What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Water
By Bianca Mendez
No water, big problem.
Ever notice how we recommend drinking more water in basically every article on weight loss, health, and fitness? We'd hate to sound like a broken record, but water is imperative for your health. Since our bodies are made from about 65 percent water, it's necessary to guzzle it like you're crazy so that your system functions properly. From stopping belly bloat to warding off diseases, getting enough water is one of the most important things you can do.
But some people barely drink any water. No, they're not in third-world countries or trapped in the desert in Arizona. They're people who habitually drink beverages like soda, fruit juice, coffee, Kool-Aid—basically, anything but plain ol' H20. Sure, you get some water and hydration from those things and you can get water from certain foods, but life sans H20 is pretty scary.
1You Gain Water Weight
It sounds counterintuitive, but skimping on water can actually cause water retention and temporary weight gain. "When you're not drinking enough [water], your body holds every drop to prevent severe dehydration," says Abby Sharp, RD. If you want to better understand water weight, don't miss our list of 17 Things You Need to Know About Water Weight.
2Your Energy Drops
Feeling groggy? Skip the caffeine and drink water instead. "Yes, you should drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated. In fact, even slight dehydration can significantly drain your energy levels," Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE explains.
3You Lose Focus
The fundamental element of life is also essential to finding great ideas. Made of 80 percent water, your brain's abilities and functions seriously depend on it. Even slight dehydration impairs its abilities, making any eurekas a challenge. But add water, and mental flexibility automatically improves by 14 percent, according to one UK study.
4Your Risk of Stroke Increases
Dehydration can not only take longer for you to recover from a stroke, but it can actually make it worst, according to a recent study! Not a huge fan of straight, nothing-added water? Try one of these 50 Best Detox Waters that hydrate you while giving you an extra squeeze of citrus and other bloat-busters.
5You Get Crankier
Feeling cranky? Forgoing H2O may be the worst thing you could do. Two studies from the University of Connecticut put men and women through a series of cognitive tests and found that even being mildly dehydrated affected their moods and caused fatigue and headaches.
6You Feel Hungrier
It's very common to confuse hunger with dehydration. If your stomach is growling, your best bet is to drink some water. "Try drinking water and waiting 20 minutes before grabbing that snack you've been eyeing," says nutritionist Amy Shapiro, who urges replacing sugary drinks like soda, juices, or sports drinks with water. Oh, and you should definitely avoid these 25 Foods That Make You Hungrier.
7Your Metabolism Tanks
Nixing water from your diet can seriously derail your weight loss plans, proven by a study from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. After drinking approximately 17 ounces of water (about two tall glasses), participants' metabolic rates increased by 30 percent. The researchers estimate that increasing water intake by 1.5 liters a day (about six cups) would burn an extra 17,400 calories over the course of the year—a weight loss of approximately five pounds! Learn more of The 55 Best Ways to Boost Your Metabolism.
8You Get Headaches
Before you reach for the Tylenol, try chugging water when your head hurts. The previous study we just mentioned found dehydration can also lead to headaches.
RELATED VIDEO: The Foodie Hack That Stops Migraines
9Your Skin Worsens
Water helps to plump up your skin, so you should be able to imagine what dehydration will do! When you don't drink enough water, the collagen begins to crack and bind together, causing fine lines and wrinkles to get more noticed. We rely on water to keep our insides sufficiently hydrated, too. So when you ditch it, expect your mouth, skin, and everything else to feel drier than normal.
10Your Workout Performance Suffers
You body cannot efficiently convert carbs into energy without ample water. And according to the Journal Physiology of Sport and Exercise, you can't deliver essential amino acids to muscle tissue without adequate water. Not only will your workout sessions suffer but insufficient liquids in your body will also hold back the breakdown of fat.
11You Have More Bathroom Troubles
Can't poop? Your bathroom schedule is well maintained when your colon absorbs up to five liters of water per day, making it easier to go to the bathroom. But when your body realizes that water is MIA from your system, it absorbs more—which makes it harder to expel waste says Nitin Kumar, gastroenterologist. But if you're drinking water regularly and still can't go, here are 23 Foods That Make You Poop.
12Your Kidneys Will Function Poorly...
In order for your kidneys to work properly, you need water to dilute the blood. Without enough water, your kidneys have to work overtime to filter out the blood says Kumar and severe dehydration can also lead to failure or worse––kidney stones!
13...And So Will Your Heart
Well, this is scary! "When you're dehydrated, your heart has to work harder to maintain blood flow when you stand up," says Kumar. "If you're sufficiently dehydrated and your heart is not up to this task, the insufficient blood flow to your brain can result in fainting."
14Guys May Experience Erectile Disfunction
The hard truth? Not enough water may keep a man soft. In a dehydrated state, you produce a greater amount of angiotensin, a type of hormone that is commonly found in men experiencing having difficulty achieving stable erections. Feeling thirsty, yet? Also, check out the 50 Best Ever Foods for Men.
15You Stop Crying
A lack of water will stop your tears (but only physically, not emotionally!). "Tear production is decreased when a person is dehydrated from not drinking water. The body tries to create a homeostasis or keeping fluid balance in check. When there is a decreased amount of fluid intake, the body stores the water to hydrate vital organs first," says Elissa B. Gartenberg, D.O.
16Your Pee Changes Color
Ever want to know how well-hydrated are you? Check your pee. When you don't drink enough water, your urine color will turn into a darker yellow. If you're severely dehydrated, you might not even pee at all.
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ABC News Chief Women's Health Correspondent