Having spent my teen years in a beach town in Southern California, I was acutely aware of how to keep my growing body from growing too much. Along with the three Rs, most of the girls in my class were also fluent in a myriad of weight-loss tricks. The Grapefruit Diet, The Pineapple Diet, Scarsdale, etc. etc. One rumor that was whispered through the ranks was that simply drinking water would flush the fat cells from the body.
Fast forward 20-ish years and I’m a freelance writer researching the topic, for an article for Self Magazine…
Here’s the gist of the article.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the most effective exercise you needed to do to burn fat was lift, gulp and swallow? According to Donald S. Robertson, M.D., founder and medical director of Southwest Bariatric Nutrition Center in Scottsdale, Arizona –it is. Over the last 30 years, Dr. Roberston has helped thousands of people loose thousands of pounds at his weight loss center touting water as the only viable magic potion. “Water not only suppress the appetite, prevents bloating and it is essential for the body to metabolize fat,” he explains. In fact, Dr. Robertson insists that if you don’t drink enough water it may cause fat cells to multiply because of the liver’s inability to metabolize lipids. Metabolically speaking, he continues, “If a person does not drink enough water, the liver has to slow down and eventually stop it’s fat burning duties to help the kidney flush toxins [including fat cells] from the body.”
“Yes, water is essential to health, No! – it is not a weight-loss-elixir” counters Susan Kleiner, PhD, R.D and author of a series of book geared towards nutrition and human performance including, Power Eating: A Nutritional Guideline for High Performance Athletes, published by Human Kinetics. “This type of sensationalism is misleading and can lead to dieting frustration,” explains Dr. Kleiner who penned an article for the Journal of American Dietetic Association. Ironically, her article concluded that most people suffer from mild dehydration and would benefit from drinking more water. However, she does not support the idea that simply drinking more water will get you into that teensy weeny bikini by summer.
“Drinking water is essential whether you are trying to loose weight or maintain a healthy body,” states Kleiner, “however, there is no conclusive evidence supporting the concept of water intake corresponding with the number of fat cells in the body.” In other words, ‘lift, gulp, swallow’ needs to be accompanied with a few huffs and puffs (cardio) to achieve successful weight loss results.
More on Water and weight-loss…
Another article on the topic written in 2004 by Webmd, with a title leaning towards water as a magic pill, (in this case a metabolism revv-er), demonstrates, the research is inconclusive. The author sites a study in Germany. www.webmd.com/diet/news/20040105/drinking-water-may-speed-weight-loss
More on Fat Cells
For a fun (if you like this stuff) explanation of the life and time of a fat cell check out this illustrated posting.