It's Not The Fat, It's The Water Retention: Learn to Beat the Bloat

Written by Tim Rigby, M.A., NSCA-CPT

Here at Fit Deals, Canada’s best online source for supplements, we appreciate how much effort and sweat you pour into your training.  We recognize you possess commitment and determination toward the realization of your fitness goals, and we’re here to help.  Not only will you find a full array of fitness, health and sports supplements herein, but also a myriad of useful and educative information to make your journey efficient and successful.

Part of this comes in the form of dispelling popular myths, and one of these happens to be the idea that excess weight is always caused by an abundance of fat.  While excess fat certainly plays a role in being overweight, it is actually water retention caused by diet, that is responsible for those extra pounds more than you think.  Water in fact is about 11% more dense than fat, so you can instantly appreciate its influence on your weight.

So, let’s explore how water retention occurs and what you can do to reduce it.

The main culprit for bloating and water retention, but we don’t monitor it as much because it has never become as “important” to nutrition labels as the macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat).  Yet even if you’re on a paleo or keto diet, based on the assumption you’ll lose weight from avoiding carbs, you might be in for a shock if you checked the quantities of sodium on foods like beef, chicken, turkey, tuna and ham.  Even the seemingly lean versions of these meats are often packaged with up to 2,000 milligrams of sodium which attracts water like a magnet – and that’s in just one sandwich.  Health Canada recommends that the average Canadian consumes about 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily, and at maximum 2,300 milligrams.  Which means if you routinely have a couple of luncheon meat sandwiches, coupled with other salty fare at breakfast and dinner, you could easily consume more than double the designated maximum amount of sodium.

Avoiding high-fat foods simply because they have a high-fat content may lead you to inadvertently consuming another water retention culprit.  This happens to be in the form of simple (a.k.a. “fast”) carbs like sugar.  Even that low-fat cereal you eat first thing in the morning may be loaded with sugar that are just hollow calories. When you work out and sweat hard, if you’re not careful with your choice of sports drink, you could be unintentionally adding 30 or 40 grams of weight-gaining sugar.  Part of the reason sugar is so bad is because in simple terms it becomes unused stored energy; another part of the reason is that it takes 30 molecules of water to flush out just 1 molecule of sugar!

You may have been led to believe that caffeine and alcohol are diuretics which cause you to lose water, not retain it.  This is in fact true in the immediate term, but eventually due to homeostasis your body will adapt and overcompensate for the elimination of fluids – so the next thing you know, water becomes retained.  Especially if you load up your morning java with sugar, or your evening cocktail with the sweet stuff.

There are certain supplemental strategies you can employ to reverse the effects of water retention.  Before we get into the specific vitamins and minerals which can lend you a hand, let’s remind you that simply drinking more water will help flush out excess retained water and be less of a strain on your kidneys.  Stay very hydrated, even on your rest days, and a good way to check this is to ensure your urine output is clear and not too dark yellow.

Good old vitamin C can play a role as a water-soluble vitamin to help you beat the bloat and flush out water overnight.  Vitamin B12 also plays a role in this function, along with a spectrum of other effects.  Magnesium and vitamin D help muscles and organs relax and can also help prevent you from holding onto unwanted water.

Be sure also to consume a lot of fibrous fruits and vegetables, especially those with a high-water content which will support your efforts to stay more than just adequately hydrated.  Keeping active, even going for a 30-minute gentle walk daily can help prevent fluid buildup and also keep you regular.

Try to avoid those culprits which retain water, and learn to adopt the strategies for proactively combating water retention listed herein.  You’ll see the numbers on the scale diminish much faster than if you simply cut all fat out of your diet!

AvoidBloatFitnessFitness adviceFitness scienceFitness tipHealthNutritionWater retentionWeight gainWeight loss

Leave a comment