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Water keeps your body in balance

Published in For the Health of It Author: Janet Handrigan,MD Author: Janet Handrigan, MD

H2O. Agua. Eau. Wasser. Acqua. Woda. Biyaha. However you say it, water is essential to maintain optimal hydration.

Promoting water consumption is an important strategy for reducing the intake of sugary drinks to ultimately reduce or prevent obesity. Consumption of sugary drinks has been identified as the largest contributor of calories and added sugars in the U.S. diet.

A study from the University of North Carolina and Virginia Tech found that just swapping eight ounces of a sugary drink with eight ounces of water every day can help you lose four pounds in six months. Replacing sugary drinks with water could cut up to 235 calories per day from the average American child’s diet.

As a replacement strategy, people frequently choose to drink bottled water as a healthy alternative to other beverages. Although drinking bottled water is healthier than drinking sodas and other sugary drinks, tap water is more affordable and can offer additional benefits.

How much water do you need?

More than 50 percent of your body weight is water. Without water, you couldn’t maintain a normal body temperature, lubricate your joints or get rid of waste through urination, sweat and bowel movements. Not getting enough water can lead to dehydration, which causes muscle weakness, cramping and lack of coordination. You also could get heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

You need enough water to replace what you lose daily through urination, sweating and even exhaling. The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommended that women need 91 ounces (11 cups) of water daily and men need 125 ounces (15 cups).

Keep in mind that your need for water increases:

  • When the temperature increases
  • With physical activity
  • During illnesses — especially fevers, vomiting and diarrhea