A good weight loss program is multifaceted, focusing on more than just “eating less.” Obviously, physical activity is an important part of the process. But one area people often overlook is the need for proper hydration. 

It may not be intuitive to link increased water intake and weight loss, but there’s plenty of science to substantiate it.

Burning calories

Resting energy expenditure is the process by which the human body burns calories. One study showed that a person’s resting energy expenditure increases by as much as 30 percent within 10 minutes of water consumption, and it lasts for about an hour.  

That means you should burn more calories if you increase the quantity of water you drink throughout the day, theoretically speaking. Also, one review of animal studies suggests that water intake facilitates lipolysis, the body’s fat-burning process. 

Removal of waste

Good hydration is key to removing waste from the body. When you aren’t drinking enough water, your kidneys tend to underperform. That can lead to water retention, which impedes weight loss. While it may not seem like common sense that more water consumption leads to less water retention, it’s certainly true.

Likewise, constipation is often the result of too little hydration. When people are not eliminating solid waste, they can feel and look bloated around the midsection. Drinking sufficient quantities of water helps soften up the stools to allow better elimination.

A substitute for high-calorie beverages

People who drink a lot of water often consume fewer sodas, sweet teas, sports drinks, juices and other high-calorie beverages that undermine weight loss goals. In this era of “Big Gulp” fountain selections and the array of sugary drinks in our stores, anything that replaces these less-than-healthy choices is a plus.

Water can also be a substitute for unnecessary eating. When people feel a need to snack, some report that drinking a glass of water can diminish those hunger pangs. It could be that when we think we need something to eat, we really just need to hydrate. 

So, how much?

We’ve all heard recommendations about the amount of water people should consume in a day. As a general rule, the best ratio is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. That means a 200-pound man will drink 100 ounces as maintenance. Add 20 percent for exercise and 20 percent for heat and humidity.

Some people like to carry water bottles with them so they’re reminded to hydrate throughout the day. Whatever works for you, make sure to drink enough life-giving water. It should be a critical component of everyone’s weight loss plan. 

Remember, we at Pinsky Medical Weight Loss are here for you. If you need help losing those pounds and keeping them off, contact us today.