Is drinking more water the secret to losing weight? It can certainly help. Water may be one of the most overlooked components in weight loss and overall health. Drinking enough water is important, but it’s easy to forget. In fact, dehydration is much more common than most people realize. Studies show that up to 75% of Americans aren’t drinking enough water, which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and joint pain.
What’s more, water keeps other systems in your body running smoothly — including your digestion and metabolism, which both play a key role in weight management. Here are 5 reasons drinking more water may help with your weight-loss goals.
- Staying hydrated may help you eat less. Thirst can masquerade as hunger. So when you’re tempted to eat, you may actually just need a glass of water. Other symptoms that we often associate with hunger — such as a gurgling stomach or lightheadedness — may also indicate thirst. When you feel hunger kick in, try drinking a glass of water before you eat. In a 2015 study, adults who drank 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before eating consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than the control group.
- Water boosts your metabolism. Drinking water helps you burn more calories. That’s because whenever you eat or drink, your body burns energy to process whatever is coming in. And since water is calorie-free, you’re burning more than you consume. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that healthy men and women who drank about 16 ounces of water experienced a 30 percent increase in their metabolic rate within ten minutes.
- Water fuels your workouts. If you’re dehydrated, your workout will suffer — and so will your results. In fact, just losing 2 percent of your body weight in fluid can impede your performance by up to 25 percent. And if you start out dehydrated, you’re just going to become more dehydrated as you sweat. To get the most out of your workout, drink water before, during, and after exercise. Make sure you’re well hydrated to begin with, then drink 15 to 20 ounces of water an hour before your workout, and another 8 ounces every 30 minutes during exercise. You may need more if you’re sweating heavily.
- Water keeps you from drinking other unhealthy beverages. If you’re drinking more water, you’re probably drinking fewer unhealthy beverages, like soda or calorie-laden coffee drinks. A 2015 study found that people who drank plain water consumed fewer calories from other beverages. We love a mocha latte as much as the next person — but save these sweet treats for a special occasion!
- Water gives you more energy. If you’re dehydrated and sluggish, it makes it hard to get up off the couch. Water lubricates everything in your body, which keeps your cells working properly, your muscles oxygenated, and your brain functioning at its best — all of which helps you stay motivated and focused on your goals. The next time you feel a 3pm energy slump, grab a glass of water instead of pouring yourself a cup of coffee or heading to the vending machine.
How much water should you drink each day?
You’ve probably heard the rule that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. But is this guideline right for everyone? How much water you need depends somewhat on your weight and size. Some experts recommend drinking at least half an ounce of water for each pound that you weigh. So if you’re 150 pounds, that’s at least 75 ounces. And if you’re exercising a lot or if you live in a hot climate, you need even more.
To make sure you’re drinking enough water, check your urine when you go to the bathroom. It sound be clear and have little odor. If your urine is dark or yellow, you need to drink more water.
Tips for drinking more water
- Keep track of what you drink with an app. If you have a Fitbit, you can track your water intake on the Fitbit app. Or download a separate app like Waterlogged and set it to give you reminders to drink throughout the day.
- Spruce up your water with some lemon, cucumber, or berries. The extra flavor will help you drink more and can deliver some added benefits. Lemon water can boost your immune system and aid in digestion. And if you’re feeling a bit backed up, it can help move things along as well.
Need help with your weight-loss goals? Garcia Weight Loss offers personalized weight-loss programs designed to help you unlock your full weight-loss potential. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on March 22, 2017