The facts are that we should drink sufficient water throughout the day in order to stay well-hydrated because our bodies rely on water to function optimally. The amount of water that we need to drink is not the same for everyone but depends on your age, gender, lifestyle, general health, the geographical area in which you reside, and anything else that is particular to you personally.
A recent study conducted by Dr Tammy Chang, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan found that there is definitely a relationship between dehydration and being overweight or obese.
According to Dr Chang, “We found that U.S. adults who are inadequately hydrated had higher BMIs than people who are adequately hydrated.”
The Michigan researchers examined data from 9,528 participants, ages 18 to 64, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative study of nutritional habits in order to find out whether there was a relationship between hydration and weight.
Researchers studied the participants’ urine to see what the osmolality (concentration) was, as this can tell how hydrated or dehydrated one is. This was then compared to their body-mass index (the measure of a person’s body fat based on height and weight) and found that individuals who were dehydrated had higher BMIs.
Wendy Hahn, a nutritionist at University of Wisconsin Health who was not involved in the study said, “This shows a relationship between inadequate hydration and increasing BMI. While we can’t draw a causal relationship, there is definitely something going on there.”
The researchers could not find a cause-and-effect connection between hydration and BMI, so it is unclear whether being properly hydrated helps people keep their weight down or whether individuals who have lower BMI have an easier time being hydrated.
While the findings of the study do indicate that hydration is associated with better health, Chang said, “This does not prove one way or another that water or hydration causes a difference in weight.”
The results of the study did indicate however that focusing on hydration could be an easy way for people to contribute to their overall health.