Morbidly obese people that undergo bariatric surgery for weight loss are instructed to drink lots of water as part of their post-surgical dietary plan. In fact, “Drink Lots of Water” is the second of Four Rules most bariatric surgeons require of patients following any gastric surgical procedure for weight loss. The Four Rules are essential behaviors to be followed during the early months and weeks following weight loss surgery during which weight loss occurs. For life-long weight maintenance patients will continue to follow the Four Rules once goal weight is achieved. In addition to drinking lots of water patients will follow a high protein diet, avoid snacking and engage in daily exercise.
Water makes up about 60 percent of the adult body’s weight and is essential for the transport of nutrients and waste products throughout the body. When a person drinks an adequate amount of the correct type of water it may have a positive effect on their health. The first sign of inadequate fluid intake is thirst and symptoms of dehydration may soon follow.
Weight loss surgery patients who struggle to drink enough water often ask if other beverages count toward their total fluid intake. The advice from bariatric nutritionists varies, but in most cases patients learn the cleaner their fluid intake the more favorable health outcome they will achieve. Below is a glossary of terms one may encounter when purchasing water. A basic knowledge of these terms is useful in helping achieve good body fluid balance.
Artesian water is drawn from a well that taps a confined aquifer in which the water is under pressure.
Bottled water is drinking water sold in bottles.
Carbonated water contains carbon dioxide gas, either naturally occurring or added, that causes bubbles to form in it; also called bubbling or sparkling water. Seltzer, soda, and tonic waters are legally soft drinks and are not regulated as water.
Distilled water has been vaporized and recondensed, leaving it free of dissolved minerals.
Filtered water is treated by filtration, usually through activated carbon filters that reduce the lead in tap water, or by reverse osmosis units that force pressurized water across a membrane removing lead, arsenic, and some microoganisms from tap water.
Hard water has a high calcium and magnesium content.
Mineral water comes from a spring or well that typically contains 250 to 500 parts per million (ppm) of minerals. Minerals give water a distinctive flavor. Many mineral waters are high in sodium.
Natural water is obtained from a spring or well that is certified to be safe and sanitary. The mineral content may not be changed, but the water may be treated in other ways such as with ozone or by filtration.
Public water is from a municipal or county water system that has been treated and disinfected.
Purified water has been treated by distillation or other physical or chemical processes that remove dissolved solids. Because purified water contains no minerals or contaminants, it is useful for medical and research purposes.
Soft water has a high sodium or potassium content.
Spring water originates from an underground spring or well. It may be bubbly (carbonated), or “flat” or “still,” meaning not carbonated. Brand names such as “Spring Pure” do not necessarily mean that the water comes from a spring.
Well water is drawn from ground water by tapping into an aquifer.