Water is vital for life, supporting essential bodily functions. There's a popular notion that consuming water as soon as you wake up can enhance health. However, you might be curious about whether the timing of hydration truly matters. This article explores the claims about drinking water upon waking to ascertain if it offers notable health benefits.

The essence of water to your body

Approximately 60% of your body comprises water, an indispensable element essential for bodily functions. As an essential nutrient, your body relies on external sources, mainly from foods and beverages, to meet its daily water requirements. Water plays diverse roles in the body, such as:

Transporting Nutrients

Water aids in blood circulation, enabling the transport of nutrients to cells and the removal of waste from them.

Transporting Nutrients

Regulating Body Temperature

Its significant heat capacity helps in maintaining a stable body temperature in various environmental conditions.

Lubricating the Body

It serves as a lubricant for joints and is a crucial component of bodily fluids like saliva, and mucous membranes in various systems like the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts.

Providing Shock Absorption

Water acts as a cushion, safeguarding organs and tissues, thereby maintaining their structure and integrity.

Popular claims about drinking water 

Some people believe drinking water first thing in the morning offers special health perks compared to drinking water at other times of the day. Let's take a look at these common claims and see what science has to say about them.

Popular claims about drinking water

Claim 1: Morning Water = Body Hydration Boost

The idea is that when you wake up, your body might be a bit dehydrated, suggested by darker morning pee, showing a potential lack of overnight hydration.

A little insight: The color of your pee isn't always a perfect guide to how hydrated you are.

Studies have found that morning pee tends to be darker, which some might think means you're dehydrated. However, this darker color doesn't always accurately reflect your hydration levels. Even with lighter-colored pee, it didn't guarantee they were fully hydrated. That's because drinking lots of water can make your pee look lighter, possibly masking the signs of dehydration.

On the other hand, your morning urine being darker doesn't always mean you're dehydrated. It's darker mainly because you haven't had any liquids overnight. When your body lacks water, it triggers the feeling of thirst to prompt you to rehydrate. This sensation works effectively all day long.

Claim 2: Water Before Breakfast can decrease Calorie Intake

Some believe that drinking a glass of water before breakfast can decrease overall calorie intake, as it can make you feel fuller and potentially eat less.

Although consuming water may indeed create a sense of fullness, this effect isn't solely linked to drinking water before breakfast or applicable to everyone.

One study showed that drinking water before breakfast decreased the next meal's calorie intake by 13%. Similarly, another study found comparable results when participants drank water before lunch.

However, these studies revealed that the capacity of water to reduce calorie intake at the following meal was only noticeable in older adults, not in younger ones.

While drinking water before a meal might not notably cut calorie intake in younger individuals, it still plays a crucial role in keeping them adequately hydrated.

Claim 3: Drink water the first thing in the morning helps you lose weight

Some claim that drinking water in the morning might help with weight reduction because of its thermogenic impact. The energy required to warm up cold water in the digestive tract after consumption is referred to as this effect.

Research even discovered that increasing daily water intake by 50 ounces (1.5 liters) resulted in an extra 48 calories burned. Over the course of a year, this may amount to around 17,000 more calories burnt or about 5 pounds (2.5 kg) of fat.

Although there is empirical backing for this hypothesis, there is no proof that this impact is limited to water taken in the morning.

Claim 4: Morning Water and Mental Performance

It's suggested that drinking water right after waking up enhances mental performance. Dehydration has a strong association with reduced mental sharpness, making tasks like learning or remembering more challenging.

Some research has indicated that even a slight 1-2% dehydration. In terms of body weight, it can significantly impact alertness, attention, short-term memory, and physical performance. This leads some to advocate for drinking water upon waking to stay mentally sharp.

However, simple enough, mild dehydration can be undone by rehydrating. And there's no evidence to suggest that the benefits of rehydration are specific to early morning intake only.

Claim 5: Drinking water first thing in the morning helps ‘eliminate toxins’ and improves skin health

Another belief is that drinking water in the morning helps the body "cleanse toxins."

Kidneys manage fluid balance, using water to eliminate waste from your blood. However, the kidneys’ ability to clear substances depends on their presence, not just water intake or when you drink. When a substance exceeds the kidneys' capacity, it causes increased urine production. This is called osmotic diuresis, different from drinking too much water which causes water diuresis. Claims also suggest morning water boosts skin health. Since skin has about 30% water, morning water intake is thought to reduce acne and improve hydration.

While severe dehydration can affect skin tautness and cause dryness, there's limited evidence supporting this idea.

Claim 6: It’s best to drink hot water in the morning

The belief in favor of warm water upon waking is common, as it's seen as soothing for the body, particularly aiding digestion in individuals with esophageal transit issues.

However, older studies indicated that drinking warm water might impede hydration. In a simulated desert walk study, those offered water at 104°F (40°C) drank less compared to those with water at 59°F (15°C). The warm water drinkers' reduced intake led to a 3% body weight loss, heightening the risk of dehydration, unlike those drinking colder water, who increased intake by 120%, thus lowering the risk of dehydration.

Claim 7: A glass of cold water in the morning jump-starts your metabolism

Debates arise about whether cold water boosts metabolism, aiding in weight loss.

A study found a mere 5% increase in calorie burn when drinking water at 37°F (3°C), much less than expected. Researchers questioned its weight loss impact due to the small calorie rise. Another study examined warming water from 59°F to 98.6°F (15°C to 37°C). It revealed warming cold water accounted for around 40% of its thermogenic effect and only about 9 calories burnt.

Overall, water's effect on metabolism was considered significant, regardless of its temperature. However, no conclusive evidence supports or dismisses the benefits of hot or cold water for weight loss.

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Water plays a critical role in bodily functions, aiding in nutrient transport, temperature regulation, joint lubrication, and organ protection.

There's no solid evidence supporting extra benefits from drinking water on an empty stomach. Ensuring you replace lost fluids matters more than the specific timing of water intake. Whether you begin your day with water or drink it later, maintaining hydration by drinking when you're thirsty is key.

November 08, 2023 — Four Leaf

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