We all know the dangers of dehydration. With 75% of our bodies comprised of water, it comes as no surprise that if we fail to keep our liquids up we’re going to experience some unpleasant symptoms. Headaches, muscle cramps, dry skin and bad breath are just a few examples of the detrimental effects our bodies experience when deprived of water, but there is another symptom that ails us when we fail to stay sufficiently hydrated.
Dehydration Causes Weight Gain
Our bodies use water to eliminate toxins, but when we’re low on water these toxins can’t be flushed and are instead stored in fat cells. If our body doesn’t have enough fat cells to safely remove the toxins, it will create more, leading to weight gain. What’s worse is that these fat cells won’t be released until our body is sufficiently hydrated to remove the toxins. Many people believe that soft drinks or juices will keep them hydrated. The sad truth is that these drinks contain a high amount of sugar and salt, which then have to be flushed out of our bodies using large quantities of water, leaving you no more hydrated then before.
You Crave Food – Especially Sugar
When we’re dehydrated we tend to crave food, especially sweets. The reason for this is our organs, particularly the liver, use water to transport glycogens and other nutrients around our bodies. If there isn’t enough water to adequately carry this energy, our brains are tricked into thinking we’re hungry, even if we have enough calories to burn. If we feed this hunger we’re likely to see a surplus of calories, leading to further weight gain.
Drink Water to Lose Weight
It’s not all bad news though. Just as dehydration causes weight gain, staying hydrated assists with weight loss and might just be that extra boost you need to achieve your weight loss goals. According to research, if you drink two 240ml glasses of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner while eating moderate portions, you’ll lose weight and keep it off for longer. Additionally, research has found that if you increase your water consumption up to 1.5L a day, you’ll burn an extra 17,400 calories over a year, helping you shed those extra kilos. Furthermore, when you drink cold water, it speeds up your metabolism after only 10 minutes, and peaks at around half an hour, allowing you to flush toxins out of your body and burn calories faster.
Staying Hydrated Helps You Consume Less Calories
Not only does water help our bodies flush toxins and break down fat cells, but staying well hydrated also assists in preventing us from over consuming calories. Research found that consuming more water before eating led to people eating fewer calories per meal because water is a natural hunger suppressant. Not only that but they weren’t drinking sugary drinks as they weren’t thirsty. A key fact to remember is that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. If you keep on top of your water consumption you’ll avoid feeling thirsty and be less tempted to reach for that bottle of soft drink.
Every Day Sources of Water Loss
It’s important for us to keep in mind the many factors that can lead to our bodies losing hydration. We need to be aware of these causes so we can identify when we need to drink more water to keep our fluids up. Consuming diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol are large contributors to our bodies losing water through urination. Not only does drinking water help our bodies to flush the toxins found in alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, but also helps to replenish the water lost in the flushing process. Increased stress, living in a hot environment and increased physical activity can all lead to water loss through perspiration, so it’s important we keep our hydration up during these times. In fact every day we lose water through merely functioning. On average, we lose 475ml of water a day through respiration alone and when you factor in 475ml from passive perspiration and 1.4L through elimination that’s almost 2.5L that we need to be replenishing every day and this is if you aren’t exercising.
Ensuring you keep on top of your hydration is vital for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Make sure you have at least 8 to 12 cups of water a day and much more if you’re exercising. If you’re dieting, water can be your secret weapon to help you shed those kilograms. Just remember cold water before each meal will help you stay on top of your weight and help increase your metabolism to burn those calories faster.