On day 5 of our 12 basic habits of Christmas, we will look into our pile of “I know I should do this, but I just don’t…”. Drink water. We are talking specifically about water here, the good ole fashioned H20 kind. Not coffee, or diet soda, or the fizzy water with the citrus flavours. Plain water. The human body is about 65-75% water. Your blood, muscles, and even your brain all contain a whole lot of water. Water also assists in temperature regulation, waste removal, and protecting vital organs. Therefore, becoming even a little bit dehydrated will diminish the capacity of these organs to function optimally.
Water is also very important when it comes to weight loss (1,2). This 2008 study concluded that the more water their participants drank prior to eating a meal, the less food they ate during the meal. Less food consumption decreases the “calories in” portion of the energy equilibrium equation. Exercise can also be greatly affected by water intake due to the aforementioned fact that muscles are predominantly water; even very mild dehydration can diminish exercise capacity3. More exercise increases the “calories out” portion of the equation. Therefore, drinking water helps both sides of the equation, which increases the chances of weight loss success.
Now that I’ve (hopefully) compelled you to drink more water, the next phase of this discussion is how much water to drink? Unfortunately, there are no hard rules on this. The old adage is 8 cups of water each day. However, this can vary based on exercise and climate. A good rule of thumb is to look at your urine. If it is dark amber in colour, you could do with some more water.
1 Daniels, M.C., Popkin, B.M. (2010) Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review. Nutr Rev. 68(9):505-21. Review.
2 Davy, B.M., Dennis, E.A., Dengo, A.L., Wilson, K.L., Davy, K.P. (2008) Water Consumption Reduces Energy Intake at a Breakfast Meal in Obese Older Adults Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 108 (7): 1236-1239.
3 Mohr, M., Mujika, I., Santisteban, J., Randers, M.B., Bischoff, R., Solano, R., Hewitt, A., Zubillaga, A., Peltola, E., Krustrup, P. (2010) Examination of fatigue development in elite soccer in a hot environment: a multi-experimental approach. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 20 (Suppl 3):125-32.