Nature has a way of providing us with everything we need to be healthy and happy. We have the food and drink of gods in abundance at our fingertips, fruit, vegetables, and clean water, and yet there is an obesity epidemic plaguing our country?
Though there are a great number of noble folks out there tirelessly working to educate us about the importance of health and wellness, there are even more businesses with a vested financial interest in keeping Americans fat. If everyone got healthy and knew how to maintain that health through the years, these businesses would be forced to close shop. Of course, they don’t want that, and they use the magic of marketing to keep us locked into buying and consuming their products.
Soda, no matter how cleverly marketed, is not and will never be a healthy caloric and hydration source. In fact, this sugar and acid drink plays a definite role in the American obesity drama. Is it possibile for Americans to significantly improve their health simply by eliminating this empty-calorie beverage? Definitely, as long as its replacement is nature’s finest weight-loss elixer…pure water.
The American Chemical Society recently presented research stating that portion control at meals, combined with drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner would result in maintained weight loss. By “preloading” with water before eating, your stomach is filled, making you less hungry and less likely to overeat. It also frees up your liver, giving it a much-needed break. The liver, whose main function is to metabolize fat, is called in to support the kidneys when they are water-deprived. Once the kidneys receive adequate hydration, the liver happily goes back to its primary job of converting stored fat to energy. Nothing fancy or expensive is needed to rid our bodies of that stubborn and depressing fat. With good, clean hydration and responsible portion control, our bodies will naturally get lean and healthy.
Brenda Davy, Ph.D., was the leader behind the “preloading” study. She took 48 overweight or obese men and women between the ages of 55 and 75 and put them on a low-calorie diet (1,200 calories per day for women and 1,500 calories per day for men), with half of the participants being instructed to drink 16 ounces of water before meals. After only 90 days, the participants drinking water lost an average of about 15.5 pounds, compared to the 11 pound weight loss of the participants in the control group. A year later, while still following the same regimen, the water drinkers lost an additional 1.5 pounds, while the controlled group gained about 2 pounds.
Drinking more water makes drinking soda and other calorie-laden beverages less likely. According to Stephen Cook, M.D., and obesity expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in N.Y., “drinking more water is a low-risk way to lose excess weight, especially if it takes the place of other liquid calories.” For instance, a ‘two can a day’ soda drinker who chooses to swap his sugary beverage for cold, refreshing water, will save about 300 calories a day. Couple that with increased consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, and significant weight loss in inevitable.
While each person's hydration needs are different, the Institute of Medicine encourages men and women to consume about 3.7 and 2.7 liters of water a day, respectively, including water found in food and other beverages. People trying to lose weight should take advantage of refillable water bottles and fill up and drink up throughout the day. It would also be smart to take the advice of Davy, who recommends drinking two cups of water 20 minutes before each meal.
Pure, filtered water will always be the best hydration option for the health and maintenance of our bodies. Some people however, have a hard time drinking unflavored water. Simply adding fresh lemon, lime or cucumber slices is a great way to add subtle flavor, while imparting alkalizing properties to water. Low calorie healthy beverage options are also available for those who savor flavor without sacrificing their waistlines. Across the country, schools, universities and corporate cafeterias are taking a healthy approach to hydration by eliminating all sugary beverages. Choosing to replace sodas with purified bottled water and healthy beverage programs is a leap in the right direction. With proper and quality hydration, weight loss and maintenance needn’t be such an arduous process. Choose your food wisely, fill up and drink up, and you will certainly attain your greatest wealth…your health.