Tap, fountain, filtered, fizzy or infused, water is always going to be the best all-around beverage. But how much do we need, and is there a link between water intake and weight?
We all know H20 is essential to our overall health. Feeling the effects of dehydration, whether on our mental, physical or emotional health, is no fun and research backs this up. Numerous studies show attention, memory and mood can be damaged, and physical distress such as headaches, constipation and kidney problems can result from dehydration. Without even considering weight, there’s reason enough to drink water.
But also, thirst sometimes masquerades as hunger—it can be difficult to tell what we need. This is one of the links between water intake and weight that recent research has explored. For now, the research on water intake and weight is unclear, but:
- One study shows that, for some people, drinking a glass of water before a meal can result in eating less calories.
- Some studies have shown a link between chronic dehydration and overweight status.
- Drinking more water may play a role in weight loss (particularly if you choose it instead of sugary drinks).
So how can you tell if you are drinking enough water?
The most reliable way is to check in with your body. When hydrated, urine is the color of pale straw and that’s a sign of getting enough fluids. If it is regularly darker, that’s typically a sign of needing to step up your fluid intake game.
The American Dietetics Association also has hydration recommendations that are customized for individuals based on weight, calorie intake, age, physical activity and health.