Nutrition-wise blog

Poor hydration associated with higher BMI

By Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. July 20, 2016

Here's a new water cooler conversation: Being well hydrated may help with weight control.

Sure, you know that what you drink matters — consider how easy it is to drink hundreds of calories from sodas, juices, coffee drinks or alcoholic beverages. You may have heard or even practice the advice of drinking water when you feel hungry to control calorie intake. The recommendation to drink water makes logical sense, but until now there's been limited scientific literature on the topic of water intake and weight control.

Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at hydration status in relation to obesity and body mass index (BMI). They combined and analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) from 2009 to 2012.

Based on this data, they concluded that hydration status was significantly associated with a higher BMI. The odds of being obese were 1.59 times higher for individuals who were inadequately hydrated compared with individuals than who were hydrated.

How much do you know about staying hydrated? Here are facts and tips to improve your hydration IQ:

  • Average-weight individuals require approximately 2.7 liters (women) to 3.7 liters (men) of fluid a day.
  • Overweight and obese individuals generally require more fluid.
  • Fruits and vegetables contain water. They help with hydration and should be included in every meal and snack.
  • It's important to drink fluid between meals.
  • Dehydration can cause poor concentration, headaches and constipation.
  • Chronic conditions, exercise and other factors such as climate can affect your fluid needs. If you have health concerns or are unsure about how much you need to drink, talk to your doctor or dietitian.

There are many reasons to be well hydrated. Now it appears there's one more reason to pay attention to hydration. Drinking water may help you manage your weight. Eat more fruits and veggies, and drink up — water is best.

July 20, 2016