May 4, 2010

What You Drink Impacts Your Diet, Part Two: Water

Water, the "fountain of wellness," is our first STOP on this "beverage expedition!”

Are you thirsty?
If you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Thirst cannot always be relied on as the best indicator of water requirements. While most people won’t experience severe dehydration, which requires medical attention, many of you may be running on empty. Mild dehydration signs and symptoms include excessive thirst, fatigue, headache, dry mouth, muscle weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness as well as little or no urination.

What color is your urine?
One of the ways you can tell whether or not you are dehydrated is to monitor the frequency and take a "peek" at the color of your urine. In fact, changes in urine –– its color, odor, and consistency –– can provide important clues about the health status of your body. Web MD states, "urine color normally varies from pale yellow to deep amber, depending on its concentration." Reduced urine output with a dark yellow color could mean you are dehydrated. Not the "bright neon yellow" color you'll see if you take supplements and observe your body excreting excess water-soluble vitamins (the Vitamin B family in particular).

Health and Water
Water, the "fountain of life and wellness," is our first STOP on this "beverage expedition,” –– covering nine liquid categories –– and should be your number one liquid choice each day, all day. As I mentioned in Part One, water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Water is critical to good health and according to the Mayo Clinic, "nearly all of your major systems in your body depend on water." Water...
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Moistens tissues
  • Lubricates joints
  • Protects body organs and tissues
  • Lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
  • Helps prevent constipation
  • Helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients
  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells

Water Retention and Weight Gain
Water retention, aka edema, can be the result of high salt intake, medications, hormones, serious medical conditions, and more. Most of the time, lack of water intake, electrolyte imbalances (sodium, potassium, calcium), or an increase in glycogen storage are the culprits and the reason you may feel and look bloated.

You may be aware that there is a huge difference between weight loss and fat loss, and understanding how water retention plays into the overall picture is important, especially for those of you who are monitoring how much you weigh. In a given day as well as day to day, your weight can fluctuate anywhere between two and five-plus pounds. Don't despair; it may just be water weight. Fat pounds –– losing and gaining –– take much longer than a day or two.

Low-Carb Weight Loss Deception
For those of you who have attempted a low- or no- carb diet plan, you'll initially lose weight all right, however, it wont be fat. This is due to the fact that carbs that are not used for immediate energy are stored in the body in the form of glycogen (for later energy), mainly in the muscles and to a smaller degree in the liver. So, the weight loss is basically fluid lost through reduced glycogen stores. This is very deceptive and the reason why dieters lose so much weight within the first few days of a low carb diet –– only to regain the weight after this type of diet is discontinued, the fluid is simply replaced as glycogen stores are replenished.

Seven Ways Water Can Help You Lose Weight and, More Importantly, FAT
  1. Water boosts your metabolism –– when you are dehydrated, your body does not operate at its full potential and that includes your metabolism.
  2. Water, coupled with other positive dietary habits, improves digestion even when consumed during and after a meal. Digestion –– a topic worthy of an entire article –– plays a key role in energy, immunity, and overall health. Poor digestion can trigger a variety of annoying digestive problems like heartburn, indigestion, constipation, gas and bloating. In addition, if left unchecked, poor digestion can lead to plenty of debilitating, chronic conditions –– to name a few, fatigue, insomnia, and difficulty losing weight.
  3. Many of you are retaining water due to lack of water intake. This is because of the body’s natural protective mechanism that will conserve water to keep you hydrated. By drinking enough water each day, you can avoid the bloat and improve your odds at a more consistent body weight.
  4. Mistaking thirst for hunger is a common diet pitfall; knowing this may prompt you to think twice before you choose food over H2O.
  5. Drinking water all day will keep you satisfied physically and emotionally. This means that you might eat less, and thus weigh less, more importantly; long-term fat loss could be the outcome. Throw in a proper diet and regular exercise, and “could” will transform into “most definitely.”
  6. Drinking water could mean less consumption of unhealthy liquids like soda and an array of others, which can add unwanted fat pounds to your body.
  7. Water will keep your energy and mood levels up, so that you can function at your full potential and even exercise, which as you know, is one of the "master keys" if you are seeking fat loss.
How much water should you drink each day?
For years, experts have been telling you to "drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day"; however, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, "[this] approach really isn't supported by scientific evidence," although it is a good baseline. In reality, it is not a "one size fits all" formula and there are factors to consider when it comes to your water consumption –– age, gender, lean body mass, exercise, sweating, and environment. Plus, pregnant women and nursing moms need additional fluids. If you have a particular illness, are taking medications, diet pills, are on a low-carb diet, smoking, or consuming a lot of caffeine and alcohol, more water is recommended.

What if you don't like water?
Believe or not, over the years, I have had clients and friends tell me that they don't like water. What? Well, water is not the only place to get your fluids; you can count other liquids and even a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (due to their water content). Don’t get too excited because without drinking H2O, there is no way that you will get all the requirements needed and experience the awesome benefits water has to offer, including youthful skin. This brings me to the new trend of "vitamin waters," that can be a decent liquid option, even those containing extra calories, sugar and additives. If you need the flavor, a much better approach would be to add some lemon to your water, an inexpensive way to significantly enhance your diet.

So then, drink up and pack up your H2O to go (in a "green" water bottle); this is a long "beverage expedition," taking you on the fit path toward better health and wellness. And if you need a jolt, our next STOP is coffee.

Sci/Tech Blogcritics / Fitness Flash
What You Drink Impacts Your Diet, Part Two: Water
Author: Christine Lakatos — Published: May 03, 2010 at 8:46 pm
MY DIVA DIET "Tools For Success"


Little Monster said...

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Health-Diets.Net said...

You are so right about water. It amazes me when people say they don't like drinking it as there is nothing more delicious when you are hot and thirsty. As you say, a lack of water can cause water retention because dehydration makes you retain water in your body tissues in order to protect them. Water Retention Lady