Staying Hydrated While Dieting


You may have a healthy diet, exercise consistently, and have devoted yourself to what you feel is an optimal lifestyle. Still, you might be forgetting one of the most important parts of health: hydration.

It is easy to pay attention to diet and exercise, but then overlook what you drank and how much you drank. Though water is an essential nutrient, many Americans do not drink enough of it. Dehydration shows itself in a myriad of ways, but perhaps most noticeably as fatigue and lack of strength or as difficulty concentrating. In extreme circumstances, dehydration can be deadly.

There are many books devoted to nutrition and health, but water is sometimes overlooked as a key nutrient. Kristine Clark of the sports nutrition department at Penn State University has said that most people look at water as an insignificant beverage rather than an essential nutrient. Like any vitamin or mineral, water helps the body function and the absence of it can cause serious health problems.

One of the University of Connecticut’s professors, Larry Armstrong, pointed out that our body composition is 60 percent water by weight, and we need to maintain that amount of water for optimal organ health. Water is in our blood, in our cells, helps our bodies convert food into energy, helps remove waste, carries nutrients and oxygen in the body, and even helps regulate body temperature. Without enough water, some of our efforts in maintaining a healthy lifestyle are in vain. The vitamin systems we ingest, like Kyani, are not efficiently distributed to the cells. Our muscles won’t operate at their peak during exercise. And our body will not rid itself of waste effectively.

It is easy to be dehydrated and not notice. At the point we feel thirst, we are already about 2 percent dehydrated. Dehydration is measured in percentages relative to body weight. For instance, a 140-pound individual who is 1 percent dehydrated has already lost 1.4 pounds in water weight.

Our body reads our water intake by reading the water concentration of our blood at all times. When the water level in our blood reduces by about 1 or 2 percent, then we begin to feel thirst. The current problem is that many people do not drink enough to raise their water level from that 1 or 2 percent deficit.

When we have lost just 1 percent of our water by body weight, then our body begins to show strain, increase its heart rate, and exhibit an increased core body temperature. When have lost 3 percent of water by body weight, our physical endurance declines. Once we have lost 5 percent of water by body weight, we lose strength and may feel dizziness. It does not take much dehydration to cause these troubling symptoms.

The average sedentary person loses 2.5 quarts of water throughout the day without any strenuous physical exertion. For an active person, somewhere between .8 and 1.5 quarts of fluid is lost for every hour of physical activity they take part in. To maintain optimal health, all this water must be replaced.

The common understanding is that eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day is sufficient for proper hydration. This is not necessarily true because that statistic is a baseline. You may need even more than that. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends people drink somewhere from 14 to 22 ounces of water before exercise, 6 to 12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise, and 16 to 24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost while exercising.

Water is vital to health, and if America would simply stay hydrated day by day, then we can reasonably assume the general public would experience greater health.



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