Puffy, swollen, bloated … not really the vibe most of us are going for. Water weight (aka extra water stored between blood vessels and in our tissues) may be to blame. It often occurs in the legs, feet, fingers, abdomen, and face, and it can also lead to stiff and achy joints.
Water weight fluctuations can be as much as two to four pounds per day—and for some, even more. Although typically not a health concern (unless there’s an underlying condition), it can make many of us feel blah.
Causes of water weight include medications, dehydration, sitting or standing too long, and hormonal changes. Certain foods and drinks may also be the culprits, which is what we’re talking about today.
If you want to quickly shed some water weight, or avoid gaining it in the first place, these are foods you will want to avoid:
1. Chips and packaged snacks
Okay, yes—this might seem obvious, but salty foods are a common cause of water weight. To be clear, we’re not really talking about the salt you use when cooking. For many, the majority of salt consumption comes from processed foods.
Chips, fast food, and packaged snacks contain tons of hidden salt that leaves us thirsty and reaching for more water. However, in spite of the additional water, the increased salt intake causes our urine output to remain the same as our bodies attempt to balance the cells’ sodium levels. This water retention becomes water weight.
2. Bread, pasta, and rice
Refined carbohydrates can cause swelling and bloating. When we consume foods such as breads, pastas, fries, rice, etc., the excess energy we don’t use right away is stored in our muscles as glycogen.
For every gram of glycogen stored in our muscles our body retains three grams of water. That is why after eating lots of pizza, treats, and pasta, we wake up with a swollen face and a bloated feeling.
3. Sugary foods
Sugar (a refined carbohydrate) causes water retention through the storage of excess glycogen, as previously mentioned. But it also raises insulin levels, which can make our kidneys retain sodium and water.
As if water retention wasn’t bad enough, we’re exacerbating it with sodium. So leave the sugary foods alone to help reduce and avoid water weight gain.
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