Water: How much should you drink every day?

We're all used to being told to drink more water, but how much is enough -- and is there such a thing as too much? Find out here, plus get the scoop on water and weight loss.

By Dee Van Dyk

Water and weight loss, plus preventing dehydration

You may not have considered water as an important factor in your daily diet, but the Canada Food Guide does. It specifically recommends to health-conscious Canadians: "Drink water regularly. It's a calorie-free way to quench your thirst. Drink more water in hot weather or when you are very active."

"Our bodies need water," says Victoria-based private practice dietitian and health coach Danielle Van Schaick. "Water enables us to metabolize our food, and, in fact, it's required for every chemical reaction in our body."

How water works with weight loss
Drinking water may actually burn a few extra calories, says Van Schaick.

Those burned calories are minimal, but Van Schaick suggests another important connection between water ingestion and weight loss. "Often our hunger signals are confused with our thirst signals," she says. "This is something I talk to my clients about all the time. Sometimes when we feel hungry it's actually that we're thirsty -- we might eat instead of drinking a glass of water, which is what our body really wants."

The average Canadian diet leans heavily toward the intake of convenience foods instead of fresh fruits and vegetables, which have water in them naturally. By eating fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed convenience foods you may be upping your water intake without any appreciable effort.

Thirsty? You may already be dehydrated
"When your thirst mechanism kicks in, your body is saying that you are already dehydrated," says Van Schaick. "Ideally, with exercise, you want to be drinking a cup of water before you exercise, a cup of water while you exercise and a cup following exercise -- that will ensure that you don't get to the stage where you are feeling thirsty."

In a hot environment, as stressed in the new Canada's Food Guide, you'll need to take in more water.

Page 1 of 2 - Read page two to find out about drinking too much water

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