When we are dehydrated, our brain will often mistake the feeling of thirst for the feeling of hunger. This often results in raiding the fridge and consuming extra calories.
If you do not get enough to drink on a daily basis, you will feel tired. You will feel hungry because your body thinks it needs food for energy. This sense of feeling tired often relates to your body not taking in enough fluids, which help your body function better.
Until recently, there’s been limited scientific literature on the topic of water intake and weight control.
Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at hydration status in relation to obesity and body mass index (BMI). They combined and analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) from 2009 to 2012.
Based on this data, they concluded that hydration status was significantly associated with a higher BMI. The odds of being obese were 1.59 times higher for individuals who were inadequately hydrated compared with individuals than who were hydrated. Their findings:
•Average-weight individuals require approximately 2.7 litres (women) to 3.7 litres (men) of fluid a day.
•Overweight and obese individuals generally require more fluid.
•It’s important to drink fluid between meals.
•Dehydration can cause tiredness, poor concentration, headaches and constipation.
•Chronic conditions, exercise and other factors such as climate can affect your fluid needs. If you have health concerns or are unsure about how much you need to drink, talk to your doctor or dietitian.
•Fruits and vegetables contain water. They help with hydration and should be included in every meal and snack.
In addition, Deakin University diet expert Associate Professor Tim Crowe says that it’s better to eat your fluids than drink them, so long as you replace your water bottle with healthy snacks like carrots and apples.
His reasoning is that fruits and vegetables are the foods with the highest water content, and are a more nutritious method of hydration than plain water.
“If you eat those fruits and vegetables you’ll get a lot of water from them, but you’re also getting their other benefits to your health – vitamins and minerals and potentially fibre too.”
Top Coach Tips
1.If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away, because your body was actually just thirsty
2.Keeping track of what you drink and eat each day, will not only help you stop overeating, it will also help you keep a track on whether you’re drinking enough water.
3. Try and start each day with a glass or two of water as soon as you get up.
4.Follow your morning coffee with a cup of hot water.
5. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
6. Drink water before, during and after exercise.
7. Drink as much as you can in the mornings so that you don’t have to wake up during the night.
8. Drink a glass of water between each meal. Make sure you give yourself at least half an hour before you eat solid food or an hour after your meal.
9. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
10. Make water your drink of choice. Think of water as this magic potion that has incredible benefits for your health….because it really is.
Drinks to avoid:
Just a 20-ounce bottle of cola gives you 16 teaspoons of sugar through high-fructose corn syrup.
Commercial fruit juices are another sweetened drink that you should avoid because they do not have any hydrating properties and are loaded with sugar. Most processed fruit juices are made with little resemblance of what an actual fresh fruit juice would be.
Diet soft drinks are pumped with artificial sweeteners. There is plenty of research that shows the consumption of artificial sweeteners is associated with eating more.
Beverage companies advertise that sports drinks will help replenish the electrolytes in your body during exercise or outdoor activities, but the most contain High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners provide an intensely sweet taste without any calories which can actually cause you to crave more sweet foods and drinks. In turn, the sweetness drive you to eat more kilojoules from sweet foods and drinks than you normally would.
“While sugar signals a positive feeling of reward, artificial sweeteners may not be an effective way to manage a craving for sweets. Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain,” Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox
This is due to the brains ability to sense sweetness and energy intake. What this means is that when we consume something that contains artificial sweetener our brain thinks we are also getting something that will supply us with energy.
When there is no energy, the brain responds by promoting more food intake, to make up for the lack of energy.