Is drinking water the key to a lower weight?

File photo of a water bottle

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File photo of a water bottle

We've all heard about the benefits of staying well hydrated, but a recent study is suggesting that folks who don't drink enough water might have a higher Body Mass Index, or BMI.

Thirsty or hungry?

Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, of Cleveland Clinic, didn’t take part in the study, but said that one reason for this could be that our bodies sometimes confuse thirst for hunger.

A lot of times when you’re dehydrated you confuse that dehydration for hunger and you end up picking up food and things like that where you don’t really need to eat, you’re actually dehydrated,” said Kirkpatrick.

Benefits of staying hydrated

Kirkpatrick said staying hydrated aids in weight control, but added that hydration levels have impact beyond the waistline.

Dehydration has been shown to negatively impact memory, mood and attention spans.

She said that counting how many glasses of water we drink is not always the best indicator of hydration, as different people have different fluid needs based on factors such as weight, activity level and temperature.

The best way to measure hydration is to take a look at the color of your urine. A light, clear yellow color is indicative of adequate hydration versus dark yellow which would indicate dehydration.

Kirkpatrick said that aside from maintaining a healthy weight, there are immense benefits to staying hydrated such as keeping muscles working efficiently – especially the heart.

Drink this, not that

Water is the best when it comes to staying hydrated, but alternate sources include decaffeinated coffee and tea, carbonated water and fruits and vegetables such as celery, cucumbers, watermelon, green beans, carrots and oranges.

Kirkpatrick adds that it's important to keep your beverages calorie-free.

“It’s never a good idea to drink your calories unless you’re drinking it in moderate amounts of alcohol,” said Kirkpatrick. “Other than that your calories should come from your food, from your fuel, and most of your drinks should be calorie free.”