Statistics show that less than half of all Americans drink enough water throughout the day and that it can have a serious effect on our health. Proper hydration when dieting is especially important. Our bodies need water to flush out toxins, process the vitamins and minerals we get from food and keep our organs healthy. Dehydration can even lead to mental imbalances, lack of energy and behavioral problems in children.
Proper hydration when dieting is important because diets often work by helping flush toxins from processed foods, chemical additives and even air pollution from our bodies. If the diet is truly healthy, it focuses on eliminating fatty, processed foods and replacing them with foods rich in antioxidants, which work to eliminate the free radicals in our cells.
These foods cannot work or do not work as well, however, unless our body is hydrated. Also, dehydration can make you feel hungry, which in turn makes you eat more. Simply drinking enough water throughout the day can help you feel full faster and stop your food cravings.
So how much water is enough to maintain proper hydration when dieting? According to the Mayo Clinic, you should drink approximately 2.2 liters or 9 cups per day if you are a woman, while men should drink approximately 3 liters or 13 cups of water per day. However, it is important to know that different people benefit from different amounts. For example, you may not need as much water if you also drink other fluids, like tea and coffee, and eat meals that include soups. Or you may need more water if you exercise frequently or spend a lot of the day outside in the sun to maintain proper hydration when dieting.
How do you know if you are getting enough?
If you drink enough water throughout the day, your body will feel energized. If you lack energy, dehydration may be the culprit.
Your scalp and skin most likely won’t be dry and flaky, and your hair won’t be lifeless and dull if you drink enough water.
And one of the best ways to tell if you are achieving proper hydration when dieting: your urine will be light yellow or clear. If your urine is bright yellow and infrequent, it is possible you are dehydrated.
Here are some great ways to maintain proper hydration when dieting:
Drink a glass of fluid (water or decaf, herbal tea is best) every hour during the day.
Keep a carafe of ice water in the refrigerator so you have instant access to cold, refreshing water. Fill it with fresh, sliced lemons and cucumbers if you don’t like the taste.
Carry a reusable bottle that is easy to drink out of. It is more environmentally friendly and better for your wallet if you fill a reusable bottle up every time you pass a water fountain.
Mix water with low calorie flavorings if you don’t like the taste of water, but try to watch your intake of sugar. Sugar can actually dehydrate you and has other undesirable consequences as well.