How does drinking water affect your weight?
Water is essential for your health. You need enough water every day to restore fluids you lose in daily life through your breath, sweat, digestion, and elimination. Water hydrates your skin, keeps your joints lubricated and healthy, and keeps your body cool.
You’ll often read that you should drink water to lose weight, but there isn’t much evidence that this is true. Water makes up 60 percent of your weight: obviously, weight and water are related. That doesn’t mean drinking water will help you lose weight, though.
Your body tightly controls your water levels to protect against dehydration and overhydration. Both of these conditions can lead to slight changes in your weight. But your body works hard to keep your water levels in balance, so water-weight tends to be temporary. Water-weight also is not the same thing as weight caused by fat stores or, for that matter, the weight of muscle or any other material in your body.
In some cases, If you lose a lot of fluids, your body will compensate by holding onto the fluids you do have. This can cause bloating or water retention, which can make you look heavier. Water retention can be a side effect of dehydration and fluid loss from using laxatives for weight loss.
Your kidneys help get rid of extra water in the form of urine. If you have too much fluid in your body, you’ll urinate a lot. If you take in more water than your kidneys can handle, you can have swollen legs and bloating. This is also true if your body fails to process normal levels of water as a result of an underlying condition.
High salt intake can also cause your body to hold onto water. Your body will automatically try to dilute salt by slowing down urinating and holding on to water. You will feel thirsty and want to drink water as your body tries to regain its balance. If that doesn’t work, your body will strip water from your cells and pour it into your blood. Extra salt can make you puffy and bloated, making you appear heavier.
But drinking water doesn’t make you lose fat-related weight. Instead, the connection between drinking water and weight loss is behavior change.
You might mistake your thirst for hunger. If you drink water instead of eating a snack, this can help you stop overeating, which will help with weight loss. A glass of water might also make you feel full, so you’ll eat less, which again leads to weight loss.
Water is calorie-free. Sodas and other sweet, sugary drinks are key sources of calories you might not consider. By simply swapping your drinks for water, you can lower your calories, which will help with weight loss.
These changes in behavior can affect your weight, but it’s not necessarily the water itself that causes weight loss.