Many adults around the country are trying everything they can to lose weight, but there’s an often overlooked step many don’t take – drinking water. Adults who want to lose weight should increase their water intake to help quicken the process and see better results. Here’s a guide to the how and why of drinking water to lose weight.
Can Water Help You Burn More Calories?
Many studies have been conducted to try and understand the effects drinking water can have on the body and weight loss. Many experts have linked drinking water to increasing resting energy expenditure. Resting energy expenditure is the number of calories burned when at rest. Increasing this metric helps adults lose weight by burning calories while not actively exercising. In adults, drinking just one serving of water, only 0.5 liters (about 17 oz), was shown to increase resting energy expenditure by 24% to 30% within ten minutes and the effect lasted for at least one hour (1).
Another study in obese children showed a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure after they drank water (2). In women, a year long study showed a 4.4-pound improvement in weight loss by maintaining just one liter (about 34 oz) of water per day; the women made no lifestyle changes, just increased their water intake (3). On top of these studies, researchers have found that drinking just 0.5 liters (about 17 oz) of water results in an extra twenty-three calories burned. Over the course of the year, this translates to seventeen-thousand calories, or 4.4 pounds of fat (4).
Can Drinking Before Eating Decrease Your Appetite?
Many people frequently claim that drinking water before a meal will reduce appetite. Scientific studies have verified this claim, but the results are most prominent in middle-aged and older adults. Studies of older adults have shown that drinking water before each meal may increase weight loss by 4 pounds or more. In addition, obese participants in one study who drank water before each meal lost 44% more weight than the control group, who drank no water before meals (5).
Another study showed that drinking water before breakfast decreased calories consumed by 13% (6). Though these studies are helpful and demonstrate the power of drinking water, the results were only found in middle-aged and older adults. Young people showed far less benefit when drinking water before meals.
Increased Water Intake Decreases Calories Consumed and Weight Gained
Water is calorie free, meaning if an adult drinks water to cushion their appetite, there’s no increase in calories associated with the extra contentment. Drinking water frequently will domino into other health benefits, as those who drink water usually choose it over another beverage, cutting down on calories and sugar found in most sodas and juices. Those who drink water daily have up to a 9% decrease in caloric intake, which in turn helps to prevent or reduce long-term weight gain.
The average person gains about three pounds every four years, but this amount can be easily reduced by adding one cup of water to your daily intake or replacing unhealthy beverages with glasses of water. The former method has been shown to decrease annual weight gain by .23 pounds and the latter will reduce the four-year average by about one pound, perhaps more depending on what types of beverages the participant usually drinks. A recent study targeting childhood obesity installed water fountains in seventeen schools and provided lessons about proper water intake (7). These steps reduced the risk of obesity by a staggering 31% on average (7).
What’s a Healthy Amount of Water to Consume?
At this point, the only question left is how much water should be consumed on the daily to benefit your weight loss. This is a tricky question to answer. Many sources recommend drinking eight, 8-oz glasses of water per day, but this number will by no means work for everyone. The amount of water you should drink is heavily dependent on the individual’s size and activity level. For instance, those who exercise regularly or are of a bigger height and build, will need to intake a significantly greater amount of water than those who are inactive or of average or smaller height and weight. The elderly and mothers who are breastfeeding will also need more water than the average individual.
At the very least, every individual should drink when thirsty and drink enough to quench their thirst. Those who are frequently irritable or have tension headaches in heated parts of the day should also drink more, as they may be dehydrated.
Water is essential to a healthy lifestyle and even a healthy diet. It’s calorie free and will help you burn fat while feeling fuller faster and for a longer time. The best time to drink is before meals and whenever you feel thirsty to maximize the benefits provided by this miracle liquid. For even healthier results, water should replace sugary drinks like sodas and juices. To fully optimize your weight loss, exercise for at least a half hour while making sure to keep hydrated.
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author