Drinking Water Is Important
The bottled water industrial complex wants every American to think they’re not getting the right amount of water. Yet when CBS news asked, "Are Americans drinking enough water every day?" they cited a study conducted in 2016 by the US government that answered in the affirmative. The CDC found that, on average, men consumed 117 ounces of water and women consumed 93 ounces. That's 14 and 12 cups respectively! That’s good news, because drinking water is very important! That’s why both water fasts and dry fasts have such a significant impact on your keto diet experience as well as your overall health.
Drink water to stay healthy.
Adult people are 60% water. There’s no agreement on how many glasses a day are required for proper hydration, it’s a well established fact that drinking plenty of water is necessary for your body to function properly. Here’s just a few ways in which water is important:
- Cartilage is 80% water. It's in joints and spinal disks. If you're constantly dehydrated then you're putting yourself at risk of joint pain.
- Saliva is made out of water. Spit helps keep us moist where we want to be moist and plays an important role in digesting food. Were our moist parts dry we'd end up with damaged mouths, noses, and eyes!
- Blood may be thicker than water but blood is also 90% Earth juice. That's important because blood is how oxygen gets distributed throughout the body. If you don’t have enough water in your blood you may instigate high blood pressure!
- Sweat is also made of water, which cools your body off by evaporating when your body heats up. Additionally, sweat, like urine and feces, is one of the ways your body cleanses itself of toxins. That’s why you should drink water (and electrolytes) when you’re consuming alcohol you can drink on keto. It’ll decrease the likelihood of getting hung over.
Dehydration is dangerous.
The benefits of drinking water are as numerous as the dangers of not drinking water. As reported by the Mayo Clinic, dehydration is when your body consumes more water than it takes in. Such significant fluid loss is often caused by illness, medication, or heat. It's particularly dangerous for children and older adults. There are several complications that may emerge because of dehydration. Heat injury, which can cause cramps, exhaustion, and even life-threatening heatstroke; urinary and kidney problems, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or even kidney failure; seizures; and hypovolemic shock (low blood volume),which leads to decreased blood pressure and oxygen in your bod (a potentially life threatening condition). Dehydration also adversely affects exercise.
Water is important for digestion.
Without water, your bowels wouldn't work properly. Among the conditions caused by dehydration are several digestive problems that include constipation, heartburn, and stomach ulcers. You also need water to dissolve minerals and nutrients. If your goal is losing weight, then you’ll appreciate knowing that one of the tips to eating smaller portions is to drink water before eating. It's even the case that, sometimes, when you think you're hungry what you really want is water! And make sure it’s plain water in a water bottle that you’re reaching for and not sugary drinks (including those made out of fruits and vegetables).
Drinking water for only a day is a form of fasting.
Water fasting is when you consume nothing but water all day. You can do this for one to two days. Why? Several reasons. A water fast may reduce oxidative stress, which is the condition of having too many free radicals in your blood (the presence of free radicals correlates with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's). A water fast can also trigger autophagy, which is the process of breaking down and recycling cells. Studies have shown that autophagy protects against infection and neurodegenerative diseases! Lastly, a water fast may improve insulin sensitivity (insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar). Several studies have shown that water fasting may trigger the body to require less insulin, which is good news since insulin resistance is a precursor to obesity and diabetes.
Water fasting, however, is not without its risks. It can lead to dehydration, an unhealthy amount of weight loss, and throw off your electrolyte balance, which can lead to many problems. A water fast is not recommended for people who've previously lived with disordered eating; children, teens, and pregnant women; and people who have health conditions including but not limited to thyroid issues, autoimmune diseases, and adrenal fatigue.
There's also a short-term diet you can follow that's practically a synthesis of water fasting and keto. It's called the Fasting Mimicking Diet. It was created by Dr. Valter Longo of the University of Southern California Longevity Institute. It's low carb, low protein, low cal (40% of your daily recommended allotment), but high fat. It’s meant to approximate the experience and benefits of water fasting over the course of five days.
Not drinking water is also a form of fasting.
Dry fasting can achieve results similar to water fasting, including reducing inflammation, resetting your metabolism, triggering autophagy, etc. It's easier to do if you're already doing keto because being in ketosis eliminates hunger pangs, cravings, and even thirst. Additionally, your elevated mood, energy, and focus will help you complete your fast.
There are two types of dry fasting. Your fast can resemble intermittent fasting: drink for 8 hours and fast for 16, or drink for 4 hours and fast for 20. Some people attempt dry fasting for greater than 24 hours, but that's not advised because of how important drinking water is.
While dry fasting you'll actually be accelerating the rate at which you burn body fat. That's because fat is the body's greatest source of metabolic water, which is water your body produces internally. High fat meals will make it easier to finish the fast while reaping its rewards. Fat consumption also has the effect of limiting thirst. Meanwhile, fiber, caffeine, and alcohol trigger thirst, so you'll want to cut down on these during your dry fast. Additionally, a dry fast has the encouraging effect of triggering a drop in body weight quickly because you lose a lot of water weight while doing it. Sure, much of it will return when you resume drinking H20, but it’s a nice way to kickstart keto or to experience a boost if you don’t know how to break your keto plateau.
Since dry fasting is an advanced technique, it's recommended that it be done by people who’ve already had positive experiences with water fasts (meaning they don't have negative side effects from doing them). It helps if you're fat adapted. Also, dry fasts aren't for people who have migraines or headaches, are caffeine-dependent, or have eye-related diseases.
To see if you're ready for a dry fast, experiment with water fasting and intermittent fasting first. Dry fasting isn't for everybody, and that's okay! Also, ease into dry fasting by giving up caffeine and other stimulants, and by gradually reducing your caloric intake. Also, if you're going to dry fast, make sure not to binge once it's over, not to exercise too hard while doing it, and to pay attention to your body to avoid getting hurt.
Remember, the reason not drinking water has such significant effects is because drinking water is so important!