The belief that you can drink water for weight loss is not a new phenomenon.
We explore a few of the ways drinking water could cause weight loss.
1. Drinking Water May Boost Your Calorie Expenditure
We take a look at a few studies below that studied the effects of drinking water on metabolism. Almost all the studies involve drinking about a single 500 mg serving of water.
Another study found that drinking cold water produced a 25% rise in the amount of energy burned when resting (g).
More than 1 liter
A different study looked at the effects of drinking about 1 liter of water a day. Researchers found that a group of overweight women who increased their daily water intake to this level lost an extra two kilograms of weight in one year (h).
We can say with a high degree of certainty that drinking water was the likely cause of the women’s weight loss because they made no lifestyle changes in addition to simply drinking more water.
These studies suggest that drinking just 500 mg of water a day can result in the body burning an extra 23 calories a day. Therefore, drinking 500 mg of water a day can cause you to lose weight (about two kilograms per year).
Researchers have also studied the effects of drinking about 1 to 1.5 liters of water a day. They discovered that a group of overweight people experienced significant weight loss, a reduction in their waistline and body mass index (BMI) (i, j, k).
Studies show that you burn even more calories by drinking cold water. The body expends a small amount of energy to raise the temperature of the water up to body temperature.
Conclusion: Studies show that drinking just 500 mg of water could make you expend more calories while resting than you’d normally do. Other studies suggest this could cause a small weight loss over time.
2. Drink Water to Help Suppress Appetite
There are claims that you could suppress your appetite by drinking water shortly before meals.
A study involving the elderly population seem to corroborate this claim (l).
One study found that overweight adults lost about 45% more weight by drinking more water before meals compared to those who did not (o).
A different study indicates that you may eat fewer calories if you drink water before your meals (p).
However, researchers only achieved these results in middle-aged and seniors. They’ve not been able to replicate these impressive effects in younger people.
Conclusion: Studies show that you can drink water to lose weight. Research indicates that elderly and middle-aged people who drink water before meals may eat fewer calories and suppress their appetite, which may lead to weight loss.
3. It May Help You Eat Fewer Calories and Prevent Weight Gain
When you drink water, it can help reduce your calorie intake.
On average, we tend to gain approximately 3 pounds of weight every four years. Studies indicate that drinking more water could prevent this weight gain (v).
According to experts, you may reduce your weight gain by 0.3 pounds if you drink an extra 1 cup of water a day. Also, you may reduce your weight gain by 1.1 pounds if you drink a cup of water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks.
One study looked at the impact of installing water fountains and teaching pupils about water consumption on the rate of obesity. Researchers found that there was a 30% fall in the risk of obesity in schools that participated in the study (z).
Conclusion: You may lower your calorie intake and reduce the risk of gaining weight in the long term if you drink water to lose weight.
How much water Should You Drink to Lose Weight?
We’ve already covered this topic in depth in our article on how much water to drink to lose weight.
But how much do you need to drink to maintain optimal health? Most experts recommend that you should drink about 2 liters (approximately 8 glasses) of water a day.
I wish I could tell you that his widely-suggested intake is based on scientific studies, but it is not. This figure was based on the amount of fluids (including other beverages like coffee and tea) that most people consume in a day.
The amount of water you need to drink a day depends on several factors (a1).
These factors include climate conditions, activity level and the kind of foods you eat. If you live in a hot and humid environment, you may sweat a lot, which makes you lose a lot of water. You’ll need to drink more water than someone who lives in a climate that doesn’t make them sweat.
Some foods also have a diuretic effect, making you pass urine more frequently. You’ll also need to drink more water if you eat such foods.
You may also need to drink more water if you are a member of the elderly population or a breastfeeding mom (b1).
Water from other sources
Many people wrongly believe that the recommended intake of water refers to just pure water. This recommendation also covers the water you get from other beverages like coffee, tea, fruit juice and soda drinks.
You even get some amount of water from the whole fruits and vegetables you eat.
A good way to keep your water intake optimal is to listen to your body’s thirst mechanism. Drink water when you feel thirsty.
In general, you should drink about one to two liters of water a day to help you lose weight.
Most experts recommend drinking at least 1 to 2 liters (34 to 67 fluid ounces or 4 to 8 glasses) of water a day.
However, these are only guidelines. Some people will need to drink more than this while others may drink less.
Also, you spread your water intake throughout the day. Drinking too much water at once could lead to water toxicity, which could be fatal.
Conclusion: The amount of water you should drink a day depends on many factors. However, most experts suggest drinking 8 glasses or 2 liters of water each day. In the end, some people will need to drink more and some will need less.
The research suggests that you can drink water to lose weight, but don’t expect any significant weight loss overnight.
Water contains zero calories, can help you burn more calories, and may help suppress appetite.
The effects of water on weight loss become more pronounced when you replace sugary beverages and other drinks with water.
As mentioned earlier, don’t expect water to cause any significant weight loss, even in the long-term. It may be more beneficial for preventing weight gain than causing weight loss.
But given that weight is an issue in our societies today, anything that can contribute to weight loss helps.
Drinking water to lose weight should be part of a grand weight loss plan and not a stand-alone tool.
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