Dehydration has been considered to be one of the factors to affect the weight of a person. Studies have shown a great significance between dehydration and weight gain. But, dehydration affects human health in several ways. So, it not only causes you to be fat, but it also can take a toll on your health in general.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is when the human body is not getting enough water as it should or needs. The amount of water entering the body should be greater than the amount of water leaving the body. It can occur at certain levels, from mild to severe dehydration.
All this will depend on the amount of water that your body becomes deprived of. The human body composes mostly of water, with an average 60 percent composition. It is very important to ensure that you are getting enough amount of water that you need.
Also, the amount of water in our bodies can vary. Studies have proven that babies have more water in their bodies compared to adults. Furthermore, female adults have lesser water in their bodies compared to male adults. Older and obese people have the lowest amount of water in their bodies due to health-related factors.
You lose water from our bodies every day. This happens through talking, sweating, breathing, peeing, pooping, and crying. Not to mention that there are a number more reasons why You could get dehydrated. You can also lose more water in your body when vomiting, having a fever, diarrhea, and excessive sweating.
Normally, the lost water can be replaced by drinking water or fluids and eating food containing liquid components. If you don't or forget to drink water regularly, then you can get dehydrated.
How Can Dehydration Make you Fat?
Many studies show the relationship between dehydration and its effect on a person's weight. There is a significant difference between dehydration and becoming fat because of it.
Dehydration and Metabolism
People who love exercising do it regularly to lose weight. This helps to shed those unwanted pounds. It also improves metabolism. For that to happen, they make sure that they always stay hydrated. Otherwise, dehydration can do adverse effects on metabolism. A metabolism that is at its optimum rate turns fat and calories into energy. If it is slow or has poor performance, the easier it is for your body to store fats and calories. Thus, the faster your metabolism is, the more calories and fat you can burn and turn to energy.
This is possible by staying hydrated. Water is vital to ensure that our body remains healthy and functions properly. It is the main component of every organ you have, including the muscles, skin, and bones. In the subject of metabolism, water helps the body to burn the calories it intakes through eating. With dehydration, your metabolism slows down. Studies have proven that drinking 2 cups of water before a meal increases your metabolic rate by 30 percent. A mini-review on the association of hydration and weight loss was done by Thornton in 2016. His study showed that increased water intake promotes bodyweight loss through decreased eating and fat loss via lipolysis. Lipolysis is the breakdown of lipids or fats. Further, it indicated the reduced risk for obesity and type 2 obesity.
Dehydration and Weight Gain
There is the main idea of how dehydration can make a person gain more weight. It can slow down the metabolism of a person. It all boils down to how the body cannot burn calories and burn fat into energy - rapid weight gain.
This is due to a metabolic rate being slower than it should be. You tend to find yourself twice as hungry as normal when you become dehydrated. Thus, this leads to an increasing amount of fat and calorie consumption.
You might mistake the rumbling motion in your stomach for hunger where it might be asking for water. Water is a great appetite suppressant. So, the more you drink water, the less you tend to become hungry. Then, the faster your metabolism can work and burn those unwanted calories and fats.
Dehydration and Muscle Performance
Water makes the body function to its fullest potential. That includes the ability of the muscles to work properly. If your body is not getting the amount of water you need, your body tends to be tired all the time. It may disable the body from performing physically challenging tasks better. If you get tired all the time, your first instinct is to relax, rest, or sleep.
Take note; sleep is one of the factors that can help you gain weight. Generally, if your muscles cannot function at their optimum level, you cannot get enough exercise.
Even minimal and ordinary works can make you fat. Also, if you are tired, no energy needs to be converted for the body. Instead, it only stores stubborn fat.
The Bad Effects of Dehydration on Human Health
You may well know how to get rid of extra and unwanted pounds. It is also essential to keep yourself aware of the other health effects of dehydration on the human body.
A Headache, Migraine and Poor Brain performance
The Human Brain composes of at least 70 percent of water. With that number, it’s already clear that drinking water is important. This is why drinking water must be frequent. Headaches, Migraines, or the Brain's poor performance is the main cause of fatigue. As mentioned above, dehydration can lead to feeling tired all the time.
High Blood Pressure
The blood is composed mainly of between 80 to 90 percent of water. That is, if the body is getting the amount of water that it needs. If you become dehydrated, then the water level in the blood drops. And that causes the blood to thicken. As a result, the blood becomes resistant to its regular flow and increases blood pressure.
Asthma and Allergies
Histamine is an active compound made by the immune system. It is the primary contributor to allergic reactions in the body. When the body loses more water, the amount of histamine produced by mast cells and basophils increases. Once this happens, it boosts blood flow in the allergen area. This then causes inflammation. In the case of asthma, it triggers mucus secretion in the air pathway. This makes it hard to breathe during an asthma attack.
