When we think of dehydration, we usually think of some poor soul wandering the desert without a drop of water to be had, but that's not always the case. Chronic dehydration is a condition that evolves from not drinking enough fresh, clean water over time. The longer it continues, the worse it gets, leaving the body in a perpetual state of lingering dehydration.
Metabolism slows at just 3% dehydration
When cells are deprived of water, they shrink slightly. Our bodies sense this change and signal metabolism to slow. When people experience 3 percent dehydration, their metabolism diminishes by about 2 percent, University of Utah researchers explained in 2003. Over time, those unburned calories add up.
But I drink plenty of coffee, tea, soda, beer, and many other things.
Unfortunately, this isn't going to help chronic dehydration. Many of the mass produced, fountain, or bottled drinks today (with the exception of water, of course) are diuretic, which means they expel water. This is especially so of coffee and alcohol. Consuming these kinds of drinks without supplementing with the 8 by 8 rule is just making the problem worse.
Water also increases metabolism
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water (about 17oz) increases metabolic rate by 30 percent in healthy men and women. The boost occurred within 10 minutes but reached a maximum 30-40 minutes after drinking. That means every time 17 oz of water is consumed, we can expect a metabolic boost in minutes. Multiply that effect by 4 times a day, and that's a pretty easy way to burn those extra calories.
A simple way to measure
Here's an easy tip to make sure you're getting enough of the fresh, clean water our bodies need. If you go by the 8 by 8 rule, eight 8 oz glasses of water a day, that equals a half gallon (64 oz = 1/2 gallon). It also equals approximately a 2 liter bottle. Either can be used to track water consumption during the day. I use an empty 2 liter soda bottle, fill it with my Britta filtered water, and make sure it's gone by the end of the day. Alternately, mark the half way point of your favorite brand gallon of water and reach that mark by bedtime. Also, 1 liter bottles can be used. Just drink two of them.
So next time you're looking in the mirror and wondering what simple thing you can do to increase your metabolism, grab that glass of water. It can help more than you realize.