Does Drinking Water Help Lose Weight? And 8 Other Hydrating Questions
Water does a body good, but is it really the miracle cure
that some people claim? Here’s how drinking water really affects your
body and your brain.
By Lauren Gelman
Do I need 8 glasses a day?
go crazy refilling your Sigg; let thirst be your guide. How much water
you need daily depends on your diet, size, and body chemistry, according
to Women’s Health. Nobody really knows where 8 glasses came from, according to a 2008 paper about water myths in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Keep in mind that exercise blunts your thirst mechanism, Lesli Bonci,
RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical
Center, told the magazine. She recommends drinking 20 ounces before
working out to avoid dehydration.
Does drinking water help lose weight?
water before meals may make you eat a little less and that can
contribute to weight loss, although it’s certainly no magic bullet.
However, Virginia Tech researchers found that people ate 75 to 90 fewer
calories when they drank two cups of water right before a meal. In
another study, dieters who drank water before meals three times a day
lost about 15.5 pounds after 12 weeks; those who didn’t increase their
water intake shed about 11 pounds. Swapping sugary beverages for water
is also a good ticket to a thinner waistline.
Can drinking water give me more energy?
In a 2012 Journal of Nutrition
study, women found everyday tasks more difficult, had more trouble
concentrating, and were more fatigued and irritable when they were
mildly dehydrated. Bottom line: If you need a mental pick-me-up, go for a
glass of the water before you sample a snack.
Can you prevent headaches with water?
Some evidence suggests that not drinking enough water could trigger migraines, or make them last longer. One small study in the European Journal of Neurology
found that migraine patients who were assigned to drink more water
experienced fewer headaches over a two-week period than a control group.
Researchers say more research needs to be done; but if you’re prone to
the excruciating headaches, it can’t hurt to drink more water with or
Can water prevent heart disease?
In a classic study of Seventh-day Adventists, those who drank five or
more glasses of water had about half the risk of fatal heart disease
than those who consumed two or fewer glasses. Researchers suspect even
minor dips in hydration could make blood thicker and stickier, which may
make it more prone to clotting. However, with studies like this, be
careful about association versus causation, notes Reader’s Digest columnist Joel K. Kahn, MD, a cardiologist and author of The Holistic Heart Book. It’s possible that water drinkers had other habits in common that also lowered their risk, he notes.
Does drinking more water prevent constipation?
on fluids is frequently blamed for slowing down digestion, but evidence
suggests that drinking more only gets things moving for people who are
very dehydrated, according to a 2010 paper in the journal Nutrition Review.
In one study, the paper points out, increasing water intake by 50
percent didn’t have any effect in a group of children with chronic
constipation, for example. While people with low fluid intake are at
greater risk for constipation, it may be that other underlying
factors—like a low-fiber diet—are the real issue.
Can water help your body naturally detox?
drinking more water helped us detox, it would likely be through
improved kidney function. But this common claim doesn’t really hold up
when you look at the science. “In fact, drinking large amounts of water
surprisingly tends to reduce the kidney’s ability to function as a
filter,” Stanley Goldfarb, MD, a University of Pennsylvania kidney
expert, told NPR.
Will drinking water give me glowing skin, like supermodels claim?
you’re severely dehydrated, drinking extra water is unlikely to affect
your complexion. “If you get dehydrated, your body is going to pull
water from your skin to maintain the concentration in your blood,”
Richard Besser, MD, told ABCNews.com.
This can make your eyes look sunken, and your skin appear older and
more dry. “If you’re not dehydrated and you drink a lot of water, it’s
just going to send you to the bathroom,” he said. Although one study in
2007 found that drinking about 16 ounces of water increases blood flow
to the skin, it’s not clear whether these changes are something you’d
actually notice. As for people who swear by water’s anti-aging effects,
drinking more of it likely means cutting out soda and other sweetened
beverages that can age your skin.