I get asked a lot about water - how much should we be drinking, how to increase water intake, what formula to use to figure it out, are 8 - 10 glasses really enough? So let’s talk hydration and then I will share what I like to do to stay hydrated and feeling my best. Here is what we know: the body is made of primarily water - we are basically walking water balloons - and water has many important functions in the body including:
supplying the cells with oxygen and nutrients via our blood
cushioning our organs
lubricating our joints
regulating our internal body temperature
improving overall cognitive function
supporting a healthy weight
So how exactly does it support weight management? Glad you asked. There are a few ways that drinking water can aid in weight management. Drinking cold or room temperature water was found to increase calorie burn and also may increase the calories burned at rest temporarily. Cold water may have an additional increase in burned calories due to the need for the body to warm up the water for digestion.
Water is an all-natural appetite suppressant. When we drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal, it takes up some space in the stomach which means that we sense that feeling of fullness earlier in the meal. Our stomach stretches slightly and triggers a signal to the brain to stop eating. This reduces our hunger and gets us feeling fuller faster. We have good evidence that drinking 500 ml of water 30 minutes before meals along with drinking to thirst throughout the day can result in a reduction of body weight, body fat, and appetite suppression.
There are times when thirst masquerades as hunger. When this happens and we reach for a snack when we really want water, that feeling doesn’t resolve and we continue to attempt to assuage the feeling with more food. This leads us to overeat when what we really want is some H2O. Swapping out tiger caloric drinks for water can also result in more progress towards your health goals if they include caloric reduction.
Water is needed to burn fat. Water is an essential part of metabolizing carbohydrates and burning fat from our food and drink as well fat stored in the body.
How much should I drink in a day?
This is a debated topic. If you take to Google, you will find formulas and guidelines, but often these do not account for the water we get through our food and other drinks in the day. Fruits and vegetables all contain water, as do soups, stews, curries, herbal teas, Bubly type drinks and other natural calorie free beverages. So when we read drink 6 - 10 glasses of water a day, or 3-4L a day remember that there is no standard recommendation for drinking water and how much you should have will depend on your activity level (heavy sweaters will need to replace lost fluids), age, body size, temperature, sun exposure, and overall health as well as how much water is in the foods you eat.
Here is my recipe for hydration:
Drink 250 - 500 ml in the morning - good morning internal organs, get to work
Eat fruit and/or vegetables with every meal including berries, lettuce, tomatoes and other water rich foods
Drink to thirst through out the day with water always readily available; carry a water bottle with you
Drink 500ml - 1L for every hour of exercise that day
Enjoy a glass of water before heading to bed - night, night systems here is some water for overnight