Skin Impurities and Diseases
A hydrated skin composes at least 80 percent water. If left dehydrated, it decreases the body's ability to eliminate toxins through our skin. Also, having a sufficient amount of water keeps our skin moisturized. This prevents us from developing wrinkles or experiencing early aging in general. Furthermore, dehydrated skin also means the skin is vulnerable to developing certain skin disorders.
The human kidney is the filtering mechanism of the body. It filters the blood and turns it into urine, composed of waste, toxins, and extra fluids. Water serves as the extra boost of the kidneys to filter blood better. Prolonged or repeated bouts of dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure.
When you are exercising vigorously and sweating heavily, and don’t drink more fluids, you may end up with a head injury. It ranges in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion, potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
Electrolytes — such as potassium and sodium — help transmit electrical signals from a nerve cell to another. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up. This can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness.
The Signs and Symptoms of a Dehydrated Person
How do you know if you are dehydrated? These are the signs that you should pay attention to. This is to warn you that you might be needing more water in your body.
An infant or Young Child
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Sunken eyes, cheeks
- Sunken soft spot on top of a skull
- No tears when crying
- No wet diapers for three hours
- Listlessness or irritability
- Extreme thirst
- Dry or chapped mouth
- Irregular or little peeing
- Dark-colored yellow pee
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
How Do You Prevent Dehydration?
The most basic prevention of dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids and eat high water content such as fruits and vegetables. Letting thirst be your guide is a good daily guideline for most healthy people.
However, there are cases that people are more likely to become dehydrated. People may need to take in more fluids if they are experiencing conditions such as:
- Strenuous Exercise
In general, it's best to start hydrating the day before strenuous exercise. Producing lots of clear, dilute urine is a good indication that you're well-hydrated. During the activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals and continue drinking water or other fluids after you're finished.
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
If your child is vomiting or has diarrhea, start giving extra water or an oral rehydration solution at the first signs of illness. Don't wait until dehydration occurs.
Older adults most commonly become dehydrated during minor illnesses — such as influenza, bronchitis, or bladder infections. Make sure to drink extra fluids when you're not feeling well.
- Extreme Temperatures
You need to drink more water in hot or humid weather. This is to help lower your body temperature and to replace what you lose through sweating. You may also need extra water in cold weather to fight moisture loss from dry air, particularly at higher altitudes.
How Much Water Do You Need?
They should drink about 15 cups, and women about 11 cups of water a day. This is according to Rachel Berman, a registered dietician and senior director of content at Very well. Whether you eat it or drink it, don’t stop ‘til you get enough, she further added. She showed that it is no longer the old-school “eight glasses a day.” It’s more than that nowadays.
She added that if one is exercising, much more is needed for optimal performance. “It’s variable based on your body weight and how intense you’re working out, but the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 16 to 20 ounces at least four hours before exercise and three to eight ounces every 15 minutes during exercise (especially in hot temperatures).”
Other Ways to Keep Hydrated
It is true when a glass of water is the best way to keep hydrated. However, there are plenty of other ways to stay this way. This is good news for people who don’t like the taste of tap, bottled, or any drinking water. So let’s start enlisting some alternative ways to become hydrated.
Edible and Drinkable
Who says you can’t have your water — and eat it, too? According to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations, we should eat 20 percent of our daily water intake. Soup, yogurt, and oatmeal are all great fluid-filled foods. But these summer-friendly fruits and veggies can also help with hydration. Next time you’re feeling thirsty, pile these on your plate.
Drink it Up
Most beverages will help contribute to your daily water intake. But, not the alcoholic ones, of course. Here are five drinks that will give you some extra benefits, too.
- Fat-free or skim milk
- Sports drinks
- Coconut water
Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and still rich in potassium. There’s a reason people go nuts for this tropical drink. Unlike sports beverages, it is unsweetened. It can also be very hydrating.
In a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the all-natural beverage is effectively rehydrating after light exercise. But for more intense sweat sessions, the low-sodium drink comes up short in replenishing the salt your body loses.
- Coffee and Tea
Isn’t coffee a diuretic? It means it causes urination and, thus, dehydration. Well, yes, but a recent study in PLOS ONE disproves the myth that it does. Both coffee and tea have hydrating effects. Not only will your daily cup contribute to your water needs, but the caffeine in these two beverages can also give you a sharper memory, boost athletic endurance and performance, and reduce the risk of many serious ailments, including diabetes and heart disease.
Now, it is indeed essential to stay hydrated. If you notice, everything is interconnected. Again, dehydration can make a person fat. But, having an excessive amount of calories and fats in your body also affects health in the same way that dehydration does, such as high blood pressure and kidney problems. So, here is an important lesson to keep in mind. For you to stay healthy and keep your body from functioning correctly, always stay hydrated!