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Does Drinking Water Keep My Metabolism Going?

By Amber Keefer

Although the effect is brief and quite small, drinking water may help you lose weight by burning extra calories. The findings of a study reported in the December 2003 issue of “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” suggest that drinking water may help increase the body’s metabolic rate. Regardless of these research conclusions, proper cellular hydration is necessary for efficient cellular metabolism.

Health Benefits

Whether or not drinking more water will help you burn additional calories each day, water is an essential nutrient, and an important part of healthy eating. The body needs water to perform a number of vital functions. Water keeps the body’s delicate electrolyte balance intact and carries nutrients to the cells so that they can function properly. It is a major component of blood and lymph fluid, a fundamental part of the immune system. Beth Czerwony, a licensed dietitian in Cleveland Clinic’s nutrition therapy department advises that while you need to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, drinking bottled water is not necessarily better for you than drinking water from the tap.

Rate of Metabolism

A person’s rate of metabolism varies depending on age, gender, percentage of body fat compared to lean muscle and amount of regular physical activity, points out Joanne Larsen, registered dietitian and nutrition counselor. Infants, children and teenagers have higher metabolic rates due to growth hormone. Men have faster metabolisms than women do because of higher testosterone levels, although a woman’s rate of metabolism increases when she is pregnant or breastfeeding. A woman’s basal metabolic rate also drops after menopause. While drinking water is healthy, Larsen says that exercise is a proven method for increasing your metabolism.

Indirect Benefits

The slight increase in metabolism that occurs for a few minutes after drinking water may be due to the body working to heat the water you drink. Although drinking water may not increase your metabolism directly, drinking more water increases blood volume in the body. This gets more oxygen and nutrients to cells and carries out more waste. These processes help increase the efficiency with which the body’s cells work.

Adequate Fluid Intake

How much water you need to drink every day depends on your activity level and whether you are sick, pregnant or breastfeeding. You can give your body enough water by replacing the fluids you lose. Most adults excrete about 6 cups of urine each day, according to Breathing, sweating and bowel movements account for more water your body loses. All totaled, your body loses approximately 2.5 liters of water a day. Since the food you eat makes up roughly 20 percent of your total daily fluid intake, drinking 2 liters of water should replace the fluids you lose.

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