You’ve heard it a thousand times, but with Thanksgiving, and the extra pounds that come with it, right around the corner, this might be a good time for a reminder: Water naturally suppresses your appetite and drinking at least eight glasses a day will help you burn fat and lose weight.

Some people give up water around the holidays in favor of more festive liquids such as wine and soft drinks. Some even give it up, thinking they’ll lose weight. But just the opposite happens. If you don’t drink enough water every day, your body may be storing water–and fat–that you don’t want. A fact sheet from the University of Minnesota Water Resource Center incorporates research from several sources into a short, concise guide on drinking water to lose and keep weight off during the holidays. Here are some highlights: -Your body needs water-it’s 60 percent water. But if you don’t drink enough, your body thinks it’s in danger and tries to hold onto all the water it can get. The water is stored between the cells and shows up as extra weight. Your feet, legs and hands may even swell up. When your body gets enough water, the stored water is released.

• You need water for your body to burn fat. Without water, your kidneys can’t do their job properly and your liver must pitch in to help. While it’s helping the kidneys, your liver can’t burn as much fat, so some of the fat that would normally be used as fuel gets stored in your body instead. Drinking more water lets the liver get back to its own job-turning fat into fuel.

• The more water you drink, the less you’ll eat. Water is a natural appetite suppressant. A glass of water before eating will help you feel full and eat less. You’ll also get rid of extra salt by drinking water (salt can cause the body to hold onto water).

• Drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water every day. If you’re overweight, drink an additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight. Cool or cold water is best. It’s absorbed faster and cold water may burn more calories. And don’t drink cola, Mountain Dew or anything with caffeine in it. Caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to lose water.

Your urine will be a clear color when you drink enough water. And eventually, your body will adjust to more water so you won’t be constantly running to the restroom. The fact sheet, “Water Will Help You Lose Weight,” is available through the University of Minnesota Extension Service water quality program’s Web site, (CFM)

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