Water is involved with almost every biological function in the body, so therefore your body’s metabolism slows down in a dehydrated state. When your body does not have adequate amounts of water, your calorie burning machines (muscles) slow down dramatically. Over 70% of your muscle consists of water, so when they are not fully hydrated their ability to generate energy is severely inhibited.
Another important factor to understand is that your body’s ability to utilize fat as fuel is also restricted when you are in a dehydrated state.
The list of negative side effects to your metabolism due to dehydration is endless. The effect of dehydration is often overlooked, and in fact it should be one of the priorities of any healthy eating plan.
Taking in a sufficient amount of water, is the first step in assuring your metabolism is working at its optimal level. You should be drinking a minimum of 2 quarts of water each day, but ideally a gallon.
Remember…your body can’t distinguish between hunger and thirst, so when your tummy is rumbling and you think it’s in need of food, it could just be telling you that it needs some water. Have a big glass of water first and if you are still hungry 15 minutes later then have something to eat.
If you’re thinking my mouth gets dry when I’m thirsty, that’s how I can tell, then give this a thought. Once your mouth gets dry and you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
What Experts Say
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things for recreational and professional athletes. And if the taste of coconut water helps you drink plenty of fluids, it is a fine choice for most people but may not be for those in prolonged physical activity.
Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and sodium and rich in potassium, which is not exactly what athletes need when exercising rigorously, says Clark.
“Whether you choose a sports drink, coconut water, or plain water, they all work to keep your body hydrated. The challenge is when you exercise strenuously for more than three hours in the heat and lose lots of body fluids, you need easily absorbed carbs for quick energy and to replace lost electrolytes like sodium and potassium,” Clark says.
Neither coconut water nor sports drinks contain enough sodium or carbs for the heavy perspirer. “Supplement with a quick source of energy like a banana or some raisins and a handful of pretzels to provide nutrients to replenish your stores,” Clark says.