Vitamin water is an interesting topic, but what about plain water, and topics of water diet, water and weight loss, and water fasting?
After completing a page about vitamin water I felt a need to add a special page about plain water - and here it is!
Virtually every question about nutrition has several different (sometimes opposite) answers.
Still, I could hardly believe that plain water which looks so "usual" and "basic", can be a subject of discussions and arguments - but this is a reality! There is no consensus even about suggested daily water intake - let alone more advanced stuff like water diet.
On this page you'll find some basic facts, which can give a good start to your own research.
Before approaching a topic of water diet, let's refresh our memory with basic facts about water.
We all know that the very life is now possible without water.
But can you specifically name all functions of water in your body?..
Here they are:
Transportation Water carries other nutrients and essential elements throughout the body, and also transports "out" the body wastes.
Lubrication Water contained in and around body tissues defends against shock. Your brain, eyes and spinal cord are among the body’s sensitive organs that depend on a protective water layer. Digestive system could not work without water: moving food through the digestive tract would be impossible. Your joints also depend on water as a lubricant for smooth movements.
Biochemical processes In order to digest proteins and carbohydrates, your body needs water as part of the chemical reactions which transform these nutrients into simpler forms for further absorption.
Body temperature regulation Water changes temperature slowly. Being a good heat storage substance, it is able to help regulate body temperature. Evaporation of water from body surfaces (sweating) also helps cool the body.
More water features and facts
Water contains no calories and no cholesterol
Water is a natural appetite suppressant
Water helps the body to metabolize fat
Wait a minute... No calories, appetite suppressant, fat metabolism... It looks that all these qualities make water a perfect component for any weight control program! It turns out that it is true, and we'll get back to it shortly, in the section about the water diet.
On average, food gives about 20% of total water intake, and the remaining 80% come from drinking water and other liquids.
The human brain is made up of 95% water. Your blood is about 82% water and lungs are about 90%.
Overall, depending on age, water makes up to 75% of human body weight
Reduction by 2% of body water amount will cause dehydration symptoms to appear: thirst, dry mouth, headache, decrease in sweat and urine discharge. Reduction by 5% causes severe dehydration, with symptoms of dizziness, problems with focus, fatigue. Loss of 10% of body water may be fatal.
Water keeps muscles from cramping, and also participates in muscle contraction
Glass of water - 8 times a day!
Water is a basic nutrient, but unlike other nutrients, which have established daily intake recommendation, there are no specific requirements for a daily water intake. Because of the wide range of conditions related to the climate, physical activity, age, state of health and even body size, the need in water would be different for different people.
However, a common guideline is "8x8": every day, drink 8 glasses of water, 8 ounces each (about 240 ml).
You may see claims that the overweight person needs one additional glass for every 25 pounds excess weight. Strangely enough, none of sources where I saw this claim gives any idea how to determine the amount of this “excess weight”…
In cases of demanding physical activity, exposure to high temperature or sickness, water intake should be increased. Special consideration should be given to children, as children have lower sweating capacity than adults, and cannot efficiently tolerate high temperature. Water diet also requires increased amounts of water (read on for more details).
"8x8" drinking rule appears in majority of information sources, starting with NIH (National Institute of Health); here is a reference link.
There are however other theories, which state that this requirement is much overstated, as are overstated claims of "chronic dehydration" of population in developed nations.
For example, physician Heinz Valtin, MD, from Dartmouth Medical School claims that the 8 glasses rule is more of “urban myth” than medical recommendation – and it appears to lack any scientific support. He emphasizes though that that this conclusion is limited to healthy adults living in a moderate climate. Doctor Valtin also states that intakes of fluid equal to and greater than 8 x 8 are desirable for the prevention of some diseases, such as kidney stones. You can see an article with more details here.
Has this anything to do with water diet? Well... Water diet assumes much higher water intake than 8x8 rule…
Water and weight loss
Just from the list of water features one would guess that water can play a major role in any water control program. I saw articles about water diet which assert that "clean water is a true magic potion for losing weight". But really - to what extent does water help to loss weight?...
I decided to leave alone the "magic", and tried to look for some real relation between water and weight loss.
Water retention It may happen under some health conditions that your body would start keeping water "to itself". Lack of proper hydration is one of reasons for your body to switch to an "emergency" regimen, and to start storing liquids.
If this happens, body parts - usually legs, hands - begin to swollen from extra water stored between body cells. Quite a paradox: extra liquid is stored as a result of... lack of liquid!
A simple, straightforward (and also paradoxical!) remedy is... to drink more water!
Once the body feels the water abundance, there will be no more reason to store water within. In this case weight loss could be achieved as a result of getting rid of extra liquids (but not the extra fat).
WARNING: There are several causes – and remedies – for water retention. You should always consult your physician, or medical professional, if you see symptoms of your body storing excess liquids!
Water fasting Water fasting is a whole science by itself. There are many books about it, and whole institutes have been established to research water fasting, and to assist those who want to try it.
Here are several basic facts which will give you an idea what water fasting is about:
Water fasting IS NOT the same as water diet!
Main purpose of water fasting is not a weight loss, but cleansing from toxins (detoxification, or just detox).
Water fasting assumes total avoidance not only of solid food, but also of liquid foods (soups, juices). Food avoidance period can vary from one day to 30 days and more.
Water fasting requires necessary preparation periods before and after fasting, when digestive system slowly moves from one mode of functioning to another.
Many interesting phenomena have been reported by people who undertook water fasting. Most common observations include elevated energy level, increased alertness and clearness of mind and absence of hunger after a couple of days.
If you decide to try water fasting - do your homework first! Consult with your doctor, and ALSO with a medical specialist specializing in water fasting.
REMEMBER: Water fasting is not for everyone, and if not undertaken properly, may cause severe health damage!
What is water diet?
There are two different meanings for the term “water diet”.
Sometimes water diet is used as another name for so called “lemonade diet”, also known under names “lemon cleanse” and “maple syrup diet”.
This is another method of body cleansing, or detoxification. Instead of drinking plain water, as in “classic” water fasting technique, during lemon diet you would drink a special mix of water with fresh lemon juice, organic maple syrup (grade B) and cayenne pepper. (As you can see, this is not a “pure” water diet.) Body weight loss usually occurs during lemonade diet, but this is not the main purpose of it.
Finally, a “classic form” of water diet is when you add three full glasses of cold water to each meal: one glass before, one glass during the meal, and one after.
Extra water fills your stomach, so you do not feel hungry, which makes you eat less. At the same time, water has no calories, so there is no problem with getting extra fat as a result of drinking more water. (“Coke diet” would not work – it must be “water diet”.. :-))
In addition, plenty of water helps your liver to perform one of its main functions: metabolizing of body fat, or, simply put - transforming body fat into energy. If there is not enough liquids in your body, liver "takes on" some functions of kidneys, and does not process fat efficiently. Water diet gives your body extra liquids, and this helps your liver with "burning" that fat.
Water diet sounds fairly simple – until you start it.
These tips may help you, if you’ll decide to give it a try:
Make water handy at all times. Carry a bottle of water with you. Put a giant mug on your desk. Have some bottled water in your car.
Do not like drinking plain water? Add some taste! A slice of lemon or two drops of lime juice would make all the difference.
Make your water diet as fun as it can be! Use your favorite cocktail glass to drink a water from it.
Drink cold water: it tastes better, and it is better for your body. Of course, if it is cold, you can drink warm water, too.
If you wonder whether water diet works – check out the following video!