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Water for Weight Loss - Medical Minutes #40

Water for Weight Loss

Hi, I’m Dr. Craig Primack and today’s medical minute is about drinking water. I’ll be honest. We know water helps in weight loss, but there aren’t a lot of studies about how much you should drink or when you should drink it. The studies that do exist talk about drinking water about a bottle or 16 oz 20 to 30 minutes before each of your three big meals.

Hiking and Water

Let me tell you a story.

I practice here in Scottsdale, Arizona. We have many, many days over 100 degrees. I had lost weight myself about 15 years ago. I was training to hike in the Grand Canyon and I was hiking Camelback mountain on a weekly basis to do that. What I’ll tell you is I was eating the same breakfast every single day of the week, even doing other exercises.

When I hiked Camelback, I came down and I said, “I’m hungry.” And I ate a little bit more breakfast and a little bit more breakfast before you know it. I was eating about double breakfast. I said to a close friend of mine who also does weight loss, “I’m afraid I’m eating double breakfast. I’m going to gain my weight back.” And she said to me very simply, “I actually don’t think you’re hungry. I think you’re thirsty.” And I’ll tell you, first of all, I didn’t believe it.

You are Actually Thirsty… Water

So what I did do though is test it. And so I would hike Camelback. And even though I have a Camelback full of water, I’m drinking somewhere up to 64 oz during this Camelback hike. I come back to my car and I drink a bottle of water on the way home in the drive. And what I noticed is my hunger that I was having, or what I believed was hunger went down from about a 100% extra or double breakfast down to just about 10% extra. It was explained to me and it made sense.

If you do a little bit extra exercise, you should eat a little bit more breakfast potentially. On other days of exercise, I was really able to eat just that same breakfast.

Hunger vs. Thirst

If I have to think about it. The only thing different to me that that hunger, which was really thirst felt like is the foods that I wanted to eat are salty. I wanted pretzels. Wanted to eat crackers. I craved bread…things like that. It wasn’t something healthy and it surely wasn’t something that didn’t have salt in it.

Water for Weight Loss and Health: 64 oz per Day

My current recommendation is very simple. We recommend that everybody drinks 64 oz at least of liquid per day, water preferably.

If you’re in Arizona and you’re doing things outside especially in the summer months, I do think most people should aim for 90 to 100 oz per day.

The best barometer to measure if you are drinking enough is to keep the color of your urine just on the clear side. If you are darker in yellow color throughout the day, you’re probably not drinking enough. Again, not a lot of solid science to back this up, but just years of experience.

Hopefully, you do drink a lot of water and

I’ll see you next week.




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