ELIF: Why do our bodies hold on to excess water?


When trying to lose weight, we lose water weight first. I’m wondering why we hold excess water to begin with.

In: Biology

The answer is pretty simple.

Water is essential to being alive and you wanna have it stored in case you need it.

The “water weight” you lose is usually from depleting glycogen.

Glycogen is stored in your liver and muscles. It’s basically sugar that is packed up very tightly in storage. When you need energy, you break it down for sugar. It also happens to make you retain a bit of water. Something like 1 gram of glycogen makes you hold onto 3 grams of water, or some ratio like that. When you start eating less food, or switch to a keto diet, your glycogen stores go down, and you retain less water. This is why people will lose like 5 lbs in the first few days of keto. People also use this effect if they compete in weight class sports, to shed a few more pounds so they can make their weight class.