What you choose to eat throughout the day can benefit (or completely sabotage) your weight loss efforts.
“People often eat healthy food, but don’t think about their drinks,” he says. Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDNRegistered Dietitian and National Media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “They probably drink several sodas a day, juices and flavored drinks that all contain carbohydrates and sugars, which add up calories over time.”
On the flip side, if you make healthy drink choices, weight loss can take a positive turn.
“Once you eliminate calorie-dense drinks from your day, you may quickly see a shift in weight by simply cutting out any calorie-dense beverage that you tend to drink a lot each day,” adds Ehsani.
And the The best drink you can have for weight loss is water.
“The only drink I’d say we need more of that’s completely free, accessible, has no calories, no added sugar, no added flavors — and that your body needs more than any other beverage out there — is water,” says Ehsani.
How does water help you lose weight?
There are many reasons why you should drink more water.
“First of all, our bodies are primarily made of water, so we need it every day,” Ehsani adds. “It’s essential to our overall health and well-being. It helps get things moving! It removes waste from your body through your digestive system and can help prevent constipation. It can help clear you out,” she says.
Specifically in regards to weight loss, there is scientific evidence to support its benefits.
“Studies show that drinking enough water will help you lose weight, as it can prevent you from overeating,” says Ehsani. “If you’re dehydrated and eat a meal, you’re more likely to mistake thirst for hunger and keep eating, when in reality you’re probably just thirsty.”
She adds that studies have also found that those who drank water before meals ate less at meal times, as adequate water intake was found to reduce appetite in the elderly.
How much water should you drink to reap its weight loss benefits?
So how much do you need? Of course, you may have heard it’s eight cups a day, but the recommendation is actually more than that.
“The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend 11 cups a day for women and 15 cups a day for men,” Ehsani says.
If you’re not anywhere near that number, Ehsani suggests that you start slowly and work your way up.
“You only drink four to five cups now? Set a goal of at least six cups a day, and set reminders around your home and workplace to remind yourself to drink,” she says. “Have it sitting at your work desk, set a calendar or watch reminders. Download an app that helps you remind and keep track of your glasses of water each day.”
I note that you can also check the color of your urine to see if you are drinking enough.
“If it’s dark like apple juice, it’s an indication that you’re dehydrated and you need to start taking it,” Ehsani says.
And think about the last time you went to the bathroom.
“Has it been more than 4 hours? You may be dehydrated,” she says. “Hydrated individuals use the restroom every two to four hours.”