Does Water Affect Weight?
Stew Smith, CSCS
This week a young man asked me, “Does water affect weight?” After some digging, I realized he has been observing his mother use one of the 45 Day Plans to lose weight / get fit and this program requires the user to drink more water than they normally would – up to 3-4 quarts a day!!
Most people do not drink enough water in a day PERIOD. The Mayo Clinic states, "Water is your body’s principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 quarts (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 quarts (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. Total beverages mean water and other drinks as well.
As with most things in health / nutrition and exercise, there is always some study that disproves another study.
Many doctors agree that eight ounces of water – eight times a day (2 quarts) has no scientific backing. This is true! Water intake does not and probably should not have a universal standard as water intake depends on the individual / environment / activity level, etc…
The explanation of this question has a few levels of details, so it is broken up in the following sections:
Daily Weight Gain – By drinking more water per day, you will have a series of weight gains throughout the day as a quart (32 oz) of water weighs two pounds. So, as I write this article and sip from my 32 oz glass, I will gain two lbs in the next 90 minutes. Now, I will likely be interrupted by Mother Nature and lose 1-2 lbs from the previous 32 oz glass of water I drank after my early workout. The easy answer is yes – drinking water does affect weight significantly enough to be seen on a scale immediately. Usually, in a 24 hour period, you will cycle through this process of gaining water weight and losing water weight and have either a net loss or stable weight for the day.