Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –
Of course, water is critical for health! Did you know the human body is said to be 2/3 water? In the same way that vitamins and minerals are, water is part of most biological processes. It also enables us to dissipate heat, deliver nutrients, lubricate joints and remove waste products. All this at a cost of zero calories – yippee!
You can go for weeks without eating but only a few days without fluids. Since we don’t have a storage tank of water (it’d be uncomfortable to slosh around anyway) you need to drink throughout the day. Proper hydration is achieved on a continual basis, so drinking a quart in the morning and at night isn’t ideal. Instead, drink a cup every couple of hours. Aim for consuming enough total fluid ounces to match half of your body weight in pounds. For example, a 168 pound person needs approximately 84 fl. oz. per day.
Why it matters that you choose the right fluids…
Plain old water – H20 – is what the cells use in almost every chemical reaction. Other beverages such as fruit or vegetable juice and milk have other necessary nutrients for good health while tea has beneficial polyphenols. So they are good choices, too. Even broth is suitable for meeting fluid needs. Read more about hydration by clicking on this article: 10 Surprising Facts about Water and Staying Hydrated.
For weight loss, what you don’t need is sweetened beverages with added sugar or alcoholic drinks. These just contribute calories. Caffeinated beverages comparable to the amount in a cup of coffee are fine, but watch the sugar content. Getting adequate fluids maintains sufficient blood volume and cellular hydration so you can get rid of wastes and process energy properly for fat burning.