TikTok Trend Truth or Trash: Does Adding Salt to Water for Hydration Actually Work?


Written by:

You might have seen the TikTok videos of people adding salt to water for hydration. But what does drinking salt water do? Does sodium help with hydration? We’re here to break down if you should add salt to your water — spoiler alert: probably not — and why you would even want to.

Sodium, the more formal name for salt, is an electrolyte. It helps regulate the amount of water in your body and keeps your muscles and nerves working properly.

If you sweat a lot, do endurance exercise or don’t drink enough when it’s hot out, you might end up with an electrolyte imbalance. A pinch of salt in water can replenish lost electrolytes and keep you hydrated.

But before you raid the kitchen cupboards, know that most of us get all the electrolytes we need from our daily diets. So, adding salt to your water could lead to you consuming too much sodium.

Below, we share the pros and cons of adding salt to your water and whether it could benefit you.

Benefits of Adding Salt to Drinking Water

So, what does adding salt to water do? Because — let’s face it — it doesn’t improve the taste.

It mainly helps replenish lost electrolytes.

You lose electrolytes in your breath, urine and sweat. Most of the time, you naturally replenish those electrolytes in your diet, but sometimes that’s not enough.

Athletes exercising in hot weather can lose between 3,500 to 7,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily. 

Even more shocking? An amateur runner running a marathon in about four hours can lose a whopping 14,000 mg of salt during the race.

That’s a lot of salty water.

Sea salt contains sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium — all essential electrolytes — so adding some to tap water can top up your electrolyte levels. This can help you recover and avoid electrolyte imbalances.

But you don’t need to be running marathons to lose a lot of electrolytes.

You can develop an electrolyte imbalance if you:

  • Sweat a lot

  • Have severe vomiting or diarrhea

  • Drink too little water, especially in hot weather or when doing intense exercise

  • Drink too much water

  • Have heart, liver or kidney problems

  • Take certain medications

While salt for electrolytes might be a good option when you need help with rehydration, it isn’t your only option. Check out our guide on how to add electrolytes to water with natural options like lemon and strawberries.

Risks of Adding Salt to Drinking Water

Adding a pinch of salt to a glass of water sounds innocent enough, but there are some downsides.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should consume less than 2,300mg of sodium daily. That’s equivalent to about one teaspoon of table salt.

But 89 percent of adults get more sodium than this each day from their diets.

So, adding salt to your water — especially if you add it to every glass — may lead to you consuming far too much sodium.

Too much sodium can lead to:

  • High blood pressure

  • Stroke

  • Heart disease

Beyond the health risks, adding salt to water for hydration may not always be effective.

(RelatedAlcohol and Anxiety: Can Alcohol Cause Anxiety?)

Should I Add Salt to My Water?

We’ll cut to the chase: most people shouldn’t add salt to their water.

You probably get all the electrolytes you need from your daily diet and don’t need any extra salt to make it happen.

You may benefit from adding salt to water if you:

  • Exercise for more than an hour

  • Exercise in very hot temperatures or at high altitudes

  • Have been sweating a lot

  • Have had diarrhea recently

  • Do manual labor in hot weather

There are no guidelines for how much salt to add to water, but thankfully, you don’t need to fill up your whole water bottle with salt. *Bleugh* Just one pinch may be enough.

Just remember to stay hydrated with plain ol’ water even if you don’t feel the need to add salt.

Despite the common eight-glasses-a-day rule, there are actually no set guidelines for how much water you should drink. It varies depending on how much physical activity you do, your climate and how much water you get from food.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, women should aim for about 91 ounces of water a day, and men should aim for 125 ounces a day. That includes water from both food and drinks.

Another great reason to make sure you’re getting enough water? While it’s unclear if adding salt to your water could aid weight loss, drinking “regular” water can help you lose weight.

Water helps:

  • Suppress your appetite

  • Stimulate your metabolism

  • Promote lipolysis (the breakdown of fat for energy)

  • You consume fewer calories from other beverages

  • You stay hydrated during exercise — whether that’s a marathon or a walk

(Related7 Tips to Manage Stress Eating)

Adding Salt to Water for Hydration: Summing It Up

If you’ve never tried it, adding salt to water can sound a bit iffy. After all, you’ve probably heard you should avoid getting too much salt, so how does salt hydrate you? Well, there are some benefits of adding salt to water.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • We all need sodium. Sodium helps you maintain an ideal fluid balance in your body, which keeps you hydrated and healthy. You lose a lot of sodium when you sweat a lot, work out for long periods or have diarrhea.

  • Some people should add salt to water. The benefits of drinking salt water include replacing lost electrolytes and staying hydrated. So, adding salt for hydration can be helpful in some cases, like if you do endurance exercise. It’s unclear how much salt is needed in water for hydration, but a pinch is probably enough. Beyond salt, consider sports drinks, coconut water and watermelon for electrolytes.

