Eating Instead of Drinking is Best Source for Water Intake
All throughout college, I fueled my body on one liquid source: Mountain Dew. I would drink it for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and sometimes even before bed! Pretty disgusting when I think back upon my habits and how self-destructive they were to my health and my fitness. How could I have expected to see results from all my training for tennis and such when I wasn’t managing my water intake and only drinking sugary, gross sodas all day long?
Hopefully you were never as bad as I was, but if by chance you are, don’t worry because it is possible to change those habits with a little bit of focused will power. I had to consciously force myself to think about what my daily water intake was every day until I just started to crave water, even when I wasn’t particularly thirsty. You can definitely do this too!
Deborah and I recently bought a watermelon, which we ate as a side with a meal and I chopped the rest up for leftovers. While we were eating it, I was reminded of once hearing about how it was healthier get your daily water intake by eating it instead of drinking it from a bottle. Since this was just something I had heard about before, I thought I’d do a little research and share that with you here so that you can use it to determine how best to support your lifestyle.
First Things First, What is Optimal Water Intake Per Person?
If you were like me, you have probably grew up hearing that you should drink at least 8 oz of water 8 times per day. Following that process would put your daily water intake at 64 ounces. While this is a good place to start, it isn’t necessarily the opinion held by most scientists today. According to a study done by the Insitute of Medicine, the adequate water intake for men is approximately 3 liters or approximately 100 oz, while women are supposed to get 2.2 liters per day or approximately 75 oz.
That is just what scientists are saying, but I wasn’t a huge fan of that number because I think there has to be some relationship between the size of the individual and their water intake. On most sports nutrition sites, you may see advice such as this: Divide your weight in pounds by 2 and your daily water intake needs to be that number of ounces. For instance, I weight about 160 pounds, so my intake would need to be around 80 oz. I often drink more than this, but I feel like 80 oz supports my active lifestyle and makes me feel good, so I’m happy with it. Find what works for you and makes you feel the best and then stick with it!
So How Am I Supposed to Eat My Water Intake?
Back to the question inspired by the watermelon above: what’s all this business about eating water and why would it be more healthy? When I started to do some digging on this topic, I ran across some really interesting information produced by a study at Penn State.
In this study, they identified the fact that food that contained a lot of water often was very dense, however lacking calories, thus they called it low energy density food. They studied the effect that water-dense food can have on someone’s diet by serving the below 3 forms of the same meal to a test group:
- Chicken Rice Casserole
- Chicken Rice Soup
- Chick Rice Casserole served with a 10-ounce glass of water
What they found was that the test group who ate the soup ate 26 percent less than those drinking the water. The study went on to provide evidence that since the water intake was incorporated into the food, the food feels heavier to the stomach, which gives s sense of feeling fuller quicker. This in turn reduces the actual amount of calories consumed, while ensuring significant water intake.
Turns out that eating your water intake in the form of food actually produces water that is chemically different than water that you drink. It will leave your stomach slower, which will also keep your stomach feeling fuller longer. Low energy density foods can have significant impacts on your diet because you can actually essentially use them to lose weight while eating more. An example from Penn State was that you could eat 10 jelly beans at get 100 calories, but it would take you almost 3 cups of strawberries to get that same amount of calories!
So there you have it! Sounds to me like there may be some significant dietary benefits to incorporating water heavy foods into your diet, so if you’re having trouble losing weight you could give that a try. Keep in mind the advice above about what your daily water intake should be, but don’t let it rule your world. Chances are if you are eating healthy, you are probably including some of these low energy density foods in your diet already which will provide additional water intake to your diet.
I’d enjoy hearing about how all of you manage to get enough water each day, so please leave your comments below!