Water and Weight Loss

Is drinking lots of water, and weight loss, related issues? There’s controversy … you decide

Medical researchers and nutritional experts seem to be in some disagreement over whether those recommended 8 glasses of water and weight loss have anything to do with one another. Most diet programs are staunch supporters of the plenty-of-water theory.

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A recent, credible, but small, German study found that drinking water throughout the day, in measured intervals, caused an increase in metabolic rates, of approximately 30%, among both men and women. When your metabolic rate increases, you naturally burn more calories, right? A 30% increase in metabolic rate is substantial. However, the study seemed to countermand its findings by concluding that over a year, drinking those 8 glasses a day would result in a weight loss of only five pounds!

Other experts have purported that water and weight loss are linked and that drinking lots of water helps your body burn fat. Some nutritionists have scoffed at this suggestion, saying ‘No way! Fat burning, water and weight loss have no relation’.

On the other hand, it’s known that the liver helps convert your stored fat to energy. If you’re dehydrated, your kidney function is taxed, causing your liver function to be diverted from this fat-to-energy function by being forced to process more toxins and waste which the kidneys are not able to adequately address, due to dehydration. So it would seem that there is an indirect relationship to water and weight loss.

The German study involved just seven men and seven women, none of whom were overweight. The study was done to see if drinking water and weight loss were indeed related. However, since none of the participants was overweight and all were also healthy individuals, this model might logically, be flawed. Also, the researchers found that the increase in metabolic rates differed between the men and women, although both genders experienced a similar percentage increase. In men, the rise in metabolic rate as a result of burning fat, whereas the women’s was due to a faster breakdown of carbohydrates. Does this mean that female diabetics would want to avoid drinking so much water, especially at mealtime? This would seem to fly in the face of nutritionist’s dietary advice to female diabetics.

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This same study observed that the metabolic increases began within just 10 minutes of drinking a large glass of water, peaking about half an hour later. To the layman, this might suggest that a glass of water with each meal and every hour in between meals might help sustain a higher metabolic rate throughout the day.

There are two other points to consider in the water and weight loss controversy. First, drinking water does help give you a full feeling, which translates into eating less. You don’t need to do a study to confirm this — just try it yourself. The second point is that when your body has an insufficient quantity of water, it tends to hoard what it has, which leads to water weight gain. This water may be stored all over your body, against possible ‘drought’ conditions. On the other hand, a well-hydrated body doesn’t hoard water, resulting in better kidney function, flushing toxins and wastes, getting rid of water stores, as well as a more optimized liver function.

There are even more ‘talking points’ on the water and weight loss controversy: should we be drinking cold or warm water? Some say that cold water causes the body to burn energy in an attempt to warm the water, while others say this is nonsense.

As for the calculation indicating drinking those 8 glasses a day would result in just a 5-pound loss over an entire year, it seems that not all of the factors have been considered in a symbiotic, or inter-dependent, analysis of all of the effects throughout the body.

All things considered, I think I’ll stick with the water routine. It’s not only a question of water and weight loss. Well, hydrated people tend to have fewer headaches and are better able to concentrate. What do you think?

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