  • You don’t need to drink salty water every day. Most of us get enough sodium to replenish lost electrolytes from our diets. Putting a small amount of salt in your water can add up and cause your salt intake to be too high. High sodium levels can lead to health issues.

If you’re looking into weight loss, putting salt in water probably isn’t the way to go. Drinking enough water in general is, though.

Beyond staying hydrated, opt for nutritious foods — including protein and healthy snacks — incorporate more steps and general movement into your day and get enough sleep.

This article originally appeared on Forhers.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

More from MediaFeed:

5 Ways Drinking Water May Help You Lose Weight

5 Ways Drinking Water May Help You Lose Weight

Does drinking water help you lose weight? Believe it or not, it can. While this might sound too good to be true, there’s some solid science behind it.

But it’s not quite as simple as downing a glass of water or two. 

Read on to learn how drinking water can help you lose weight, when you should drink it and how much water you should be aiming for.


Yes, drinking water can help you lose weight. Research shows it can suppress appetite, stimulate metabolism, boost fat oxidation, reduce liquid calories and make exercising easier.

2014 study had 50 female participants with overweight drink roughly 51 ounces on top of their usual daily water intake. This was divided into about 17 ounces a half-hour before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Participants drank the extra water for eight weeks.

At the end of the experiment, their body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat and appetite had all decreased.

More recent research has had similar findings. A 2022 review of studies concluded that “preloading water” — drinking water before meals — can promote weight loss.

More specifically, drinking about 17 ounces before sitting down to eat may improve weight loss by two to five pounds over three months. Not bad for the humble glass of water.

So, does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight? It looks like it can!

But why does water help you lose weight, and how much water do you need to drink to lose weight? Read on for answers.

(Related:Ozempic Vs. Metformin)

:JLco – Julia Amaral/istockphoto

It’s clear that drinking more water can lead to weight loss. But how does water help you lose weight, exactly? It works in a handful of ways.


Our brains are clever, complex things, but they often mix up the signals for thirst and hunger. When drinking more water, you’re less likely to feel “hunger” that’s actually just dehydration.

Water may also impact hunger hormones, including:

  • Ghrelin. This is the hormone that signals hunger to the brain.

  • Leptin. Leptin is an appetite-suppressing hormone.

  • Insulin. When insulin is imbalanced, you might feel hungry.

  • Cholecystokinin. This hormone stimulates the digestion of protein and fat. 

  • Glucagon-like peptide-1. Also called GLP-1, this hormone contributes to feeling full. 

In simple terms, drinking more water can suppress appetite while helping you feel fuller and more satisfied at meal times. This can lead to eating less, promoting weight loss.

For example, a 2021 study on people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking about 34 ounces of water a day before meals led to eating fewer calories and less fat. Over eight weeks, this resulted in a lower BMI, a smaller waist circumference and greater weight loss compared to the control group who didn’t drink any water before meals.

Drinking water also seemed to reduce levels of copeptin, a protein that — in high levels — is linked to a larger waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, high BMI and obesity.

dragana991 / istockphoto

Does water increase metabolism? Again, it sounds like wishful thinking, but the science is there.

Water may boost thermogenesis (heat production) in the body. This, in turn, increases your metabolic rate, providing you with more energy to move and burn off excess weight.

A small 2003 study with 14 participants found drinking around 17 ounces of water increased metabolic rate by 30 percent. The effect started kicking in 10 minutes after drinking water and reached its peak in 30 to 40 minutes.

In absolute terms, the number of calories burned by doing this wasn’t too great, but on a weight loss journey, every bit can matter. Drinking colder water, it seems, burns more calories, because of the energy that needs to go into heating the water up.


Water may increase the rate of lipolysis — the breakdown of fat for energy in your body. 

It becomes easier for your body to break down the fat in free fatty acids and transport it into mitochondria, which turn nutrients into energy in your cells. This means drinking water may increase fat oxidation, when your body burns fat for fuel.


This one’s pretty straightforward. When you’re drinking water, you’re not drinking soft drinks, sugar-laden fruit juices or alcoholic beverages that can contribute to weight gain. 

Swapping your usual lunchtime Coke and after-dinner beer for a glass of water is a simple change that cuts calories before you even think about overhauling your diet.

Plus, if you stay hydrated with zero-calorie water, you’re less likely to reach for a high-calorie, sugary drink to quench your thirst.

(Related: Are Diabetes Drugs Safe for Weight Loss?)

:Miljan Živković/istockphoto

You might be upping your physical activity if you’re trying to shed a few pounds. Drinking water can help make this lifestyle change easier. 

Even mild dehydration can lead to: 

  • Reduced endurance 

  • Reduced motivation 

  • Increased fatigue

  • Increased perceived effort — your workouts feel harder 

Drinking enough water can reverse these effects and reduce the oxidative stress that exercise can cause.

