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Staying hydrated can support your metabolism, appetite, gut health, and reduce your intake of sugary

Here's why hydration is important for weight loss Sixty percent of the human body is made up of water. Proper hydration does so much for us, including nourishing cells, lubricating joints, and transporting nutrients around our blood. However... Did you know drinking water is crucial for weight loss? Studies have in fact found that being hydrated can help you lose weight. The exact reason why remains unclear, but researchers have several theories (that you’ll learn below). Many thanks to coach Tyler for this interesting article...

If staying hydrated is vital for our overall health and can help us reach our weight-loss goals, drinking water seems like a no-brainer. However... According to research, the average person drinks less than half of the recommended daily water intake. Need some motivation to drink more? Read on to learn why water can help with weight loss, how much you need, and tips you can use to meet your hydration goals. Why is water intake important for weight loss? It’s common to hear that hydration is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and part of this is because it can help you lose or maintain weight. While more research is needed on why water may help with weight loss, drinking water while trying to lose weight is important for the following evidenced-based reasons.

Hydration may affect metabolism and calorie burning The act of simply drinking water may help to boost the body’s daily energy expenditure. This means that by staying hydrated, you may be able to burn more calories even when you aren’t exercising. A small study that examined men and women found that after drinking 500 ml of water, metabolic rates increased temporarily by 30 percent. Another study on women found that increasing hydration boosted weight loss independently from diet changes and physical activity. The authors suggested that the positive changes may be related to increased energy expenditure as a result of drinking water. The study is notable because the simple addition of more water created such a significant weight loss, even without a diet intervention. Drinking water may cut down on your intake of other sugary or high-calorie drinks. Making the switch away from sweet drinks may be one of the most simple but effective reasons that water can help with weight loss. Sugar and calories from beverages like sodas, juice, and your favorite sweetened coffee or tea can add up quickly. Not only can this sabotage any weight-loss efforts, but sugary drinks are also linked to increased risks of conditions like type 2 diabetes. For example... One study found that people who cut out drinks with calories but ate their usual diet were more likely to lose weight over six months as compared to a group that went on a diet but kept in sweet drinks. When you replace other beverages with water, you can dramatically cut down on calories without depriving yourself of other foods. Even cutting out one soda a day can lead to a deficit of almost 1,000 calories a week. Water may reduce your appetite. Drinking water before eating a meal may reduce your appetite so you don’t overeat. While water shouldn’t replace meals, if you are someone who tends to eat fast or has a hard time listening to hunger/satiety cues (messages that tell when you are full versus hungry), drinking a glass of water may help you. There are only a few studies that specifically examine the effect of drinking water on appetite, but the results are promising. A study that examined middle-aged adults who followed a low-calorie diet found that drinking 500 ml before meals led to a 44 percent increased amount of weight loss as compared to those who followed the diet alone without drinking water first. And... The authors think that drinking water before meals may increase feelings of fullness, so you eat less at your meals. Hydration is vital for your body’s natural detoxification processes. Detox isn’t just a trendy wellness word. It’s something your body does every day through urine and feces. If your body isn’t able to rid itself of waste products through trips to the bathroom, you may feel bloated, uncomfortable, or constipated. Constipation can eventually lead to an imbalance of ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut known as dysbiosis. There is a well-documented relationship between gut health and weight. People with an imbalance of certain types of bacteria may have an increased risk of obesity and a harder time losing weight. Gut bacteria play a role in how you digest and absorb your food, how many calories you take in, and even affect hunger and craving signals to your brain. As dehydration can cause constipation, hydration becomes essential to keep your bowel movements regular to prevent dysbiosis and keep your body flushing out waste. How much water do you need? Based on the reasons above, you may be asking yourself if you are currently drinking enough water to meet your needs. In reality, recommendations are general as water needs vary for each person depending on factors such as:

  • Age

  • Sex

  • Activity level

  • Pregnancy

  • Breastfeeding

  • Climate (hot climates may need more water due to sweat losses)

  • Certain disease conditions like kidney or heart disease

As a general recommendation, women need about nine cups a day, and men need about twelve and a half cups each day. Another simple way to track intake is to monitor the color of your urine. It may sound silly, but clear urine is an indicator of good hydration, while darker yellow urine can signal that you need to hydrate more. How can you drink more water? It seems simple, but drinking more water is not always easy. Try some of the following tips to improve your water habits: Drink a glass as soon as you wake up: Starting your day with a glass of water, even before you stumble to grab that first cup of coffee or tea, can help set the hydration tone for the rest of your day. Set a timer on your phone: You can have all the good intentions by starting your day with a big glass of water, but it’s easy to lose track of time. Set regular alarms on your phone to alert you to drink water. Just don’t snooze them! Make water more fun: People transitioning from sodas (either sugar-sweetened or artificially) can sometimes feel like water is ‘boring.’ Try to spice up your water with flavors like lemon or lime juice, or even a couple of frozen blueberries. Sparkling water is also a calorie-free option. Download a hydration app: Try downloading a hydration tracker. Many free options allow you to set up a schedule to remind you to drink while tracking intake as you go. Monitoring your consumption can also help you stay accountable so you can see just how many glasses you drank by the end of the day. Buy a fun, new water bottle: From insulated options that keep your water the perfect temp, to colorful containers in fun-to-look-at bright hues, a new water bottle can help motivate you to drink more. Choose glass or stainless steel whenever possible to avoid drinking out of plastic. Summing it up: Does hydration help you lose weight? It may not be the only lifestyle change you need to make for weight loss, but it’s clear that water can help improve your success. Staying hydrated can support your metabolism, appetite, gut health, and reduce your intake of sugary beverages. If you aren’t drinking enough water, try some of the above tips to boost your intake. Your body will thank you! Drink up! Dr. Linda

FUN FACT Dehydration is one of the most common risk factors for kidney stones.

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