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Why Drinking Water Really is the Key to Weight Loss, by Maia Appleby

Don't roll your eyes! The potion for losing that excess body fat is all around you. It covers two thirds of the planet. If you eat right and exercise at the intensity, frequency and duration proper for you, but still can't get rid of a little paunch here and there, you're probably just not drinking enough water.

No need to get defensive. You're actually quite normal. Most people don't drink enough water. Most people are also carrying around a few more pounds than they would be if they did drink enough water. If you can't seem to get that weight off, try drowning your sorrows in nature's magical weight-loss mineral. It works, and here's why:
"What on Earth is 'metabolism', anyway?" People use the term all the time, but ask them what it means and you'll get all kinds of answers. Merriam Webster defines it as, "The process by which a substance is handled in the body." A little vague, but that's really all it means.

There are many forms of metabolism going on in your body right now, but the one everyone is talking about it the metabolism of fat. This is actually something that the liver does when it converts stored fat to energy. The liver has other functions, but this is one of its main jobs.

Unfortunately, another of the liver's duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly. If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do their work along with its own, lowering its total productivity. It then can't metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently as it could when the kidneys were pulling their own weight. If you allow this to happen, not only are you being unfair to your liver, but you're also setting yourself up to store fat.

"I've tried it and I couldn't stand it!" The problem is that, though many decide to increase their water intake, very few stick with it. It's understandable. During the first few days of drinking more water than your body is accustomed to, you're running to the bathroom constantly. This can be very discouraging, and it can certainly interfere with an otherwise normal day at work. It seems that the water is coming out just as fast as it's going in, and many people decide that their new hydration habit is fruitless.

Do take heed, though. What is really happening is that your body is flushing itself of the water it has been storing throughout all those years of "survival mode". It takes a while, but this is a beautiful thing happening to you. As you continue to give your body all the water it could ask for, it gets rid of what it doesn't need. It gets rid of the water it was holding onto in your ankles and your hips and thighs, maybe even around your belly. You are excreting much more than you realize. Your body figures it doesn't need to save these stores anymore; it's trusting that the water will keep coming, and if it does, eventually, the flushing (of both the body and the potty) will cease, allowing the human to return to a normal life. It's true. This is called the "breakthrough point."

One recent finding, as irresponsible as it may be, that caffeine increases the body's fat-burning potential has many people loading up on coffee before going to the gym. This finding may hold some degree of truth in it, but caffeine is, in essence, a diuretic, and diuretics dehydrate. Caffeine may increase the heart rate, causing a few more calories to be burned, but this is at the expense of the muscles, which need water to function properly. This isn't doing your heart any favors, either. It's already working hard enough during your workout. Never mix caffeine and exercise. In fact, your best bet is to stay away from caffeine all together. It's a big bully that pushes your friend water out of your system.

Water is the best beauty treatment. You've heard this since high school, and it's true. Water will do wonders for your looks! It flushes out impurities in your skin, leaving you with a clear, glowing complexion. It also makes your skin look younger. Skin that is becoming saggy, either due to aging or weight loss, plumps up very nicely when the skin cells are hydrated.

In addition, it improves muscle tone. You can lift weights until you're blue in the face, but if your muscles are suffering from a drought, you won't notice a pleasant difference in your appearance. Muscles that have all the water they need contract more easily, making your workout more effective, and you'll look much nicer than if you had flabby muscles under sagging skin.

"Eight glasses a day? Are you kidding?!" It's really not that much. Eight 8-ounce glasses amount to about two quarts of water. This is okay for the average person, but if you're overweight, you should drink another eight ounces for every 25 pounds of excess weight you carry. You should also up this if you live in a hot climate or exercise very intensely.
This water consumption should be spread out throughout the day. It's not healthy at all to drink too much water at one time. Try to pick three or four times a day when you can have a big glass of water, and then sip in between. Don't let yourself get thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you're already becoming dehydrated. Drink when you're not thirsty yet.
Do you think water is yucky? Drinking other fluids will certainly help hydrate your body, but the extra calories, sugar, additives and whatever else aren't what you need. Try a slice of lemon or lime in the glass, or if you really think you hate water, try a flavored water. Just make sure you read the labels. Remember that you're going to be consuming a lot of this fluid.

It's probably a good idea to stop drinking water a good three hours before you go to bed. You know why.

"How cold should it be?" This is debatable. Most experts lean toward cold water, because the stomach absorbs it more quickly. There is also some evidence that cold water might enhance fat burning.

On the other hand, warmer water is easier to drink in large quantities, and you might drink more of it without even realizing it. Do whatever suits you, here. Just drink it!
When you drink all the water you need, you will very quickly notice a decrease in your appetite, possibly even on the first day! If you're serious about becoming leaner and healthier, drinking water is an absolute must. If you're doing everything else right and still not seeing results, this might just what's missing.


Drinking Tap Water Disinfected With Chlorine May Harm Fetus, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (June 5, 2008) — Drinking water disinfected by chlorine while pregnant may increase the risk of having children with heart problems, cleft palate or major brain defects, according to a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health.

This finding, based on an analysis of nearly 400,000 infants in Taiwan, is the first that links by-products of water chlorination to three specific birth defects.

Water chlorination is a widely used and efficient method to disinfect drinking water and reduce the occurrence of waterborne diseases. However, numerous studies have revealed the presence of many chlorination by-products in the water. Recent research suggests that prenatal exposure to these by-products may increase the risk of birth defects.

A research team led by Jouni Jaakkola from the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Birmingham, UK, gathered data on almost 400,000 infants born in Taiwan. The researchers used statistical analyses to see if drinking tap water containing high, medium or low levels of chlorination by-products increased the risk of 11 common birth defects.

Although the researchers found no direct link between the prevalence of any birth defect and the level of exposure, their calculations revealed that exposure to high levels of by-products substantially increased the risk of three common defects: ventricular septal defects (holes in the heart), cleft palate, and anencephalus (where neural development fails, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp).

Exposure to total trihalomethanes above 20 ìg/L was associated with an increased risk of 50 to 100% compared with levels below 5 ìg/L. These results were corroborated by additional analyses, using pooled data from a number of similar studies.

"The biological mechanism for how these disinfection by-products may cause defects are still unknown," says Jaakkola. "However, our findings don't just add to the evidence that water chlorination may cause birth defects, but suggest that exposure to chlorination by-products may be responsible some specific and common defects. Whilst the benefits of water chlorination are quite evident, more research needs to be carried out to determine these side-effects."


 
 

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