Water Aids in Weight Loss
By Ellington Darden, Ph.D.
Studies have shown a relationship between water intake and fat deposits: the more water the less fat, and the less water the more fat.
The reason? The kidneys are unable to function without adequate water. When they do not work to capacity some of their load is dumped onto the liver. This diverts the liver from its primary function, which is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy. Because it’s performing the chores of the water-depleted kidneys, the liver metabolizes less fat.
Overeating can also be averted through water intake, as water can keep the stomach feeling full and satisfied between meals, thus preventing it from signaling the brain that it is hungry. When water is consumed in conjunction with foods high in fiber, this satiated feeling increases because the fiber in these foods actually absorbs water and swells in size.
The standard recommendation is a minimum of eight glasses per day, a total of 64 ounces. It’s also advisable to include one glass just before each meal, and one during each meal. But new research shows that it’s beneficial to drink even more water.
Most of my dieters in my programs – such as the A Flat Stomach ASAP, 32 Days to a 32-Inch Waist, and Living Longer Stronger – consume 16 glasses a day. Some even work up to 32 glasses, or two gallons a day.
The dieters who drank the most water tend to lose the most fat.
If you are serious about losing fat, I recommend that you purchase a plastic water bottle, the kind with a built-in straw, readily available in supermarkets, service stations, and convenience stores. With such a bottle you can carry water with you throughout the day for continuous drinking.
For best results the water should be ice cold. A gallon of cold water (40 degrees Fahrenheit) requires 123 calories of heat energy to warm it to core body temperature (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Furthermore, water is very important to an exercise program: it gives muscles their natural ability to contract, endure repetitious work, and prevent dehydration. Water also helps to keep the skin from sagging after significant fat loss.
Drink even if you’re not thirsty. Responding to thirst will prevent only severe dehydration. It will not prompt you to drink the water you need to function at your peak.
Other than herbal tea, liquids containing water are not adequate substitutes for it. Coffee, soft drinks, iced tea, and even so-called sports drinks or energy drinks contain other chemicals that negate or offset the benefits of pure water. However, a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon is okay for flavoring.
Inadequate water causes the body to perceive a threat to survival, and thus it begins to hold on to every drop. Water is then stored outside the cells, showing up as swollen feet, legs, or hands, in what we commonly refer to as water retention.
The best way to overcome water retention is to give your body the water it needs. Only then will stored water be released.
Restricting your water intake makes you constipated. When deprived of water your system pulls it from your lower intestines and bowel, thus creating hard, dry stools. Water helps rid the body of waste, which is more critical during periods of fat reduction since metabolized fat must be shed.
Begin your water-drinking program with eight 8-ounce glasses, or two quarts of ice-cold water each day for the first week. Increase this by one glass per day until you get to sixteen 8-ounce glasses, or one gallon a day.
After another couple of weeks, if you really want to get serious about fat loss, progress up to a daily consumption of twenty-four 8-ounce glasses of water. You system will thank you for it, and you’ll be rewarded with a leaner, stronger body.