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The Water Experiment

Posted by on Jul 20, 2011

Many of the regular readers of this blog know I’m diabetic. What a lot of folks don’t really know is that I run a group on Facebook for the support of Type 2 diabetics, which used to be called Adult Onset. It’s not called that anymore because unfortunately many kids that aren’t born diabetic are going that way as obesity figures around the world are increasing.

Last Sunday myself and another participant in the group decided we were going to try an experiment. The experiment was the brainchild of another member of the group who I’m not sure is diabetic or not, but he’s one of those health foods guys who loves, well, weird foods; yeah, I called it out. lol Anyway, he stated that if we drank only water for a week and didn’t change any of our other habits that we’d lose our cravings for sweets and desserts. He also said we could still eat whatever we wanted to, including desserts, but that by the end of the week we wouldn’t be craving it anymore.

By the way, to flesh this out, he said that diet sodas and any drinks with artificial sweeteners make us crave desserts because they make us think we’re having sugar without having sugar and suddenly our bodies want real sugar. I’m not really sure I go along with this theory, though I’d read it somewhere else, as studies are conflicting about it; aren’t studies always conflicting?

Y’all know I love my sweets. I’ve talked about my chocolate and love for my Doubletree cookies and peanut butter desserts and such. And of course I’ve talked about my love for cake and the way I must eat it properly.

I also love my diet drinks. Unlike a lot of people, I’ve always liked diet soda, except for Tab; did anyone besides Bobcat Goldthwait really like Tab? The day I was diagnosed as a diabetic I gave up regular soda and started drinking diet soda and other non-sugar drinks and never looked backwards except for the super-very-occasional grape soda; no one’s ever made a good diet grape soda.

It is with this in mind, as well as a mindset that’s always seen certain drinks going with certain foods, that I entered into this experiment. I’m always up for a good experiment as you know.

The first day went well. I actually like water, as cold as possible mind you, and I transitioned into it well. After all, like much of the rest of the country it’s been pretty hot here, and very cold water felt right.

The second day I ran into my first challenge, and it wasn’t a dessert craving but a mismatch of food and drink. I had a salad, and in my mind, salad and salad dressing and water don’t mix. I absolutely hated my salad so I only ate a little bit of it. However, though I always prefer diet soda with my pizza, that went fine. I still had dessert, but I wasn’t craving it.

Truthfully, that’s how the pattern went for the next three days. I was drinking a lot of water because I drink lots of liquids anyway. The guy who came up with the challenge, named Dave, started wondering if I was drinking too much water. You know this deal about drinking 64 ounces of water a day, or at least consuming that much because we get water from some of our foods? Phooey! I drink close to 128 oz with each meal, no matter what I’m drinking, and then I’m a casual drinker during the rest of my day. I always have been, even when I was a kid. He started worrying that I was washing nutrients out of my body and that it might affect the experiment. Hey, the experiment said drink water, not how much, so it was what it was.

The sixth day was problematic, and I know it was really mental. I had my first true dessert craving in a week and I knew what I wanted; yeah, that’s it to the left. lol I was also starting to really want to get done with the water thing, and I determined that I wasn’t going to fully hold myself to it on the seventh day. After all, what would one more day change things anyway, right?

On day seven I drank water up until around 7PM, when I ordered Chinese food. I broke down at that point and had 4 cans of Diet Pepsi Vanilla that my friend Scott had brought me; yeah, that was nice, and it totally enhanced my food. For me, the experiment was over, and I quit with only 5 hours to go. Earlier in the day I went to an outdoor tweetup with the heat around 90° and thus water was feeling really good because it was ice cold.

How did the experiment go overall? Well, not totally according to plan.

One, I really did only have cravings on one day, but I also knew I could eat dessert whenever I wanted so I’m not sure if my feelings were muted because of that.

Two, I gained 4 pounds, and I’m not quite sure how that happened. I didn’t work out all week, though, because of injuries I suffered the day the experiment started during a nature walk I partook of.

Three, I almost started to hate water, and that’s not good. At this point I’ve struck a nice balance between my diet soda, Wylers drink mix and water that I can live with. And I’m going back to the gym, having healed sufficiently to work out again. I need to drop what I gained and then drop even more.

Believe it or not we’re going to try the experiment again next week starting Sunday, but we’ll change up some of the parameters. One of those will be no dessert for 5 days; yeah, that’s all I’m promising for now. Another will be certain foods that we promise to give up; no potatoes, grits (that one’s for me), rice or pasta. I don’t have a problem with the pasta but rice… ugh. And for the 5 days no regular wheat, only whole wheat bread; there goes my favorite bread. We’re still debating on the Ritz crackers with peanut butter for my evening snack; I might lose that one as well, which means I’ll have to get creative on what I can snack on.

I’m wondering what Evelyn is going to have to say about this one; heck, I’m wondering what the rest of you think about experimenting like this and if any of you want to try this experiment with Greg and I; Greg’s the other guy who went along with me on this journey. Any takers?

