Water is a necessary component in our every day lives, and without it we wouldn’t be able to survive. In fact, this essential nutrient makes up 75% of the human brain, 82% of blood, and 90% of our lungs. Water plays a role in almost every bodily function, including the production of new cells, removal of toxins, normalizing bowel function, and regulating body temperature, just to name a few.
Since water is used in almost several bodily functions, it is very easily lost from the body. For example, sweating and breathing are two natural and unavoidable processes that allow water to exit the body. And because these processes are happening all the time, it is very important to drink enough water throughout the day to avoid becoming dehydrated. Unfortunately, instead of choosing water to quench their thirst, people often choose other beverages like coffee, tea, soda, or juice. Although coffee and tea is made up of mostly water, these beverages are considered diuretics, meaning they actually cause an increased bodily demand for water when drinking them. This in turn often results in dehydration and can lead to an increased thirst sensation. Juice and soda are high in sugar and calorie content, which can directly offset weight loss.
How much water should you be drinking?
It is recommended to consume 64 ounces or more of water daily. Water needs can vary however, depending on activity level and weather conditions. In hotter climates and when engaging in moderate exercise, the body will perspire in order to cool itself off. Perspiration increases the risk for dehydration, and thus those who live in warmer climates or exercise on a daily basis may require more water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Water intake following bariatric surgery
Water is very important following bariatric surgery, as it is an essential component to the healing process. Additionally, adequate water intake is a crucial part of the weight loss process, as it increases the sensation of fullness and eliminates waste products more efficiently from the body. After surgery the stomach has been reduced in size to limit one’s food intake capacity allow the person to feel satisfied more quickly when eating. Not only can the stomach tolerate less food at once, but this applies to fluids as well. Because of this, bariatric patients have a harder time getting enough fluids in throughout the day and thus need to be aware of their increased risk of dehydration.
Remember these important guidelines
- Drink consistently! Keep a water bottle near by and drink water consistently throughout the day
- Do not drink while eating. Water can take up a large portion of your stomach, leaving less room for nutrient-rich food. It can also cause food to empty from the stomach more quickly. Stop drinking with your first bite. Do not drink during the meal. Wait to 1 hour after the meal to resume drinking.
- Avoid sugary and carbonated beverages. Sugary beverages not only can contribute empty calories and halt weight loss, but they may also cause dumping syndrome following surgery leading to gas, nausea, racing heart rate and cold sweats. Carbonated drinks can irritate the stomach and cause bloating and should be avoided when possible.
- If you’re craving more flavor, try adding a natural agent like lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber to your water
- Avoid caffeinated beverages. They act as diuretic and can be irritating to the stomach.
Signs you’re dehydrated
Look out for these symptoms that may suggest you need to increase
your water intake:
- Thirst Sensation
- Dry Skin
- Decreased Urine Output