While we all know we’re supposed to drink water every day, there are still questions such as how much water you should have and how it impacts the body. These common questions actually have some pretty complex answers — and the proper intake varies from person to person as well as on a number of factors. Water intake requirements can vary based on health, medications, how active you are, where you live and many other factors. Studies have produced various recommendations on water intake and it varies greatly based on individual factors.
How water impacts weight loss is another questionable topic. There are many publications stating that increased water intake may reduce body weight by increasing your metabolism and reducing your appetite. Water and hydration is important for life. It is essential and has many functions. For example, staying hydrated can help maximize physical performance, promote healthy brain function and energy levels, and can help with weight loss.
According to two studies, drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water can temporarily boost metabolism by 24 to 30 percent. One study showed that dieters who drank 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before each meal lost 44 percent more weight over a 12-week period, compared to those who didn’t. Numerous other studies have monitored overweight people who drank 1-1.5 liters (34 to 50 ounces) of water daily for a few weeks. They found a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and body fat.
Weight loss and water intake can potentially be attributed to increasing satiety at or before meals. Also, it is important to differentiate between true hunger and thirst, which can easily be overlooked or interpreted as hunger. Increasing your water intake to optimal hydration can potentially boost metabolic rate as well. Water is involved in every type of cellular process in your body, and when you’re dehydrated your body runs less efficiently. Generally, it appears that drinking sufficient amounts of water, especially before meals, may have a weight loss benefit, especially when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
As for how much to drink, tune into your thirst, and take into account physical activity and other lifestyle factors. The Institute of Medicine has set the recommended amount at around 2.7 liters, or 91 fluid ounces of total water a day for women and an average of 3.7 liters (125fluid ounces) daily for men.
For an average calculation, try to drink between half and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. If you’re living in a hot climate and exercising a lot, you might want to be on the higher end of that range; if you’re in a cooler climate and mostly sedentary, you’d need less. So drink up, listen to your body, and enjoy a refreshing cool glass of water.