The Difference Between Water Weight and Fat
We’ve all had those less than favorable moments when our favorite pair of jeans suddenly feel a bit too tight, or the scale surprises us with a number that’s higher than usual. You’re bloated, puffy, and completely blindsided by the belly bulge that seemingly came out of nowhere. What gives?
First and foremost, don’t panic! There’s a pretty good chance you’re just dealing with some extra water weight which is perfectly normal to experience from time to time — especially seeing as there are several different things that can make you bloat.
And you’ve probably heard a thing or two about water retention, but do you really know what it means to retain water or how it’s different from fat gain? No worries, BioHealth has your back!
Read on as we explore fat and water weight to uncover what they are and how they differ. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Water Weight vs. Fat Gain: Everything You Need To Know
If you keep tabs on your weight daily, you might notice that you tend to fluctuate a bit between a few pounds each day, regardless of your habits. Some days you may hop on the scale to find you’re magically lighter than you were the morning before, while other weigh-ins suggest you’re not so lucky.
First things first, although frustrating, this experience is totally normal, and that weight you keep seeing go away and come back again is likely just water weight.
Ok — What Exactly is Water Weight?
Despite what many people may think, weight-loss transformations don’t happen overnight— and it’s quite rare to shed more than one-quarter of a pound of fat in 24 hours. However, over the day or night, it is possible that you could drop two to four pounds of water weight.
Simply put, water weight is when fluid collects in your tissues, causing them to swell — and it’s often not the best feeling! Some of the not-so-wonderful symptoms of retaining water include:
- Bloating — especially in the abdominal area
- Swollen feet, ankles, and legs
- Stiff joints
- Indentations in the skin
- Weight fluctuations
A diet rich in fiber is key to combating water weight and keeping these unpleasant symptoms at bay. Fiber keeps the bowels regular and helps move things throughout the body to eliminate waste and excess water.
If you’re feeling especially bloated and uncomfortable, we recommend making a delicious shake using our Phyto Fuel greens powder. In each scoop, you’ll find one and a half servings of superfoods, organic veggies, and fruits, in addition to fiber and probiotics that offer comprehensive nutrients needed to help you feel your best. What’s not to love?
What Causes Water Weight?
Did you know that 50 to 70 percent of your entire body weight is water?
Yup, it’s true — water is the ‘source of life,’ and keeping yourself adequately hydrated with the wet stuff is essential for several different functions, such as keeping your body temperature in check, providing cushioning to your joints, and getting rid of waste.
Needless to say, we want water in our bodies! However, we want it to go to the right places to be used efficiently rather than stored in our cells.
So, what causes water to stick around, ultimately resulting in belly bloat, puffiness, and extreme frustration? Well, there are actually several factors that can cause water retention — here are a few of them:
Too Much Salt
One of the most common culprits behind water retention is consuming too much salt. You see, sodium binds with water and keeps it trapped in the body. So the higher the sodium in your diet, the more fluid retention you’ll have.
Despite what you may think, carbs won’t make you fat. However, chowing down on pasta and bread results in more water weight. This is because one gram of carbohydrates tends to store up to four grams of H2O — so if you’re eating more carbs than what your body can efficiently use as energy, they’ll end up getting stored as glycogen and make you hold onto more water.
You might think that putting more water into your body just adds more water weight — but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite is true. If your body feels starved for water, it’ll hold onto every drop it can to prevent severe dehydration from setting in.
Due to fluctuating hormones, those who menstruate are much more likely to experience water retention than those who don’t (sorry, ladies). Thankfully, this type of weight gain often resolves on its own once aunt Flo arrives.
Some meds such as NSAIDs and birth control are notorious for causing water weight. That being said, if water retention is causing you stress and you suspect your medication is to blame — make an appointment to chat with your doctor. A lower dose or even a different drug might bring you relief!
Is Water Weight Different From Fat Gain?
As mentioned, water weight does make you gain weight —but it’s a different kind of weight gain than body fat. For starters, water weight isn’t linked to calories expended or consumed.
On the other hand, fat weight is linked to an imbalance of energy and is manipulated by consuming fewer calories than you expend.
So, How Can You Tell The Difference?
If you’re keeping track of your weight, you might wonder how you can tell whether or not the pounds you gain or lose are from water weight, fat, or muscle.
Well, here’s the deal — depending on how much H2O you’re retaining, you can fluctuate five pounds or more per day. True fat loss will be slower and more sustained, whereas the water weight is going to be much more variable — down two pounds one day, up three pounds the next, and down two again after that.
In other words, water weight fluctuates a lot. So if you hop on the scale and notice you’re magically a little lighter from the morning before, chances are you’ve just shed some water — not fat.
Are There Any Tips to Help Combat Water Weight?
To be clear, water weight isn’t necessarily dangerous or unhealthy. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t uncomfortable! Whether you went too hard on the salt at dinner or noshed on one too many carbs, here are a few top tips to combat water retention:
Tip #1: Load Up On Protein
Protein attracts water and helps to keep the body balanced. So with that in mind and to keep your H2O levels in check, we recommend our Precision ISO Protein — premium pasture-fed whey with 27+ grams of high-quality protein in each scoop.
This phenomenal tasting protein is designed to support you on your health and wellness journey while keeping your body properly nourished from head to toe.
Tip #2: Get Your Sweat On
When you exercise, your body naturally loses water in the form of sweat. Sweating leads to a quick drop in water weight and an increase in blood flow and circulation. Just don’t forget to replenish lost fluids after your workout to keep dehydration at bay!
Tip #3: Say No to Processed Foods
Processed foods are loaded with salt — not to mention many other icky ingredients that provide no nutritional value whatsoever. If you don’t want to retain more water than necessary, steer clear of anything processed and increase your fresh veggies and fruit intake.
What’s the difference between water weight and fat gain, you ask?
Simply put, water weight happens when your cells hold on to extra H2O for reasons that don’t pertain to the number of calories you consume. This often leads to bloating, swelling, and puffiness, in addition to weight fluctuations.
On the other hand, fat is gained slowly and occurs from consuming an excess of calories over time. So if you hop on the scale and notice that you packed on a few pounds overnight — it’s likely water weight as it can take a while for the body to gain a true pound of fat.
Here at BioHealth, we’ve created a new standard for clean, nutritious products focusing on innovation. Whether you’re on a mission to boost hydration or simply searching for the best high-performance supplements on the planet, you can count on us to have your back.
The Water in You: Water and the Human Body | USGS
The relationship between 'normal' fluid retention in women and idiopathic edema. | | Postgraduate Medical Journal