Water is important to every body, and especially for those who are trying to loose weight by dieting:

• When dieting, initial weight loss is largely due to a loss of water, and you need to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration.

• The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat- burning process.

• Burning calories creates toxins (think of the exhaust coming out of your car), and water plays a vital role in flushing them out of your body.

• Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.

• Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract, and it lubricates your joints. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.

• A healthy (weight loss) diet includes a good amount of fibre. But while fibre is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it.

• Drinking water with a meal may make you feel full sooner and therefore satisfied eating less. Note, however, that drinking water alone may not have this effect. In order to feel satiated (not hungry), our bodies need bulk, calories and nutrients.

How much water you actually need depends on your weight, level of activity, the temperature and humidity of your environment, and your diet. Your diet makes a difference because if you eat plenty of water-dense foods like fruits and vegetables your need to drink water will be diminished.

Drinking other liquids can also provide your body with a source of water, but note that diuretics cause your body to expel water. Diuretics include caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea and soda) and alcohol. When drinking diuretics, you need to drink more water to compensate.

When drinking alcohol, it is advisable to drink water along with it, as well as before and afterward, to help eliminate a hangover headache and feeling of tiredness.

Do not worry that drinking water will give your body a bloated look. There are a number of causes of water retention, including consuming too much salt. But drinking water is not one of them!