Eating your weight in strawberry donuts? Overeating can seem uncontrollable, from overdoing it on healthy snacks, to justifying four brownies at lunchtime, to binge-eating mint chocolate chip ice cream at midnight with no idea how you got there and no intention of stopping.
But overeating isn’t something that just happens–we all have reasons for doing it. Sometimes those reasons are emotional or mental, but sometimes they’re purely physical. Surprisingly, dehydration is one of the main causes of overeating—and it is sneaky. We call it “dehydration hunger.” Read below to understand why dehydration hunger could be tricking your body into some unhealthy eating habits–and adding on those extra pounds.
Reason #1: Dehydration makes you think you’re hungry.
One of the most baffling tricks your body plays on your brain is that it tends to disguise dehydration as hunger. Often, you may think you’re craving a tasty snack when in fact your body is calling out for H20. Why the mind games? It has to do with the liver not getting enough water, and not being able to produce glycogens, which give you that energized, full feeling. Low glycogen count means plenty of trips to the fridge—and could mean a higher number on the scale.
Reason #2: Dehydration zaps your energy.
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue. When you don’t get enough water, hundreds of biological processes in your body lack support, and your organs have to work much harder to do their jobs—making you tired and weak. Consequently, your blood pressure drops, which sends the signal to your brain that it’s time to raid the snack cabinet. Crafty, huh? It’s a steep downward spiral, and it all starts when you don’t drink enough water.
Reason #3: Dehydration makes you crave…salt?!
In another bizarre bit of biological trickery, your brain sometimes misinterprets thirst as the need for salt. Dehydrated bodies actually crave sodium—a nutrient that can dehydrate it even further! What a vicious cycle!
This one has a simpler explanation: when we sweat (which we do all day, every day, regardless of whether we feel it or not), we lose vital salts as well as water. Those salts are actually just as critical for rehydration as water, which is why products like Liquid I.V.’s Hydration Multiplier are perfect for active folks. This electrolyte powder can provide 2-3 times the hydration of water alone, and provides more than 3 times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks. Pour a packet into 16 ounces of water and you’ll be giving your body the heavy dose of hydration it desperately needs.
According to researchers, approximately 3 out of 4 Americans are chronically dehydrated, which means you most likely need to be drinking more water than you are. If you’re struggling to shed some pounds, or find yourself eating more than you should, dehydration hunger may be the culprit. Addressing the problem of chronic dehydration may be the next step. Drinking water before eating can make you feel more full, which can help with restraint during mealtimes. Plus, eliminating phantom hunger, exhaustion, and the craving for salty foods will give you a leg up on your overeating habits.
If you have trouble drinking enough water, try making Liquid I.V. a part of your daily routine. It’s a shortcut to fantastic hydration, which may have an impact on your health overall. So put down the Girl Scout cookies and head to the water cooler. Good luck!
If you or someone you know has a problem with binge-eating, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
Written by: Samantha Colicchio, Liquid I.V. Brand Storyteller