Michael Mosley discusses health benefits of drinking water

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Dieting can be extremely hard, but Dr Michael Mosley, founder of the 5:2 diet and The Fast 800 is back with a really simple trick to help anyone who is struggling to stick to a set amount of calories a day, or finds themselves snacking outside mealtimes. Speaking on his BBC Sounds podcast, Just One Thing, Michael revealed the benefits of drinking a glass of water alongside each meal, and also busted a few myths surrounding hydration. 

“It’s lunchtime and I’m about to do just one thing that can boost my concentration, increase my energy levels and keep my skin healthy – I’m drinking a glass of water,” he began. 

“We all know how important water is, but there are many confusing messages about how much we should be drinking; some of us are trying to drink litres and litres, others stick to tea, coffee and soft drinks. 

“So, how much water should we really be drinking?” Michael wondered. “For most of us, all we need to do is have a glass of water with every meal. It’s that simple.

“Keeping hydrated can improve your attention and problem solving. 

“It can improve your mood, help you keep calm and alert, improve your skin, and even help you lose weight. 

“Your body is made up of 60 precent water, but your brain is 90 percent water, we need water to hydrate our skin, digest food and to allow our kidneys to flush out waste. 

“On top of that, it’s important to replace the water we breathe out from sweating, especially when it’s hot or we’re doing exercise.

“Surprisingly, even mild dehydration – losing one to two percent of our body’s water can impair cognitive functions,” he added. 

And dehydration can also lead to weight gain. 

When your body is dehydrated, many tend to mistake the need for water, for hunger and overeat. 

For anyone looking to curb snacking or drop a few pounds, Michael suggests drinking water before a meal which can not only keep you hydrated, but help you feel fuller for longer. 

“It can also help with weight loss; in a recent study, two groups were asked to adopt the same weight loss diet, but one lot were asked to drink half a litre of water before each meal. 

“That group ended up consuming fewer calories and lost the most weight,” Michael revealed.  

“If one glass of water is good, surely two glasses is better? Probably not. 

“The old idea we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day originated from the US Health and Nutrition Board in 1945 and it wasn’t based on any research. 

“If you love water, feel free. But there really isn’t any need to go mad. Most of us, adding an extra glass with every meal is probably enough. 

“But a lot of us, aren’t even doing that – many rely on tea, coffee or other caffeinated drinks for their main fluid intake.

“Although the first few cups will help hydrate you, research suggests there is a tipping point where these drinks become a diuretic and you lose more water than you gain,” he continued. 

Michael spoke to Dr Stuart Galloway, a professor in Exercise Physiology from the University of Stirling, to reveal how much water is needed, how to avoid the negative effects of dehydration, and how drinking water with every meal may help lose weight.  

“What specifically is water doing to your body and brain?” Michael asked. 

Dr Stuart replied: “We essentially need water to undertake a number of processes in our body, and because were constantly losing fluid throughout the day, through breathing, sweating, urine losses, we need to replace that through water from drinks and foods.

“If we don’t replace that, we end up in a body water deficit and that means we often have impaired physical performance, some impaired mental performance, feeling of fatigue for example.” 

And when some feel fatigued, they opt for a quick burst of energy in the form of sugar. 

As for how much water you should be drinking a day, the professor explained: “It doesn’t necessarily have to be water, depends what your overall dietary goals are and your water intake is going to be influenced by the climate – how much activity you do. 

“The European guidelines is two litres of water a day for a man and 1.6 litres a day for women.” 

In terms of weight loss, “water contains no calories, it’s free if you get it out the tap, it can be delicious if you mix it in with lemon”. 

It should also be said, the temperature of the water you drink can help or hinder weight loss. 

Michael explained: “Drinking eight glasses of cold water a day will also help you burn calories because your body will use about 70 calories raising it to body temperature.”

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