When thinking about losing weight, whether it be just a few kilos or more extensive weight loss, the focus is always on the food. Diets don’t just focus on how much we eat each day, but also what we eat and in what quantities. Some diets are very restrictive, others rely more on healthy eating and living a healthy life.
Time and time again though, it has been proven that eating a balanced healthy diet and increasing activity levels will help you lose weight and more importantly, keep it off.
But what many people don’t know is that recent research has shown that one of the other key factors in successful weight loss is how much water you drink.
Why Water Is Important for Weight Loss
1. Water For A Healthy Life
Water is essential for a healthy life. Our bodies are a large proportion of water, and if we don’t drink enough we soon become thirsty and dehydrated.
We are often told that even if we are not dieting we should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, but the exact quantity which someone will need depends on several factors such as the climate and activity levels. People who eat lots of fruit and vegetables such as watermelon or cucumber which are high in water will need to drink less fluids than others.
2. Water and Burning Calories
The biological process which the body goes through to use up calories requires water. If the body is dehydrated then it will be harder to burn calories and therefore the weight loss process will slow down. Water also helps the body get rid of any toxins and waste products in the body by flushing them out regularly.
Drinking plenty of water therefore ensure that your efforts to eat well and burn calories through exercise are working at their maximum capacity.
Fibre – Everyone trying to lose weight is advised to up their intake of fibre. This is because fibre rich foods take longer to digest, and help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Fibre rich foods include things such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.
Fibre is also essential for keeping the digestive tract healthy and also protects against developing conditions such as bowel cancer. As fibre takes a long time to digest, drinking plenty of water helps to keep the food waste soft as it moves along the bowel and helps to prevent the discomfort of constipation. Water should be drunk not only between meals but also with food to ensure that all foods, not just fibre rich foods, are digested as efficiently as possible.
Does Water Fill You Up? – For decades, diets have been advising to drink water before meals in order to reduce the appetite and make you feel fuller for longer. Until very recently there was no scientific evidence to back this up, but researchers in America have concluded a study which found that obese dieters who drank two cups of water before a meal lost on average 5 pounds more than a similar group who did not drink the water.
The one drawback to the research is that young people do not seem to do as well on weight loss programs when drinking water as older people do. Effects may also be lessened if the person trying to lose weight is only a few kilos overweight rather than seriously obese.
It also has to be water that is drunk as the same effects are not gained by drinking liquids such as fruit juice, probably because the juice contains calories and cancels out the effect of the water. Dieters should stick to plain water, unsweetened tea or diet drinks which have zero calories.