A recent study indicates that dieters who replace sugary drinks (soda pop and juice) with water lose more weight than those that don’t. Many of my clients have seen great weight loss results by eliminating soda (and diet soda) completely and drinking more water.
Why does this work?
Muscle tissue is made up of protein and water – without water the human body does not “keep” muscle – slowing metabolism. Drinking water spares the muscle and boosts the metabolism, thus experts tell us to drink water when trying to build muscle and lose weight. If you think you are getting water from food or soda, think again. The body requires more water to digest these types of drinks and most foods then what it gets out of it (even sugary watermelon).
How much water?
The standard answer is 8-12 cups (64 – 96 oz. per day). The amount of water a person needs varies depending on the climate, their weight, body composition and activity level. The best indicator of individual hydration level is done by checking the urine color. Dark yellow indicates dehydration (B-complex vitamins can also cause the urine to become dark, if this is the case, wait and test again in two hours); no urine color or clear indicates over hydration and may result in electrolyte imbalance and cell rupture (which can lead to death in severe cases – too much of a good thing can be dangerous). Light yellow urine color is an indication of the proper level of hydration.
Drinking more water is simple to do.
- Start by logging your daily intake of water. You may need to break out the measuring cups and see how many ounces your usual glass holds. If you find that you’re drinking less than the recommended quantity, try some of the following tips;
- Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go, sipping it throughout the day.
- Keep a cup of water next to you at your desk at work or by the home computer or couch.
- Try setting a watch alarm that sounds hourly to remind you to drink some water.
- Make a habit of drinking 12 ounces of water when you get up in the morning and again before each meal or snack.
- Periodically add a lemon or lime to your water; it makes it taste better and encourages consumption. Be aware that this can also be harmful to the enamel on your teeth so use it periodically to add variety. Crystal Light, Gatorade and other electrolyte drinks contain acetic acid or ascorbic acid which can lead to tooth decay. There is no real reason to drink electrolyte drinks unless you are heavily exercising (ie. running distances over 10 miles at a time).
- Many people say water tastes better when it is cold, so keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. You can also add ice cubes or freeze water in a sports bottle.