Girl Interrupted

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

[+/-] Diet: Why is water so critical to weight loss?

I'm sure I have written about this before, but I can't find that post, so here it is again: Why is water critical to losing weight?

No, don't roll your eyes! This is very important!

1) To "flush out toxins".
Everyone knows burning fat supposedly releases a lot of "toxins" that need to be flushed out. I don't really like the term "toxins", but I suppose its true - metabolic waste products do need to be flushed, and the easiest way to do that is through the urine. Or breath - do you ever get that furry feeling on your tongue while on diet, or halitosis? You can alleviate this diet side effect by drinking more water.

2) To keep your kidneys focused so your liver doesn't have to.
Your major fat burning factory in the body is your liver. You want your fat factory burning at maximum capacity. Unfortunately, your body doesn't quite see things the way you do - for your body, minor things like, say, keeping you alive, is more important than you fitting into your size 34 jeans again. So, when you are dehydrated (and losing weight, so more to clear out anyway), your kidneys start to struggle to perform their function properly. Your liver then kicks in to help out, since keeping your blood clear of metabolic waste products ("toxins") is a more urgent and important function. Bad, bad. You don't want to distract your liver. Keep your kidneys happy, and your liver can focus on your fat and not have to pick up the slack. This is my favourite reason to drink water, by the way. (Look after your kidneys, you'll miss them when they're gone.")

3) Three water molecules per fat molecule.

You can visualise a fat molecule as looking like a big letter E. When your body breaks fat down, it chops off the horizontal arms of the E and caps the "freshly cut" ends with a water molecule - sort of, I suppose, like a plaster. (Ok, bear with me if you're a biologist or scientist - I'm writing this for non-scientists, and really, I think that's the easiest way of explaining). Half the "plaster" (water molecule) goes on the vertical bit (the | part of the E), and the other half goes on the horizontal bit. As you can see, there are three arms on the E, so three water molecules are needed (again, I know - very simplistic, but if you're a scientist, bear with). This is the most water your body will need to break down a nutrient - carbohydrates only require one water, and proteins only require one or two, depending on the protein. So, if you want your fat broken down at all, you are going to need to provide your body with the tools to do it - there are other more important things your body may need to use its supply of water for, so don't make it have to choose!
Just for reference: the E represents a "triglyceride". The vertical | represents a glycerol molecule, and the three "arms" of the E are three fatty acids.
4) You're probably thirsty, not hungry
I'm sure we've all heard how, if you feel hungry (particularly if you feel hungry and thirsty at the same time) you should drink some water, because you're more than likely just thirsty.

5) You'll help regulate your acidity levels if you're on a high protein diet.
High protein, low carb diets often result in the production of ketone bodies, too much of which can cause your body to go into ketoacidosis, as I've explained in an earlier post. Drinking water helps to regulate this pH imbalance.

There are more reasons, but they are too boring to type up - google it ;)

So, there you have it. Drink up, ladies and gentlemen. How much? Divide your body weight (in kilograms) by 55.5555 (recurring) to get an approximation in liters. On average, 2 to 3 liters per day, plus an extra 250 ml (8-oz) glass per 12.5 kg (25 lb) that you are overweight. Add more if you exercise or drink diuretics like coke, coffee, tea, etc. And if you live in a hot climate.

So, I guess that means I should be drinking about 4 liters a day - wow. Well, nearly there - up to 3 liters a day consistently. And hell, its just as easy drinking eight 500-ml bottles of water as it is drinking eight 250-ml glasses...

  [+/-] Links to this post
  • At Mon Jan 09, 08:12:00 am GMT+2, Blogger Psychomuffin said…

    Just a note of caution: My mum started the obligatory 2 litres a day a few weeks back and has now been diagnosed with serious water retention (oedema - similar to CTS)that would have resulted in surgery to her shoulders and elbows if she had continued. She was told, in no uncertain terms, to Stop It and to 'drink when she's thirsty not when a magazine tells her to.' Bodies are unique and nobody else can say with any certainty how much water you need to funtion effectively. My thought - if you feel you aren't drinking enough, increase your water intake slowly and if your body objects - cut back. Do this until you find the level at which you feel at your best. Formulae are all well and good but they work out intake for the average person. No-one is average.


  • At Mon Jan 09, 09:29:00 am GMT+2, Blogger dreamweaver said…

    Well, I will certainly keep that in mind. So far, I'm feeling great for drinking 3 liters a day. If I don't, I start feeling thirsty and dehydrated.


  • At Tue Jan 10, 06:06:00 pm GMT+2, Blogger OORANOS said…

  • At Wed Jan 18, 12:20:00 pm GMT+2, Blogger -Eden- said…

    well, i am overweight, and trying to rectify that, so as many people and sources say, i have been trying to drink more water, which is all eaasy and fine, but i need the loo a lot more when i drink more water. This happens to others not just me right? i'm sure its just my body getting used to it or something.??


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