How Much Water Should I Drink To Lose Weight? Experts Weigh In – Women's HealthWeight loss
Women’s Health may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in. Why trust us?
There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but this advice will help ya.
When you think weight loss, your mind probably goes to a few places: more exercise, healthy food, plenty of sleep, stress reduction. Drinking more water may not be on the list—but it should be! (Plus, who doesn’t love the look of a super cute water bottle?) This begs the Q: How much water should I drink to lose weight?
Drinking water is important for many reasons. “Drinking water helps regulate body temperature, keep our joints lubricated, prevents infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keeps our organs and body functioning properly,” says Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist Angel Planells, RDN, who is a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And, did you know? Water makes up about 50 to 70 percent of your body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There is no question that water is essential to survival. If you’re trying to lose weight, drinking water also plays a huge part in whether you can achieve your goals.
The short answer is yes, and its benefits are backed up by science:
This is where things get a little tricky, so let’s start with a baseline: Drinking 64 ounces of fluid a day is the rule of thumb to keep your system operating at peak efficiency, according to the Cleveland Clinic. On a daily basis, the National Academy of Medicine recommends that women get 2.7 liters (about 91 ounces) of water per day.
But the amount of water you should be drinking to lose weight may be different from how much someone else should be having, according to Planells. For example, if you work out regularly, you will naturally need more water than those who don’t. The same is true for women who are breastfeeding vs. those who aren’t. So there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how much you should be drinking. But at a minimum, it should be 64 ounces. That’s eight cups of water every day.
Drinking at least 64 ounces (eight cups) of water every day may help with weight loss.
Downing liquid is not the only way to meet this goal. About 20 percent of your hydration needs can be met through your diet, says Caroline Susie, RDN, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For example, foods with 90 to 100 percent water content include fruits, especially cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon and veggies like lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, and cooked squash.
Foods that contain 70 to 89 percent of water include fruits like bananas, grapes, oranges, pears, and pineapples; vegetables such as carrots, cooked broccoli, and avocados, and dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese. Incorporating these water-rich foods as much as possible can help ensure you’re hitting your goals.
However, drinking too much water can make you put on weight, which is known as water weight. One major contributor to water weight is your salt intake. Having too much salt may cause water retention, says Planells.
If you’re looking to shed excess water weight, here are a few strategies.
Drinking too much water could also lead to a condition called hyponatremia, which occurs when the sodium level in your body is below normal, and it can be life-threatening because sodium is needed to maintain fluid balance, blood pressure control, and nerve and muscle regulation. When the sodium level in your blood is too low, extra water goes into your cells and makes them swell, per the National Kidney Foundation.
If you’re concerned that you aren’t drinking enough (or are consuming too much) water, you should check in with a registered dietitian or physician who is working with you on your weight loss goals. They can make sure you are properly hydrating, and choosing the best beverages for your health.