May 2011

Dying of Thirst? Water is Key to Weight Loss, Wellness

Author: Joy Hulse for Metabolic Medical Center

How many times have you said, “I’m dying of thirst”? While the statement is understood to be an exaggeration, it might be closer to the truth than you realize. Human beings can survive without food for weeks, but only a few days without water. But what may surprise you more is the role water can play in weight loss and fat reduction.

Water helps your body eliminate excess weight in two important ways. First, water naturally suppresses your appetite. Drinking a full glass before a meal, for example, helps your body feel full so that you’re less likely to overeat.

Second, water helps your body get rid of fat. Studies have shown that drinking less water actually causes fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water consumption has the opposite effect.

Water manages these two amazing feats by helping your body eliminate waste. Your kidneys filter all the fluid in your body for toxins, metabolic waste and other debris. Without enough water, your kidneys can’t function properly, and some of their waste-eliminating work gets passed to your liver. Your liver can accommodate this extra work, but it has less energy to devote to its own job: metabolizing stored fat. That means more fat remains stored in your body, weight loss stops and that great outfit doesn’t fit as nicely as it used to.

1) Drinking water helps reduce fluid retention. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But when your body gets less water than it needs, it begins hoarding every extra drop of water it can. You can see and feel the effects of this hoarding in your fingers, feet, legs and hands. Diuretics, which force the body to shed water, aren’t the answer. In addition to expelling some vital nutrients along with excess water, these drugs don’t address the initial imbalance that caused your body to conserve water.

2) Water makes your muscles look better. It’s true! Water is vital to your muscles’ natural ability to contract and maintain proper tone.

3) Water makes your skin look better. Significant weight loss can sometimes result in sagging skin, but adequate water can help buoy shrinking cells and plump the skin.

4) Water can relieve and prevent constipation. No one likes to talk about constipation, let alone experience it. But if your body isn’t getting enough water from external sources, it will start taking the precious liquid from internal sources, such as your colon. Drinking enough water can help you maintain normal bowel function and reduce the need to ever talk about this uncomfortable situation.

5) Water helps your body stay clean on the inside. Think of the water you drink as an internal shower. All the work your body does metabolizing fat leads to a lot of waste, and water helps wash that waste out of your system.

Most people need about eight 8-ounce glasses—roughly two quarts of water every day. If you’re overweight, though, you need more water to compensate for your larger metabolic load. Our doctors recommend an additional 8-ounce glass of water for every 25 pounds of excess weight.

You should also drink more water if you’re sweating a lot, such as during exercise or on a particularly warm, dry day. Keep in mind, too, that eating too much sodium can increase your body’s water needs.

Metabolic Medical Center is located at 7 Simmonsville Rd., Suite 200. For more information, visit online at or call (843) 706-0814.


If getting enough water in your daily routine is a challenge, try the following tips:

• Use low-calorie or non-caloric flavored waters

• Flavor your own water with natural fruits or herbs

• Try caffeine- and sugar-free coffee or tea.

• Eat sugar-free Jell-O, which is mostly water.

• Carry a cooler in your car and keep it stocked.

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