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I consider myself lucky, I never really “crave” any dessert. Maybe I can crave chicken with curry, or onion soup (I know, I am weird), but desserts, nah. And I dislike soda too, I hope you don’t think I am an alien.
Now we talk about beer, ok one beer with pizza isn’t bad at all. Or red wine with roasted meat. If the evening is right, relaxing with a half empty glass of Lagavulin has its advantages. Yeah I guess I got a weakness too after all.

July 20th, 2011 | 12:11 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Gabriele, you have other cravings; actually so do I. But eventually most of my cravings come back to wanting something sweet and tasty. When I get those other cravings… well, let’s just say it gets ugly. lol

July 20th, 2011 | 2:12 PM

Okay Mitch I can definitely pipe in on this one.

It’s been 23 years now but when I first got married my husband was pretty overweight and I was a little but not much. So we went to weight watchers. I was always a diet coke drinker so when I found out how much sodium was in a soda, I stopped that day. The very first week I dropped 9 pounds and have never looked back. It’s been 23 years and all I drink is water. I don’t even drink coffee or tea, just water. I can also tell you that I still have cravings for sweets. Not all the time but I think that every once in awhile your body just goes through that phase and wants what it wants. I also give into it as well because I don’t eat a lot of junk which is how I keep my weight down.

So there is my take on that experiment. I just think everyone is different and I can vouch that “Dave” might think that’s the case but I’m living proof that it’s not.

Have fun with this one again.


July 20th, 2011 | 2:04 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Adrienne, I’m glad to get your perspective on this one. I’m still trying to figure out how I gained weight while only drinking water, especially when not all foods were all that appealing to me. As I said I mainly like Wylers, but I keep hearing people talk about all the sodium in diet soda and depending on which brand I buy it’s either super low or doesn’t have any sodium in it at all. Still, it didn’t totally kill my want or need for desserts so in that respect it didn’t quite work, at least not on its own.

July 20th, 2011 | 2:16 PM

Have a look at the amount of salt or sodium that’s in the things you eat, regardless of what it is. If you take in a lot of it, then you’ll probably get water retention from the fluid you take in not being able to pass out of your body properly. Usually to do with an imbalance of sodium to potassium. Anyway, could be something like that. The ‘weight’ (which if I’m right is just fluids) will go.

Years ago – in the 80s or 90s (I’ve actually forgotten when, now!) when I stopped smoking, I drank a lot of water as I had such cravings I needed something while I was working on the computer. So I just drank and drank and drank water. These days I only drink large quantities of water on its own if I’m travelling in the car. And I only drink one brand of still mineral water. I’m fussy like that, too! 😉
Anyway, good luck with phase two of your experiment!

July 20th, 2011 | 6:33 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Val, and that’s a good point about the salt. I don’t eat as much salt as I used to, but I had this large bag of Doritos and I certainly ate that. And some other salty foods when I went out as well, and of course Chinese food is almost always salty as well. Hmmm, that’s an interesting connection; I’ll have to consider that more often.

July 20th, 2011 | 8:35 PM

Hey, Mitch,
well,to be honest, I have cravings right now for some apple pie with cinnamon. I tend to have crazy cravings during my pregnancy, but I can allow it as I am not diabetic (I recently went for a checkup to confirm it). I enjoy sweets and can’t understand or picture myself trying to get rid of them or minimize the consumation of it. And in addition, I don’t have any weight problems (yes, some people really hate me for that). For my niece it is enough to eat one candy and it is already stuck on her, increasing her weight. A friend of mine told me he thinks I am keeping my weight because I eat slow and not too much at once…many would confirm that is the secret of the right nutrition. That way you also do not crave for particular food as you constantly have some in your stomach, only in smaller portions (which doesn’t mean I gave up from my apple pie with cinnanmon as I am writing this). Dave has some strange methods-drinking too much water? I don’t think you can ever drink too much of it, our body is made 80 percent of water (or something like that). The reason why you felt sick from water could be because you drank tap water, maybe? If you drink, then make sure you are drinking quality, always mineral, without gas, as tap water can give you kidney stones.
I wish a lot of success to you and Greg on your next experiment.

July 20th, 2011 | 9:17 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Kristina. Actually I didn’t feel sick from water; I got sick and tired of drinking it. I like a little bit of variety in what I drink but I’m also not someone that likes a lot of things. So I just didn’t want to drink water anymore, but of course had to finish the experiment.

Actually I know two things to do to start losing weight. One is eat multiple mini meals; the other is to slow down and concentrate on eating, neither of which I do. But this was the first time someone had come along with a theory on how to remove sugar cravings other than those people who say “just stop eating them”. Yeah, like that works for any other craving on the planet. lol

July 21st, 2011 | 2:42 PM

Well, I am not sure the method will work without a bit of twist. Generally cravings are related with signals to brain that something is missing. Not only related to diabetes, but related to any kind of diet. Sometimes of course brain is sending signals even for dangerous things, for example smoking or drinking. Drinking plenty of water can only do good for body, if not anything else will improve balance and kick a lot of toxins out of the body, the one that can be kicked, free radicals will stay there.

