Healthy, Fit & Fabulous: Ask the Dr. ~ Beating the Bloat Blues
Q: How can drinking lots of water during the course of the day help you lose weight? I feel that it only causes bloating and water weight gain?
– Christine P.
A: Water is the most important nutrient we consume. We could survive three to four weeks without food, but only three to four days without water. Our bodies are 50 to 75 percent water (about 10 to 12 gallons). An average adult loses about two and a half quarts, or 10 cups of water daily. So you can see why it’s important to maintain your fluid intake. The recommended daily intake is between eight to 10 cups a day.
Water serves many functions in our body. It carries our blood cells and vital nutrients throughout our system. It serves as a lubricant for our joints and our eyes. It helps us regulate our body temperature through perspiration. It assists our digestive system in breaking down food, first as saliva and then as gastric acid. It keeps our respiratory tract moist, which in turn prevents infection. Lastly, water helps us eliminate waste products through the production of urine. So it’s easy to see that, with all that water does, we couldn’t live long without it.
Getting back to weight loss—water was shown in one study to directly promote weight loss. It’s believed that the body expends calories to raise the temperature of the digestive tract after passing water cools it down. This effect is nominal and wouldn’t lead to significant weight loss by itself. However, water was shown to promote weight loss indirectly by reducing consumption.
Water consumed before and during a meal can reduce food intake in a couple of different ways. First, it slows down your eating. This is important because it takes about 20 minutes for you to start feeling full after starting a meal. If you can prolong your meal, you’ll likely take in fewer calories. The second is that water adds volume to the food you eat. This, in turn, causes greater expansion of your stomach, making you feel fuller faster. So if you’re trying to lose weight, drink two cups of water before each meal and a sip of water between each bite.
Dr. Garry Kim is a physician who specializes in weight loss and nutrition. After winning his own personal battle with obesity, Dr. Kim founded the American Weight Loss Centers. He has maintained his weight loss for more than 15 years and uses his own experience to support others in their personal health & fitness journeys. For more information and to learn about FDA approved weight loss programs, visit www.AmericanWeightLossCenter.com.