty and must drink water with your food, take a few sips. Don’t down a whole glass.


As for weight loss, water is not a magic bullet that will get rid of the excess weight. You also need to make healthy food choices, watch your food portions, and keep physically active. 

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