Water has been scientifically proven to aid with weight loss and boost well-being. On the flip-side, chronic unintentional dehydration can wreak havoc on the body.
The human metabolism works via a series of complex chemical reactions and these reactions are propelled by adequate water consumption.
The life-giving properties of water are often overlooked; however, water is the first nutrient that the body needs after air. Without water, there would be no life on this planet.
In this article, we’ll discuss 7 ways that water can help you lose weight – and the science behind how water aids the breakdown of fat.
1. How the Body Views Fat
Fat is viewed as a valuable resource for the body.
In times of illness or extreme cold, fat stores are required for energy.
In children, these fat stores are brown and have a lot of blood circulating through them. In adults, the fat stores don’t have the same circulation and are white – known by science as white adipose tissue.
White adipose tissue is less easy to access for energy, for this reason, children can keep warm in cold climates and use their fat stores easily if they get ill.
Adult bodies, on the other hand, can find it difficult to use fat stores efficiently.
2. Water Breaks Down Fat
Fat in the body is clumped together to form triglycerides, which are essentially chunks of fat. For the body to use these stored resources, triglycerides must firstly be broken down into fatty acids and then released back into the body’s circulation. For this process to occur, we depend on water.
The body breaks down its fat reserves by a process known as “hydrolysis of fat” or lipolysis. When the body’s glucose levels drop below normal levels, lipase (the enzyme required to break down fat) is activated. In one animal study, researchers found that increasing water intake increased lipolysis.
In the west, we often reach for sugary food as an instant sugar boost. This only serves to spike insulin and inhibit lipase activity. In turn, reducing the amount of fat we can burn.
Instead, ensuring that we consume enough water can help the body release stored glucose and reduce BMI.
3. Water Suppresses Appetite
When the body is thirsty, we often pick up these signals as a cue to eat.
Conversely, the less water you drink, the more food you will feel compelled to eat.
Reaching for a glass of water instead of food is a great habit to pick up to improve overall health and fat burning.
Water is involved in many neurotransmitter activities as it turns “micro-electric turbines” in our circulation. Water also fills the stomach, which sends the brain signals that we are full.
One research study found that drinking large amounts of water impacted body fat, body mass index (BMI) and appetite.
The 2014 study involved 50 overweight female participants who were instructed to drink 500ml of water 30 minutes before each meal over an eight-week period. They reported appetite suppression and a reduction in body fat and body mass index (BMI).
4. Drinking Water Reduces Liquid Calorie Intake
When thirsty or dehydrated, reach for a glass of water. Filling up with other fluids like energy drinks, soda, coffee, alcohol or fruit juice can significantly add to the calories you consume in a day.
Furthermore, many of these drinks are toxic and produce free radicals in the body that cause disease.
The simple act of replacing some of the liquid you drink in a day with water has been proven to help with weight loss.
In one study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, females who were attending a 24-week weight loss clinic drank 250ml of water after lunch. Interestingly, this small increase in water intake resulted in a 13.6% increase in weight loss.
5. Water is a Key Energy Source
Water is the main source of energy for the body, and as such it creates the electrical and magnetic current of the body. You can think of water as the body’s currency: without it, nutrients would not be able to travel to organs, tissue couldn’t build and waste couldn’t be removed.
People often view food as the primary energy source of the body. The truth is, we can go without food for up to three weeks, but we normally can’t go for more than four days without water.
6. Water Helps the Body Exercise
Water is essential for the body to move and work effectively. As such, ensuring that the body is properly hydrated is critical when exercising.
The amount of water needed depends on body size, age, temperature and activity levels.
If you’re working out more, make sure to drink water several times during the day, especially during exercise.
7. Water is Critical for Waste Removal
The great lymphatic system of the body is the body’s sewage system – made up of 501 to 700 lymph nodes that are filled with immune cells that fight off disease.
Unlike the blood, the lymph fluid doesn’t have a pump. Adequate water is required for this system to remove cellular waste from the trillions of cells in the body.
The kidneys will filter waste from the body only if they have enough water. If the kidneys are starved of water, they can retain water and toxins.
When it comes to food digestion, the majority of waste is eliminated via the colon. This process requires water – otherwise, our system can get blocked up (constipated).
Removing waste through the major elimination channels is essential in weight loss. This includes sweating, which yet again requires a lot of water and salt to work efficiently.
A lack of water can result in fluid retention that just adds to the weight shown on the scales.
The Bottom Line
Water is essential for life and as such, should be given top priority. This is especially true when looking to improve overall health and wellness.
Water helps break down fat, suppress the appetite, provide energy for the body, improve exercise and remove waste from the body.
Women need around 3 litres of water per day, and men around 4 litres for optimal health.
If weight loss is a priority, incidentally, consider reading the following articles:
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
Ensuring that we consume enough water can help the body release stored glucose and reduce BMI.