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Drink more water to cut calorie consumption

By Johnna Kelly, Advocate Health enews

Water not only hydrates your body, but may help aid in weight loss as well, according to new research.

Drinking just one percent more water on a daily basis equated to consuming less calories, sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol, according to a study from the University of Illinois kinesiology and community health department.

Study participants kept track of everything they ate and drank. The researchers calculated the amount of plain water each person drank as a percentage of their daily dietary water intake from food and beverages combined. Beverages such as black tea, herbal tea and coffee were not counted as sources of plain water, but did count toward the overall daily water consumption.

Results of the study showed that participants who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups decreased their total daily calorie intake by 68 and sodium intake by 78 milligrams. They also decreased their sugar by between five and 18 grams and their cholesterol consumption by seven to 21 milligrams daily.

“The impact of plain water intake on diet was similar across race/ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight status,” said Ruopeng An, professor of kinesiology and community health, in the study news release.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water is essential to the body and helps:

Control temperature
Lubricate and cushion joints
Protect the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues and
Rid the body of waste through urination, perspiration and bowel movements.
Jennifer Heggaton, a fitness specialist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill., says thirst is the body’s natural way of indicating that it needs more water.

“I recommend drinking a lot of water throughout the day, especially during and after working out. It’s important to replenish the fluids lost through sweat and to rehydrate the muscles as they recover,” says Heggaton. “In fact, you should weigh the same before and after exercise, even after drinking water throughout your workout. Most people won’t drink enough water during the exercise session, so taking in more throughout the rest of the day will help replenish any losses.”

In order to incorporate more water into your diet, Heggaton offers the following tips:

Drink a glass of water in the morning when you wake up.
Always carry a water bottle as a reminder to drink more at work, while running errands and at the gym.
Order water at restaurants to save money and reduce calories.
Flavor water with a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber.

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