Water may give your health, skin a boost

Whenever I read health magazines, I always see “drink lots of water” as the solution to all dieting and weight loss problems. But lately, I’ve been seeing this advice beyond the glossy magazine pages.

I’ve read online blogs that say it will help clear up acne. Some online forums even argue that it will help with hair growth. And I recall hearing on the local news that it will help cure headaches.

Next, they’ll be saying that water can give you the ability to fly.

I wanted to see if these claims were true. So, this week, the only liquid I drank was water. No soda, no coffee, not even my usual morning cup of tea.

Before I began the week, I needed to know exactly how much water I should drink every day to bring out its benefits.

I remember hearing from my high school biology teacher that eight eight-ounce glasses of water should be consumed each day. My mom once convinced me to drink that amount in one day, and my only defining memory from that experience was having to pee every 30 minutes.

Wanting to avoid repeating that mishap, I turned to a professional at the Mayo Clinic to get her take.

According to Rosa Suchy, nutrition specialist at the Mayo Clinic, women on average need to drink about 2.2 liters of water a day, about 10 ounces more than what I had heard before.

As I normally drink about two glasses of water in a day, I knew drinking the amount of water Suchy recommended would be a challenge.

Nonetheless, I thought I would give it a try.

On the first morning, I drank an eight-ounce glass of water after I woke up. No problem. I continued on throughout the day, making sure I brought my water bottle with me so I could sip in class and get to the 2.2 liters by the end of the day.

Because I own a Sportline Hydracoach water bottle, I was able to efficiently keep track of how much I drank. A Sportline Hydracoach is basically a Camelbak that keeps track of how much water you drink in a day, and how much you should be drinking based on your body size.

I was able to sit through my first class without a problem, but, by my second, I had to get up to use the restroom. Twice.

According to Hong Chen, an assistant professor of chemical nutrition, this was to be expected.

“Part of why water is so beneficial is because it causes the release of more of the ‘bad’ toxins in your body when you urinate,” Chen said. “It cleanses your system because it’s so pure.”

Around lunchtime, I was surprised to find that I was feeling surprisingly full. Maybe that’s why I’ve heard water helps you lose weight. In the end, I was only able to eat a salad and some grilled chicken.

Findings from a study by the Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise affirmed my conviction. According to the study, water tends to reduce total caloric intake. Water is also the body’s principal chemical component, meaning that every system in the body depends on it.

By the end of day one, I was able to reach my goal of 2.2 liters. Having to use the restroom constantly during class was inconvenient (but maybe I have a small bladder, who knows?), but otherwise, I felt extremely energized and was satisfied with my diet for the day. I didn’t snack often and because of that I took in fewer calories.

Beyond that, I was still hungry enough to eat my regular meals and eat the proper amount of food. I was just able to cut the unnecessary calories from snacking.

After continuing to practice this routine for a few more days, I successfully continued to reach my 2.2 liter goal (sometimes surpassing it), although I will admit I did break at one point and drink a mug of tea. But is that really so bad?

According to Margarita Teran-Garcia, professor of human nutrition, it’s not. She said that drinking some other fluids, tea included, will help the body.

“Although water is the most cleansing, drinking juices occasionally and non-sweetened tea is actually beneficial to you,” Garcia said. “It can contribute to your 2.2 liters.”

Chen also told me that dehydration of the body “is (what) sometimes that makes your skin look drier or more oily.”

As the week came to a close, my biggest amazement from the week-long water binge was how much better my skin looked.

The water didn’t instantaneously clean up every blemish, but my complexion looked much smoother. I obviously haven’t conducted studies on my skin, so I cannot say with certainty that it was because of the water, but I definitely saw a visible change.

Overall, I was pleased with the results of drinking just water for an entire week. It’s not as crazy as trying a whole new diet, and it was much less difficult than I had originally thought.

I really think keeping up with this is something that I will continue to do. Although these results may not be true for all, it made a difference to me, and I encourage anyone to try it out.

Jolie is a sophomore in Business. She can be reached at [email protected]