Estimated reading time: 4.5 minutes.
What happens if you aren't drinking enough water, especially if you are trying to lose weight or stay in shape?
This post will tell you everything you need to know:
- Why is it necessary to drink enough water?
- Is drinking enough water only necessary while trying to lose weight?
- How much water do you need to drink daily?
- Is there such thing as too much water?
- Does it mean you should drink only water?
- Which beverages to avoid?
- What to do if you find it difficult to drink these extra glasses of water?
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Why is it necessary to drink enough water?
On average, human body is approximately 65% water.
Bones, blood, tissues, cells etc. have water in their composition, and many metabolic reactions (essential activities to make your body function properly) need enough amount of water.
Water also carries nutrients to the body cells, maintains a moisture environment in ears, nose and throat tissues, and helps eliminate many of the toxins and other non-desirable compounds in your organism from your organs.
Since your body is constantly losing water, you need to get it back to keep it in balance.
When you don’t have enough water in your body for the metabolic activities to be carried out properly, especially in your brain, you feel tired, dizzy, and sleepy, or have a headache. And although you might think these symptoms are caused by hunger, you are actually dehydrated.
Is drinking enough water only necessary while trying to lose weight?
Everybody needs to drink enough water, but if you are trying to maintain or lose weight, drinking enough water is especially important.
If you drink water before a meal you will feel fuller and eat less. Also, many times you feel hungry you are, in fact, thirsty, so drinking water will prevent you from taking in the calories your body doesn’t actually need.
When you drink enough water the biological reactions in your body work better and, therefore, you feel healthier.
The better you feel, the less you crave for food that is not good for you.
How much water do you need to drink daily?
Although you see many people being obsessed about drinking enough water always carrying a water bottle with them, according to the Food and Nutrition Report issued by the US Institute of Medicine, the majority of healthy people meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide.
The amount of water derived from all the food and beverages consumed recommended in this report is ca. 2.7 l (91 oz) for women and ca. 3.7 l (125 oz) for men daily.
If you consider that only 20% of water your body needs is derived from food, it means that women should drink about 2.2 l and men 3 l daily, which makes it 9 and 13 glasses a day respectively.
Of course, if your body is losing more water than usual, for example, when you exercise, are sick or breastfeeding, you need to increase the amount of water you drink.
Is there such thing as too much water?
Yes, there is, but it is caused by a rare condition called hyponatremia, which is common to endurance athletes, like marathon runners after drinking too much water during a race. So unless you suffer from this condition, you have no excuse to drink less water.
Does it mean you should drink only water?
Everything - foods and beverages - containing water counts: coffee, tea, juices, fruit like watermelon, milk and even sodas. But as all these foods and beverages contain other elements beside water, you should choose wisely.
Which beverages to avoid?
When you are trying to maintain or lose weight, forget about any drinks containing sugar. Drinking a sweet beverage will increase your insulin level, especially if you don’t eat anything with it.
Insulin is a hormone that is released to remove the glucose quickly.
But if there won’t be any more sugar there will be a hormonal reaction seeking more glucose, which means that you will immediately feel hungry. This way you will end up eating more than you would have eaten otherwise.
Are artificially sweetened drinks ok?
You will be surprised, but your brain doesn’t recognize that artificial sweeteners are just artificial products to trick your taste. Instead, it feels the sweet flavor and expects sugar in the bloodstream. When there is no sugar, it feels “disappointed” and sends a huge hormonal message to the system to make you feel…. hungry for more sugary products.
In fact, you should avoid any drinks that taste sweet and drink your coffee and tea without it, too. Even fruit juices have lots of sugar, and without the fiber of the fruit are a bad choice.
Instead, go for smoothies, which still contain the fruit fiber, but make sure you don’t eat more than 2 servings of fruit per day, as fruit has a lot of sugar as well.
Educate your taste to get use to coffee and tea without sugar. It won’t take you long to start appreciating their pure flavor.
What about coffee and alcohol?
Caffeine and alcohol have elements in them that your organism considers toxic, and while it tries to eliminate those toxins, you lose water. So if you drank too much coffee or alcohol you should drink enough water to compensate for the water loss.
Find it difficult to make yourself drink enough water?
Check out this infographic on 7 ways to trick yourself into drinking enough water.
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