Drink Up for a Healthy Weight

As May slides by and the weather grows warmer, you may be considering ways to boost weight loss before summer.  Have you considered something as simple as hydration?  Water may not be a magic diet pill or popular diet, but it is proving a smart way to manage weight.  

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Weight Loss Benefits of Water
Drinking water is a common recommendation to help curb appetite and manage weight, and science is backing up this recommendation. Research is now focusing more attention on just how important proper hydration is in the weight loss equation. Various recent studies have uncovered interesting results on hydration and its link to weight and obesity:

  • A study out of the University of Michigan “found a significant association between inadequate hydration and elevated BMI and inadequate hydration and obesity.”  The study of almost 10,000 adults underscored the need for additional research on the role of hydration in managing a healthy weight.
  • A small study conducted by researchers from Berlin’s Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center found that “drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%.” The increased rate started within 10 minutes of drinking the water and hit its max at about 30-40 minutes. Who isn’t looking for a little metabolic boost and extra energy expenditure when trying to lose weight?
  • A clinical trial out of Virginia Tech uncovered water’s effectiveness in controlling appetite.  When participants drank two 8 ounce glasses of water before a meal, they ate an average of 75 fewer calories.  According to Brenda Davy, the senior author on the study, “We found that over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.”

The link between hydration and a healthy weight continues to grow stronger.  Could adding more water to your day be the boost your weight loss plan needs?

Water Recommendations
So how much water should you drink each day for ideal hydration?  Considering our bodies are roughly 60% water, plenty of fluid throughout the day is a must!  In general, experts recommend 8 cups of water per day – which is 64 fluid ounces – but this formula is facing more and more scrutiny.  Recent findings now suggest that not only do water needs vary greatly from person to person based on health, activity, weight, age and other factors, but also that it isn’t just water that can provide the hydration you need.  Milk, juice, tea and even certain foods such as water-rich fruits and vegetables can also help you meet your daily needs.  For healthy adults, consuming liquids when you feel thirsty is considered a good gauge to stay hydrated.  If you are concerned about the amount of water you drink, and if you should be drinking more, work with your physician or a registered dietitian.

How to Add More Water to Your Day
Not everyone finds it easy to get enough water during the day, but there are ways to hit your goals.  First, while water is the best way to hydrate because it is free of added calories and sugar, it isn’t the only option.  Stay hydrated with fruits and vegetables as part of your meals throughout the day, give refreshing herbal teas a try, and swap in some juice here and there (mix juice with water for fewer calories). To add some excitement to your water without adding extra calories, try infused water recipes like these that boost flavor and your hydration for the day.

Water and adequate hydration can be a smart tool in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.  Research continues to grow on the benefits of water for weight loss and we’re excited to see what’s next in the findings.

How do you stay hydrated during the day?  How has water helped you with weight loss?

Don’t forget to support your health goals with the best choices at restaurants.  Menu choices like these are recommended by Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians to help you stay on track: