Alkaline Water for Weight Loss
Did you know that there’s a Cookie Diet? Yes, unfortunately, there is, and it’s based on the premise that if you exchange some of your meals for low-fat cookies, you’ll lose weight.
Sounds about as sensible as the latest Ketogenic Diet fad, promoting over-eating fats, or the once-popular Grapefruit and Cabbage Soup diets.
Look up “diets” in Wikipedia, and you’ll find over 90 different diets listed with links to every single one.
In this post:
- Alkaline + Water = Health
- Food and Alkalinity
- What is an Alkaline Environment?
- Water, Weight, and Health
- How Do You Get Alkaline Water?
- How Does Alkaline Water Help with Weight Loss?
- Examples of Weight Loss and Longevity
- Conclusions on Alkaline Water for Weight Loss
Though we’re told that people who lose weight rapidly are the ones that tend to put the weight back on, statistics and studies suggest otherwise. The Lancet reported on a study that found that after 144 weeks, people who lost weight gradually put it back on at the same rate as people who lost weight rapidly.2
When researchers at UCLA analyzed 31 long-term diet studies, they found that a majority of participants regained all the weight, plus more.
Their conclusion? According to Traci Mann, UCLA Associate Professor of Psychology, “Most of them would have been better off not going on the diet at all. Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back.”3
This yo-yo dieting has been linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and depression.4
At one time, I was just like all those other people, looking for the perfect diet that would allow me to lose weight in record time, dropping 10 pounds only to gain 15 in the months to come.
Then, one transformative day, I decided to leave the diets behind and chose to eat whole foods as nature intended. It was a journey I took with my entire family, prompted by my son who was in and out of hospitals since his birth.
In the process, my son regained his health, and I lost 70 pounds. I have maintained my ideal weight of 135 without “dieting” ever since.
So, what does this story have to do with alkaline water?
Alkaline + Water = Health
Some might suggest that alkaline water for weight loss is yet another diet to be listed in Wikipedia. I disagree. Alkaline water for weight loss combines two of the most important ingredients for sustaining and creating health—alkalinity and water.
Let’s take a look at the first topic—alkalinity—and how it relates to our health.
Food and Alkalinity
When my family and I changed our diet to one based on whole foods, guess what happened? We stopped eating the many foods associated with the Standard American Diet that causes acidity in the body, and more of the foods that create an alkaline environment, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that everything you eat leaves a metabolic “ash” in your body? This residue occurs because the body actually burns the food you eat as it extracts the energy or calories it requires, in much the same way that wood is burned for fuel in a fire pit, in a process called oxidation. And just as burning wood leaves behind ash, so does food. The ash left behind is either acidic or alkaline.
Foods that leave an acid ash includes all meats, dairy, most grains, eggs, coffee, sodas, alcohol and sugar. Alkaline-producing foods include fruits, vegetables, ancient grains such as quinoa and kamut, beans, and some nuts and seeds.
What is an alkaline environment?
All living things must maintain a certain pH level in order to survive. pH is the measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration and ranges from 0 to 14 with 0 representing very acidic, 7 indicating a neutral environment, and 14 referring to extreme alkaline environments. Humans require a blood pH level within the 7.3 to 7.4 range—a very tight margin that the body goes to extraordinary measures to maintain.
When our bodies are continually bombarded by acid producing factors, from the food we eat to environmental toxins to the thoughts we repeatedly think, buffer systems start the process of neutralizing these excessive acids in order to keep us alive.
The three main bodily buffer systems are:
Alkaline Minerals: Sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium are the alkaline minerals stored in the tissues of the body that bind with acids in order to neutralize them, and eventually eliminate them from the body through the kidneys, lungs, colon, and skin.
If the tissues are lacking these essential nutrients, the body finds them and extracts them from other areas, such as the bones and muscles.
Fun fact: You’d think that a lemon would be classified as an acidic food, right? However, because it is high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, the metabolic ash it leaves behind is actually alkaline.
Lymphatic System: The lymphatic system removes acid deposits and other toxins from the tissues. Unlike the circulatory system that flows due to the beating of your heart, your lymphatic system’s series of valves requires stimulation like muscle relaxation and contraction in order to do the job of “taking out the garbage.”
If you’re not moving much, or don’t use a dry skin brush regularly, your lymphatic system is stagnant and acids build up.
Fat Buffer System: Low-density lipoproteins, commonly referred to as LDLs, bind with acids found in the blood, lymphatic system, and tissues of the body which are then removed via the urine.
If the body becomes overloaded with acids and the buffering systems are unable to keep up with the load, the body will protect the vital organs by storing these fat-acid combos in areas such as the hips, thighs, and stomach—eventually creating obesity.
If under constant threat of acidosis (a condition in which the body tissues become increasingly acidic), the ability of the body’s buffer systems to maintain an alkaline environment diminishes, and the chances of developing chronic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, increases.
Metabolic syndrome is linked to acidosis. Symptoms associated with this disease include not only clinical obesity, but also high blood cholesterol, low amounts of HDL (the “good guy” in cholesterol circles), high blood pressure, kidney stones, and high blood sugar. It is also a predictor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Water, Weight, and Health
We now understand the importance of an alkaline environment, but what does water have to do with it?
Water, as you know, is life sustaining. Without it, we will die in about four days.
Our brain is comprised of more water than any other substance. In fact, almost 75 to 85 percent of the brain is water, and it uses this liquid to create hormones and neurotransmitters.
What else does water do for us? It regulates our temperature, acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord, lubricates joints, removes waste, helps deliver oxygen to every part of our body, and allows the cells to grow, reproduce and survive.6 Pretty important stuff.
When we don’t drink enough, we suffer from fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, muscle cramps, mood swings, constipation, dry skin, and insomnia.
And yet, it is estimated that 75 percent of Americans suffer from dehydration.7
Not only does lack of water affect our health; it also affects our weight.
Think of the camel, with its one to two humps that it uses to store water as it migrates through the dry deserts. Your body does the same thing; when it doesn’t receive sufficient amounts of water, it stores it, which translates to water retention.
Often, if you’re dehydrated, what you feel as hunger is actually your body telling you that you are thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water next time you feel that you need a snack. You may be surprised to find out you weren’t really hungry after all!
You may also be surprised to know how much water is recommended for the human body. According to the Institute of Medicine, men require, on average, 13 cups a day, while 9 cups are suggested for women. If you exercise or live in a hot climate, that amount increases.8
So, now we are back to our original equation: Alkaline + Water = Health.
We now know the benefits of alkaline foods and water. Put them both together and we have alkaline water—a drink containing both vital elements. Alkaline water typically has a pH level of about 8 or 9. It also contains several key minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium.
How Do You Get Alkaline Water?
Drinking this type of water is one of the best things you can do for your health. In fact, drinking alkaline water will increase your pH more than any other habit—even adopting a raw vegan diet!
Water sold as “alkaline water” is available at most grocery stores. Besides being inconvenient and expensive, there are several issues with bottled water alkalinity claims that don’t (ahem) hold water. Their pH often is less alkaline than you’d expect, because if the water is alkalized through ionization, this process doesn’t permanently change the nature of the water, and it reverts back within a few hours. If the alkalinity is achieved through mineralization, expect synthetic “mineral” additives your body can’t use.
Another common name for alkaline water is ionized water. The best and most efficient way to get alkaline water is with the use of a water ionizer at home. Not only can you set the pH to a perfect 9.5, but the ionization process also creates antioxidants.
Before I bought mine a few years ago, I spent several months researching the many water ionizers and testing the pH level of the water–not just when the water came out of the ionizer, but several hours later as well.
Ultimately, I chose the Influence Ionizer water ionization system for my own home.
And a wonderful side-benefit to increased health? Weight loss.
How Does Alkaline Water Help with Weight Loss?
- Diminishes fat cells. Maintaining an alkaline, hydrated environment reduces the body’s need to create more fat cells in which to store excess acid. This benefit results from alkaline water’s ability to detoxify, explained next.
- Detoxifies. The accumulation of acid wastes around cells creates a toxic condition called acidosis. In an attempt to control this toxic environment, the body creates fat cells whose mission is to contain the acid waste and keep it away from the body’s organs. Creating an alkaline environment reduces these toxins, and as a side benefit, reduces fat and helps one reach a natural and healthy weight.
A study conducted in 2011 found that participants who drank alkaline water for 2 months excreted 10 toxic heavy metals, one of the most difficult classes of toxins for the body to get rid of.9
- Promotes beneficial gut flora. Alkaline water supports the beneficial probiotic microbes in your intestines. This helps maintain a healthy gut flora that converts food into energy instead of fat and toxins.10
- Breakdown of fats. Your body converts fat to energy by a process called lipolysis. This process depends on a chemical reaction called hydrolysis, the chemical breakdown of a compound due to its reaction with water.
In order for this system to work, proper hydration is essential. When water is ionized, the water molecules become smaller. Their reduced size makes it easier for them to pass through the cell walls and enable them to hydrate parts of the body that have long been dehydrated.
It’s an amazing, energized feeling you get when you start drinking this type of water and your body becomes saturated in antioxidant-rich alkaline water!
- Neutralizes lactic acid. Alkaline water neutralizes the lactic acid waste that your muscles produce when you work out, helping you exercise longer and avoid sore muscles.
- Increases your metabolism. When you are dehydrated, your body slows down your metabolism in order to conserve water.
- Resets leptin levels. Leptin is your “stop eating” hormone. It sends a “full” signal to the brain that keeps you from that second helping of your favorite pasta carbonara. Eliminating toxins, creating an alkaline environment, and lowering inflammation all help to reset your leptin levels, allowing for effortless weight loss.
- Helps kidneys function. Kidneys can discharge more toxins when your pH is higher. For example, if your urine pH is at 5.5, your kidneys are only able to filter out about 5 percent of the fluoride in your bloodstream. At 7.6 pH, the kidneys can filter out 65 percent of this fluoride.11
Examples of Weight Loss and Longevity
A study conducted on obese people found that those who drank two liters of alkaline water on a daily basis averaged a loss of 12 pounds in two months with no other change in their diet. In addition, they also observed reduced cholesterol and blood pressure levels.9
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center had subjects with potential metabolic syndrome drink alkaline water for 8 weeks. All participants demonstrated improvement in the levels of oxidative stress markers including a decrease in “bad” cholesterol and an increase in antioxidant activity.5
Their conclusion? Hydrogen-rich alkaline water represents a potentially therapeutic and preventive strategy for metabolic syndrome.
The Okinawa Centenarian Project was a study conducted to determine why the Japanese island of Okinawa had more people living to the age of 100 or older than anywhere else on earth. They found that their diet is rich in vegetables and fruits, they exercise daily, practiced mindfulness, and drink an alkaline water rich in healthy minerals.
Conclusions on Alkaline Water for Weight Loss
While you may think alkaline water is out of your financial reach, keep in mind, it is pennies on the dollar compared to buying bottled alkaline water, which, as we’ve explained, usually doesn’t stay alkaline after it’s bottled.
Another remarkable difference is that reverse osmosis and distilled water units remove all the minerals and create a very acidic water, usually somewhere between 4.5 and 5.7.
The bottom line is that adding alkaline water to your diet and daily lifestyle is an excellent and easy way to increase your health and provide your body with the hydration and minerals it requires to help you maintain your ideal body weight.
Learn more about how alkaline water may serve your health goals, and how to get a system installed under your own sink at wholesale price.
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
- Ingraham, Christopher. Nearly half of America’s overweight people don’t realize they’re overweight. The Washington Post. 12/2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/01/nearly-half-of-americas-overweight-people-dont-realize-theyre-overweight/?utm_term=.77a06403c764
- Purcell, Katrina BSc. The effect of rate of weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomized controlled trial. The Lancet. 10/2014. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(14)70200-1/fulltext#article_upsell
- Wolpert, Stuart. Dieting does not work, UCLA researchers report. UCLA Newsroom. 04/2007. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Dieting-Does-Not-Work-UCLA-Researchers-7832
- Voss, Gretchen. When you lose weight—and gain it all back. NBC News. 06/2010.
- Nakao, Atsunori et al. Effectiveness of Hydrogen Rich Water on Antioxidant Status of Subjects with Potential Metabolic Syndrome—An Open Label Pilot Study. Journal of Biochemical Nutrition. 03/2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831093/
- The Water in You. The USGS Water Science School. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html
- Ericson, John. 75% of Americans May Suffer From Chronic Dehydration, According to Doctors. Medical Daily. 07/2013.
- How Much Water Should I Drink? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/how-much-water-to-drink#1
- Guy, A.E., et al. The effect of daily consumption of 2 liters of electrolyzed water for 2 months on body composition and several physiological parameters in four obese subjects: a preliminary report. Original Internist. 09/2011. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-269433201.html
- Vorobjeva, N.V. Selective stimulation of the growth of anaerobic microflora in the human intestinal tract by electrolyzed reducing water. Elsevier Medical Hypothesis. ScienceDirect. 2005.
- The Ultimate Alkaline Water Cleanse. Life Ionizers. 2015.
Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links, which allow you to support our mission without costing you extra. The original publish date was October 2018; post has been updated for formatting, accuracy, and relevance.