This post was written by Zevia Ambassador, registered dietitian and nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein! Ilana maintains a successful private practice in Beverly Hills, as well as for A&E's #FitToFatToFit. She has also led the Bruin Health Improvement Program at UCLA for 9 semesters. She personally transformed her own life, losing 85 pounds, and uses that experience to help her clients change theirs!
Do you want to start looking and feeling healthier right away? The best, easiest, and most effective change you can make is drinking more water! Of course, other factors contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but water really needs to be the first and foremost step and focus for optimal health.
Water is overlooked
Often health professionals in the media will discuss the importance of macronutrients, the nutrition elements that we need in our diet, such as protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Yet oddly, they won’t even mention the most important nutrient of all: water! Although not recommended, we can live almost three weeks without food, but we can’t live more than three days without water! It is without a doubt the most important nutrient of life.
Our bodies are made of mostly water
Water is the principle makeup of the human body, it can account for up to 70% of our weight and varies based on gender, age, and fitness level.
An average 150-pound man has 42 liters of water in him! We need that much water to help us transport vitamins and minerals, maintain body temperature, aid in metabolism, and digestion (1).
Just by living, without even exercising, we lose 5-10% of our body water per day. We lose water just by breathing! The average desk-bound adult loses anywhere from 1-3 liters per day. And if we are exercising, we can lose up to 6-7 liters per day (1,2). When you aren’t giving yourself the water you need, dehydration can manifest in feeling tired, groggy, irritable, and lead to headaches and constipation. Most people don’t realize that feeling thirsty is a sign of dehydration. So drinking a lot of water regularly has to be an active act, more than a passive one.
Drink more water
Not only does drinking cold water increase your metabolism, it also helps to reduce hunger, and increase fullness (2,3,4,5). Because hunger and thirst are both controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain, I’ve realized that most people confuse these two sensations all day long. When a lot of us feel like we’re hungry, we really are just thirsty (6)!
There is some water in all of our foods. For example, beef is made up of 75% water, Butter is 15% water, and Swiss cheese is 37% water. If we aren’t getting enough water people confuse their underlying thirst with hunger, and then overeat these kinds of foods. This is why my catchphrase has always been “Water First, Veggies Most.” Because if everyone drank 16 ounces of water before a meal, and ate more vegetables, they would feel and look healthier almost instantaneously.
The amount of water you need per day can vary depending on many things like metabolism, climate, and even the clothing you wear. Studies have shown that water needs for inactive to somewhat active men can range from 2.5-3.2 liters per day. If you are a more active adult living in a warm environment, like California, your water needs can reach 6 liters per day (1).
Quick tip: Take your weight in pounds divided by 2 for your goal of ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, that would mean 100 ounces of water per day.
Make drinking water more fun
You might be thinking that 100 ounces sounds like a lot, and water can get boring. You add toppings to your pizza and ice cream, and fix-ins to your salads, so start getting creative with your water! Spruce it up with lemons, fruit, and mint leaves.
Zevia Sparkling Waters now make it easier than ever to drink more ounces! Zevia Sparkling Waters are lightly flavored and a little bit sweet. Water doesn’t have to be boring anymore! When hitting your daily water goals, give your taste buds a treat with these new sparkling waters.
You can also get creative by adding the cucumber lemon flavor to a few ounces of white wine as a twist on a white wine spritzer. Blend the blackberry with some fruit for a low calorie refreshing slushy, or even play with the mandarin and lime flavors in a salad dressing recipe!
Learn more about Ilana on her Zevia Ambassador page! You can also follow Ilana on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
- Sawka MN, Cheuvront SN, Carter R. Human Water Needs. Nutrition Reviews. 2005;63. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2005.tb00152.x.
- Daniels MC, Popkin BM. Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews. 2010;68(9):505-521. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00311.x.
- Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Comber DL, et al. Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older Adults. Obesity. 2009;18(2):300-307. doi:10.1038/oby.2009.235.
- Davy BM, Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Wilson KL, Davy KP. Water Consumption Reduces Energy Intake at a Breakfast Meal in Obese Older Adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2008;108(7):1236-1239. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2008.04.013.
- Walleghen ELV, Orr JS, Gentile CL, Davy BM. Pre-meal Water Consumption Reduces Meal Energy Intake in Older but Not Younger Subjects*. Obesity. 2007;15(1):93-99. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.506.
- Perry S. The Neural Regulation of Thirst. BrainFacts.org. http://www.brainfacts.org/brain-basics/neural-network-function/articles/2008/the-neural-regulation-of-thirst/. Published March 16, 2008. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- Symptoms. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/symptoms/con-20030056. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight. RSS 20. https://authoritynutrition.com/drinking-water-helps-with-weight-loss/. Published December 2015. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- Result Filters. National Center for Biotechnology Information. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205. Accessed August 31, 2016.
- Result Filters. National Center for Biotechnology Information. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17519319. Accessed August 31, 2016.