When working up a sweat, you’ll lose more water than usual. So it’s even more important to keep a water bottle nearby and make sure you’re sippin’ on it throughout your workout.


You may have heard you should aim for eight glasses of water a day for optimal health. But there’s actually no hard-and-fast rule about how much water you should drink — and that’s even more true when it comes to water for weight loss.  

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends about 91 ounces of water a day for women and 125 ounces for men. However, this is total fluid intake from food and drinks — not just glasses of water alone. 

Also, it’s not the same for everyone. How much water you need to lose weight depends on factors like your daily activity levels and how hot it is where you live.

And that’s just thinking about water for general health and well-being. How much water you should drink to lose weight might be whatever’s necessary to suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake — or it could all be about timing (i.e., upping your water intake before meals).

More research is needed on that front. 

For now, we say don’t worry too much about how much water a day for weight loss is best. Our advice is to drink when you feel thirsty, check that your pee is clear or light yellow (dark yellow signals dehydration) and consider drinking a little extra before meals to see if it affects your hunger and meal satisfaction.

Liudmila Chernetska/iStock

There’s no one best time to drink water for weight loss. That said, research suggests that drinking water before meals could help you eat fewer calories by:  

  • Reducing hunger

  • Increasing satiety (feeling full)

Try drinking 17 ounces — about a pint glass — of water 30 minutes before meals.

2010 study compared eating a low-calorie diet and drinking 17 ounces of water before meals to eating just a low-calorie diet alone. Participants who drank extra water lost over four pounds more than the other group. This resulted in a 44 percent greater decline in weight over the 12-week study.

Outside of meal times, drink plenty of water throughout the day. And avoid waiting until just before bed to get in your daily water intake — otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up for many middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.


Now that we’ve established that drinking more water could help you lose weight, it’s time to start drinking up.

Here are our tips to increase your water intake: 

  • Carry a water bottle with you everywhere — bonus points if it’s a reusable bottle you enjoy using.

  • Add a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber to your water if you don’t like the taste of it plain.

  • Drink water with meals — make it a non-negotiable on your dinner table. 

  • Freeze bottles of water or add ice cubes to your glass to enjoy cold water. 

  • Have a glass or bottle of water on your desk, next to the couch, in your gym bag, etc. Sometimes, you just need the visual cue to drink up.

  • Set reminders on your phone, download a water-drinking app (yep, those exist) or leave a Post-It note on your bathroom mirror. 

Can you lose weight by drinking water? Sure. But water is just one piece of the weight loss puzzle.

Healthy diet, exercise, stress management and adequate sleep are all key to sustainable weight loss. If you decide to up your water intake, don’t forget about the basics. 

If you’re looking to lose weight, here’s what you can try alongside drinking more water: 

  • Reducing calories that come from fats and sugars

  • Increasing fruits and veggies

  • Eating a variety of lean protein

  • Getting at least seven hours of shut-eye a night

  • Getting two and a half hours of exercise throughout the week (or about a half-hour five days a week)

Chat with a healthcare professional for more personalized advice on your weight loss goals. Drinking water may be part of the strategy, but a meal plan, exercise routine, behavioral change tools or weight loss medication could also be useful.


Does drinking more water help you lose weight? As it turns out, yes, it can. But weight loss isn’t the only benefit of drinking more water. 

Water can help boost: 

  • Mental performance and energy. When dehydrated, you may find it harder to concentrate and stay alert. Your short-term memory could take a hit too.

  • Physical performance. Dehydration can lead to reduced endurance, fatigue and increased perceived effort — not what you want when working out.

  • Overall health and wellness. Adequate hydration can reduce your chances of kidney stones, constipation, exercise asthma, urinary tract infections (UTIs), high blood pressure and possibly fatal coronary heart disease. It might also lower your risk of developing a headache. Water can even help your hair grow.


The rumors are true: Drinking water can help you lose weight.

Here’s what you need to know:  

  • Drinking water has multiple benefits. It can reduce hunger, boost metabolism and increase fat oxidation while helping you stick to a workout plan. You might find you’re eating (and drinking) fewer calories when you start upping your water intake.

  • Drinking water before meals could help you eat less. A rigid water-consumption schedule may not be necessary. Still, you might try a glass or two about 30 minutes before meals. It could suppress your appetite, help you avoid overeating and make you feel more satisfied.

  • Don’t forget other essential factors for weight loss. If you’re drinking water to lose weight, don’t neglect diet, exercise, stress management and sleep. Weight loss often requires a multi-pronged approach. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a medical professional, dietitian or behavioral therapist for support and guidance.

It seems that good ol’ H2O can help you on your weight loss journey, but other weight loss treatments are out there. We recommend exploring your options to see what techniques might work and following the advice of a healthcare professional.

This article originally appeared on Hers.comand was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.



Featured Image Credit: Yaroslav Olieinikov/Istockphoto.