July 20th, 2011 | 10:29 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I’m not really sure what the full results were of the experiment. I mean, Greg and I had some different things happen and some similar. Odd as it sounds to me I’ve lost all the weight I gained on the experiment without exercising once. I did my first bit of exercising today and weighed myself before I left home and found that I’d dropped the rest of the weight. Therefore I think Val and another friend of mine might have been onto something with the salt helping me retain water, which of course puts on weight.

July 21st, 2011 | 2:44 PM

Adding exercise in experiment is a good idea which will also increase water consumption and make it closer to recommended daily “doze”. Salt is critical, not just because it will keep the water level in body, but also for hormonal balance. I think a closer look of the rest of the diet may be also important. I am not sure, as you mentioned just water, but do you drink coffee, which will have negative effect I guess.

July 22nd, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I don’t drink coffee. As I said, I keep things fairly close to the vest when it comes to what I will eat or drink, desserts notwithstanding. If we do the next stage of the experiment we will make some modifications to it. However, we had to do the first experiment first based on its own parameters.

July 22nd, 2011 | 4:26 PM

Hm, my opinion is to go and ask your doctor’s advice before trying such a thing. Many things can go wrong, because we really don’t know how our body reacts to these kind of challenges. We may thing that we know our body, but most of the time we get surprising reactions. Keep it healthy!

July 21st, 2011 | 4:57 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Mia, what’s funny is that women are always trying to send guys to the doctor and we hardly ever go. They always have that warning on TV about checking with your doctor before you do this or that, but truthfully that’s only for people that have serious medical issues. Okay, diabetes is kind of considered a serious medical issue but I have no symptoms from it yet, and one would think water would be healthy.

July 21st, 2011 | 2:46 PM

I picked a bad week to drop of a case of one of your favorite diet sodas. 🙂 As for conflicting studies, see who funded them and you’ll see the real conflicts. LOL

Good luck! I hear you about drinking water all the time. It does get old. I’ll be drinking a lot of it over the next few days as I will be out in the heat all weekend. I will mix it up with some Gatoraid which only tastes good to me when I body needs it.

July 21st, 2011 | 8:46 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Man, I don’t envy you being out in that sun; I’m glad we decided against the baseball game today (for the rest of you it could possibly hit 100° here today; ouch!). And you brought the soda on the next to last day of the experiment so it was all good. You were also right about one other thing; some of those cans aren’t quite filled! lol

July 21st, 2011 | 2:49 PM

Hey Mitch,

This is very interesting! I have never heard of water helping with the sugar cravings, but it could possibly work. Well, maybe I have..just remembered that I have a book about water being a cure for many diseases.

I use to have sugar cravings very bad, but when I started eating more leafy greens, (I know you don’t want to hear this) my cravings went away.

It sounds like you really enjoy your desserts. 🙂

I think what you and the group are doing is very good. Hang in there!

What does Evelyn think? I think it is a good thing, but lay off the diet sodas. Well, try cutting back on those, if you can.

Okay, I’m done!

July 22nd, 2011 | 12:43 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Evelyn, I don’t drink a lot of diet soda unless I’m at an event. I do drink a lot of Wyler’s drink mix, though, and I’m thinking it’s probably sweetened the same way. I think I have to change the way I eat more than the foods I eat, but I could be wrong about that in some degree. I know I have my sugar cravings, but I also know that having cake or cookies is still way better than eating pasta or sometimes rice, but pasta definitely. Then there’s the thing about HFCS, wheat bread vs whole wheat, etc. Frankly, at a certain point I just want to turn off the noise.

But the water experiment was simple, which is why we gave it a shot. And the results… well, I expected what I got for the most part, Greg didn’t quite expect it, and earlier this morning I weighed myself and I have lost one pound extra from the 4 pounds I gained while on the water only thing. I’m not sure what that tells me but it is what it is, right? 🙂

July 22nd, 2011 | 4:31 PM

Yes Mitch I like Tab and still occasionally buy it. I too am a soda drinker, so when I drink water I go for bubbly water. I find the orange flavored soda water has enough flavor to satisfy me.

I recently heard that despite the fact that all diets seem to say drink plenty of water, that there is no research showing that drinking a lot of water helps you lose weight.

July 24th, 2011 | 5:49 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s what I heard Ned. Actually, I heard that most of us get close to enough water in our foods to bypass that extra 64 ounces of water some folks recommend. I think they recommend it to make us feel full so we won’t eat as much. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. 🙂

July 25th, 2011 | 2:23 AM

I know how hard it is to be diabetic because both of my grandparents has it and we are cautious with everything they eat. However, both of them has this sweet tooth, especially my grandpa who is so adamant to get what he wants so we give him a small part of a cake or anything, while with my grandma, when she like soda, we usually put a water on it to take away its sweetness. Is it alright add water on it, or just avoid the soda and give them an alternative one?
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September 28th, 2011 | 2:45 AM

Not totally sure of your question Andy but I will say that “experts” believe soda is bad because it tastes sweet, and thus stimulates us to want to eat more. That’s why I tried the water experiment, to see if it held true for me.

September 28th, 2011 | 9:36 AM