Water is now so cool that you can see celebrities carrying around gallons of water as the new accessory. The claims made on social media for excess water consumption include improved memory, mental health, increased energy, and better complexion. What does it mean to stay hydrated? Dehydration to most people means loss of fluids. Does the simple act of drinking water make people healthier? Hydration is really the balance of electrolytes in the body like sodium and water. We have all heard that the magic number is eight-eight ounce glasses a day. We need to take into consideration body size, outdoor temperature, how you are breathing and sweating. Then there are certain health conditions to consider like heart disease, kidney stones, diuretic drugs. It seems that the best way to stay hydrated is to drink when you feel thirsty. Even darker urine may not necessarily mean that you are dehydrated according to exercising scientists. Is water the only drink we need to stay hydrated. According to a study of 72 men the hydrating effects of water, coffee or tea were almost identical. Water also comes from fruits, vegetables, and soups. Are sports drinks necessary? Not really, there are hormones that send signals to the kidney when there is a need for anything in the blood. So, drink when you feel like drinking and your body will inform you if it needs more.
We have all been told that after 20 years of age your metabolism starts to slow down, and you eventually gain weight. That men have a faster metabolism then women. That women have a harder time losing weight as opposed to men especially after menopause. Now after a new publication in “Science” these assumptions seem a little misguided. Data from 6,500 people ranging from 8 days to 95 years of age, allowed researchers to divide a lifetime into 4 distinct periods of metabolism. The study involved 80 co-authors who shared data along with information from 6 labs using data from the past 40 years. Calories were measured by what is considered the “Gold Standard”. This measures the number of calories burned by tracking the amount of carbon dioxide expelled after daily activities. All factors were taken into consideration- height, weight, percentage of body fat. 1) Infancy -metabolic rate is 50% higher than adults, 2) Age 1 to 20 metabolism slows about 3% a year, 3) 20 to 60 it holds steady, 4) after 60 declines about 0.7% per year. They found no difference between men and women. Although the metabolic rate of individuals varies, the general pattern holds true for life. The results dispute the notion that there is a constant rate of expenditure per pound. Metabolic rate is shown in these studies to be dependent on age.
The time of day you choose to exercise may have a great deal to do with control of blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol. Our internal clock mechanism is controlled and synchronized by not only sleep and light but also by the type of food we consume. Most past studies dealt with the time of day we ate and presented very different results. Some encouraged exercise before breakfast while others showed the benefits by working out later in the day on both blood sugar levels and heart rate. Most of these studies did not factor in the type of meals being eaten. A new study published in “Diabetologia” was performed at The Mary Hopkins Institute of Health Research in Australia. It involved 24 sedentary, overweight men who had all their vital statistics recorded before the experiment began. They were placed on a diet of 65% fat for five days and were then invited back to have all their vitals recorded once more. This was a diet that included extreme amounts of fat to concentrate on how the body would use fat during exercise. They were then divided into three groups. One group started their exercise routine at 6 AM, the next at 6 PM and the last remained sedentary. The exercise routine was identical. After five days they were again tested. Both, the sedentary and the 6 AM workout group had dangerous increases in cholesterol levels as well as the markers for heart disease. The group that worked out at 6 PM showed less of an impact of the poor diet. Their cholesterol, blood sugar levels as well as the molecules which are markers for heart disease were all lower. The study did not reveal how or why the time of day affected fat metabolism. This study did not encourage the intake of high fat diets which have been proven to be extremely unhealthy.
One of the most significant factors in maintaining a healthy weight or any weight loss program is water consumption. Most cravings for sweets, originate from dehydration. Drinking cold water can actually create a thermogenic effect on the body. In one experiment with 14 men and women, drinking 500ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. This happened within 10 minutes and lasted for up to 30-40 minutes. The water must be cold. Cold water creates the thermogenic effect when the body attempts to warm the water. However, lining up glasses of cold water as a reminder to drink can become problematic especially if you are away from home. A simple method might be to put 5 rubber bands around your wrist first thing in the morning. Every time you drink a bottle of water place one of the bands around the bottle and refill it. Make it a daily game.