You may think of water as a necessity, something you use to wash down a meal or a must after a tough workout. Yet while H2O is an essential piece of the puzzle of life, it is also a potential friend in the fight against fat. Yes, that beverage that we all know, love, and drink in varying amounts could very well be a key to maintaining your weight.
Why? The Easy Version.
There are some common sense reasons as to why water can help you burn calories:
- If you are drinking water, you are, by default, not drinking a high-calorie, sugar-laden beverage like Coca-Cola or sweetened, milky iced coffee. That alone can result in a significant reduction in calories consumed.
- Drinking water helps curb your appetite and simulates a feeling of fullness. When you drink water before a meal or snack, you feel full sooner.
- Thirst is often confused for hunger. Before snacking, try a glass of water and see if your cravings go away.
Why? The More Scientific Version.
In a Berlin study on the effect that drinking water has on metabolism, drinking a half-litre of water increased the metabolism for half an hour. This increase resulted in a burning of approximately 25 extra calories. Why? The body spends energy to warm the water to its temperature. In women, this energy came mostly from carbohydrates (compared to men, who get their energy from stored lipids).
These 25 extra calories only amount to a couple M&Ms or a few mouthfuls of bread, so the amount is negligible. However, when combined with water’s many health benefits and the common-sense ways it helps you control your appetite, it’s a win-win proposition.
So, how much water should I really drink a day?
The truth is...nobody knows. Your water recommendation depends on your health, your level of activity, your geographic location and many other factors. We all know that “the doctor” recommends eight glasses. Does that old adage still hold true? Eight glasses is approximately 1.9 litres of water, and according to the Mayo Clinic, a woman’s adequate intake is 2.2 litres, about 9 cups. The only caveat? There is such a thing as too much water. You want to be careful to maintain your body’s sodium-liquid proportion, or you risk over-hydration, which can be as dangerous as dehydration.
How do I know if I am drinking enough water?
Your body will tell you. Your first clue that you are getting enough water is that you are rarely thirsty. Sounds obvious, but the feeling of thirst is often confused for hunger or a desire to snack, so beware. The second clue is in your output... clear or light yellow urine is a sign that you are in the clear as far as water intake.
So drink away, but without going overboard, because water does a body good!
Get Started with Fitness: