MikeC1-Way to Deal With Water Weight by Mike Christie, NASM, CPT USAT Level 1 Coach

Have you ever been really good about exercise and eating only to get on the scale the next day to the humbling reality that you actually gained weight?

It happens all the time. There are many reasons why this happens, but I want to talk about one reason in particular today.

Carbohydrate storage increases water retention in the body. For every gram of stored carbohydrate, 3 to 4 grams of water are also stored. Thus, higher-carbohydrate diets can lead to increased fluid storage, while lower carbohydrate diets can lead to decreased fluid storage.

Conversely, higher protein intakes tend to stimulate additional fluid losses because the body must increase it’s removal of urinary urea. Switching to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet triggers very rapid water-weight loss in the short-term.  This is caused by the decrease in stored carbohydrate and increased urinary urea production.

It’s no wonder that when someone goes on the Atkins Diet (high protein, low carbohydrate), they immediately lose weight and get really excited. In reality, they are just losing water weight.  It is also the reason why the weight always comes back as soon as the body adjusts to the imbalance.

When you examine your macronutrient balance (you can use your MyFitnessPal app for this), if the carbohydrate balance is above 60%, then you can consider bringing this down a bit. As you decrease the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, consider increasing the dietary protein allocation. Lower carbs offset by higher protein can reduce fluid storage and water weight.

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