How much do you drink? Okay, but I didn’t just mean alcohol. . . how much fluid do you put into your body each day? There are some interesting facts around the human body and its need for liquids – some good and some not so good if you are trying to lose weight.
First, let’s look at alcohol: the number of calories in an alcoholic drink depend on how much alcohol is in whatever you are imbibing. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, so the alcoholic content of what’s in your glass plays a role in how many calories you are taking in. Spirits like whiskey, rum, vodka or scotch are the highest number of calories per ounce of liquor, but most people drink less of these drinks than they do of wine or beer. Or to look at it another way, one beer is less calories than going on a hard liquor bender. My guess though, is that if someone is partying their way across town, calories are not uppermost in their mind!
Some averages on your favorite drinks:
- 12 oz. beer: 150 – 175 calories
- 12 oz. lite beer: 95 – 110 calories
- 4 oz. red wine: 80 – 100 calories
- 4 oz. white wine: 75 – 100 calories
- 4 oz. champagne: 100 – 180 calories
- 4 oz. dessert or ice wine: 100 – 200 calories
- 12 oz. cooler (like Smirnoff Ice): 225 – 250 calories
- 1 oz. hard liquor: +/- 80 calories without mix
- 1 oz. highball (with mix): 100 – 150 calories
So, if you are like the rest of us and like a sip from time to time, don’t forget to take the calorie count into consideration!
Now let’s talk about another kind of drink – good old water. Did you know that your body is about 50 to 65 percent water? Women are comprised of 50 to 60 percent and men run 60 to 65 percent. Different parts of your body vary in their water percentage as well, with your brain, heart, lungs and muscles running at 75 to 85 percent water. That gives you some idea of why water is such an important part of your weight loss strategy. You don’t want to lose too much water and leave all of your organs fighting for survival!
Let’s look at those numbers a different way. . . According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2002, an average American woman weighs 163 pounds, which translates into approximately 89 pounds of water. (American men are 191 pounds or about 119 pounds of water.) If we roughly convert that to gallons, women carry about 9 gallons and men about 12 gallons of water around every day.
Of course, the temptation can often be to ‘sweat the weight off’ and not replenish the water that is lost. (Incidentally, perspiration is only 95 percent water, with the remainder comprised of minerals, trace elements, salt and chemicals produced by the body including pheromones – the reason for ‘replacing our electrolytes’.)
“Proper water intake is a key to weight loss,” says Dr. Donald Robertson, medical director of the Southwest Bariatric Nutrition Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. “If people who are trying to lose weight don’t drink enough water, the body can’t metabolize the fat adequately. Retaining fluid also keeps weight up.”
So if you don’t drink sufficient water, you can impair every aspect of your body’s operation. Dr. Howard Flaks, a bariatric specialist in Beverly Hills, Calif, says, “By not drinking enough water, many people incur excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness and water retention.”
According to Dr. Flaks, the minimum amount of water for a healthy person is 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses a day. “You need more if you exercise a lot or live in a hot climate. And overweight people should drink in an extra glass for every 25 pounds they exceed their ideal weight,” he says. To be safe, you might consult your own doctor or dietitian for their recommendations.
Stealing water from your body to get a better number on the scale is not only cheating your “real” weight loss numbers, but it is putting your body’s parts into a danger zone in terms of proper functioning. Don’t fight your body’s needs by withholding water – as you can see, it actually stands in the way of proper fat-burning.
And that calls for a drink. . . of water!