By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
Dehydration can feel like hunger
Historically, famine was precipitated by drought. We don't just run out of food. Crops and animals just don't die off. They run out of water first.
Our bodies don't want to die, we have evolved to be as resilient, adaptable, and efficient as possible. That's what evolution does, it tries to make things better at surviving. When food runs out, our body gets very good at storing fat, living off reserves, and using less energy.
When there is food, we are very good at storing that food as fuel for later (fat) so when it runs out again, we have reserves. This is very stressful and taxing on our bodies (it wrecks our hormones and metabolism) but it sure beats dying.
Our bodies know when famine is about to happen, because water will become scarce first. When we don't stay hydrated, we easily mistake thirst for hunger.
It's why after a late night of drinking, we get the munchies. You probably ate dinner, snacked, and your stomach is full of other things such as alcohol (which is very fast storing).
There is no room for food. But you're dehydrated and your body can't tell the difference.
Dehydration will also make your body want to gain weight to prepare for famine. There is also water in food, your body knows that and will want to eat food just for the added hydration.
There is also such a thing as drinking too much water. Like anything, you can over do it. This is also contraindicated for people with kidney issues, or endurance athletes.
Not staying hydrated will not only make you eat more, it'll also likely make your body store more food as fat. But don't over do it.
Dehydrate a muscle as little as 3% and it will lose 10% of it's strength and 8% of it's speed. Concentration will become difficult. Performance less than optimal.
By the time you feel thirsty you may be long since dehydrated. The only thing an athlete needs more than water is oxygen. Something our bodies can't can't utilize without water.
Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.