Water and Weight Loss

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I’ve been reading a lot on how drinking water can help you loose weight and thought I’d share the most interesting points here. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog how water is part of almost every function in your body, and this is an important point when thinking about loosing weight. Your body burns a number of calories just to stay alive. It’s called your basal metabolism. Its the amount of energy needed by your body to keep everything running. Now when your hydrated, your body is running at its optimum levels, burning calories and keeping everything going smooth, but when you get dehydrated, this drops and so does the amount of calories you burn. Toxins are also left over when you burn calories and without water, these toxins cannot be properly removed from your body. Dehydration also causes a reduction in blood volume which can mean less oxygen is carried to your muscles. Finally it affects your physical performance during exercise. Without being properly hydrated, you can feel tired and sluggish and thus miss out on getting a good workout. Your strength and endurance can drop if you fail to drink enough. Your muscles need water to keep themselves running smoothly and your joints will also benefit from being hydrated and lubricated. So if your looking to loose some weight, drinking plenty of water alongside a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise can help you along your way. Having the determination to loose that weight is the most important thing though! 

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How much to drink!?

The more I look into this, the more I see a lot of differing views on staying hydrated! It seems like such a simple thing, but there is a lot going on. Bottled water vs. tap water, the 8-cups-a-day recommendation, the pale-yellow-urine recommendation, the follow-your-thirst recommendation, what to do? Can you really trust your thirst to tell you when to drink? Maybe not? Why can’t things be simple? Then, to make things more complicated, there is a condition called hyponatremia which is when you have too much water in your system and your blood salt content drops to a dangerous levels. Most us however, don’t have to worry about that though, unless your a marathon runner. I also found an interesting blog that claimed manufacturers were behind a lot of the recommendations to drink 8 cups a day, rather than being based on solid science. 

So….

Too little water = bad

Too much water = bad

What have you heard? 

 

The Science of Water

Well I thought I’d kick this off with a little basic science first. We all know we need to drink water, need to stay hydrated, especially on a hot sunny day, or need to ‘replenish our fluids’ (I’m a bit of an Office fan so I had to throw that in). But I wanted to get into the actual science of it. I think if we have a basic understanding of whats going on in our bodies, we can better appreciate what a simple thing like drinking water can do for us. It also helps you to feel like your doing something great for your body, even if you can’t feel it having a direct effect. It feels healthy! 

Okay, lets get down to it. 

Our bodies are made of up to 50 to 70% water. Its in permeates every each of our bodies, from the cells, to organs to bones and muscle. Everything depends on it. Our body however, cannot retain water and so we need fresh supplies everyday. One of the most important water functions is maintaining the integrity and health of every cell. All of the cells functions are carried out with the presence of water as a vessel. It dissolves nutrients and oxygen, carrying it in our blood to our cells which can then absorb these nutrients by way of osmosis. Osmosis is basically the need for substances dissolved in water to move around (across membranes, in this case the membranes or walls of the cells) and equalize so that an equal amount of the substance exists on both sides of the membrane. This is how our cells get their nutrients. But it is also how they dispel of wastes. Its the same process. It also helps the cell to keep its shape and rigidity. A lack of water means a lack of efficient cell function. It becomes sluggish, and nutrients and wastes don’t move as quickly. It can become poisonous if cells aren’t able to rid themselves of waste. Water is essential for their function! 

Well that’s it for now, I could go much further (there is so much research out there), but I’d thought I’d leave it at that. Next time you take a glass of water, think about your cells and how much happier they are with plenty of water to get nutrients and expel wastes!