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Drinking water when dieting: How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight

How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight

Drinking water can help burn calories and reduce hunger cravings. Replacing sugary drinks with water can also lower caloric and sugar intake. But drinking water alone is not enough for major weight loss.

For a long time, drinking water has been thought to help with weight loss.

In fact, 30–59% of US adults who try to lose weight increase their water intake (1, 2).

Many studies show that drinking more water may benefit weight loss and maintenance (3).

Read on to understand how drinking water can help you lose weight.

Drinking Water Can Make You Burn More Calories

Most of the studies listed below looked at the effect of drinking one, 0.5 liter (17 oz) serving of water.

Drinking water increases the amount of calories you burn, which is known as resting energy expenditure (4).

In adults, resting energy expenditure has been shown to increase by 24–30% within 10 minutes of drinking water. This lasts at least 60 minutes (5, 6).

Supporting this, one study of overweight and obese children found a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure after drinking cold water (7).

A study of overweight women examined the effects of increasing water intake to over 1 liter (34 oz) per day. They found that over a 12-month period, this resulted in an extra 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of weight loss (8).

Since these women didn’t make any lifestyle changes except to drink more water, these results are very impressive.

Additionally, both of these studies indicate that drinking 0.5 liters (17 oz) of water results in an extra 23 calories burned. On a yearly basis, that sums up to roughly 17,000 calories — or over 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of fat.

Several other studies have monitored overweight people who drank 1-1.5 liters (34–50 oz) of water daily for a few weeks. They found a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and body fat (8, 9, 10).

These results may be even more impressive when the water is cold. When you drink cold water, your body uses extra calories to warm the water up to body temperature.

Bottom Line:

Drinking 0.5 liters (17 oz) of water may increase the amount of calories burned for at least an hour. Some studies show that this can lead to modest weight loss.

Drinking Water Before Meals Can Reduce Appetite

Some people claim that drinking water before a meal reduces appetite.

There actually seems to be some truth behind this, but almost exclusively in middle-aged and older adults (11).

Studies of older adults have shown that drinking water before each meal may increase weight loss by 2 kg (4.4 lbs) over a 12-week period (4, 11).

In one study, middle-aged overweight and obese participants who drank water before each meal lost 44% more weight, compared to a group that did not drink more water (4).

Another study also showed that drinking water before breakfast reduced the amount of calories consumed during the meal by 13% (12).

Although this may be very beneficial for middle-aged and older people, studies of younger individuals have not shown the same impressive reduction in calorie intake.

Bottom Line:

Drinking water before meals may reduce appetite in middle-aged and older individuals. This decreases calorie intake, leading to weight loss.

Drinking More Water is Linked to Reduced Calorie Intake and a Lower Risk of Weight Gain

Since water is naturally calorie-free, it is generally linked with reduced calorie intake.

This is mainly because you then drink water instead of other beverages, which are often high in calories and sugar (13, 14, 15).

Observational studies have shown that people who drink mostly water have up to a 9% (or 200 calories) lower calorie intake, on average (16, 17).

Drinking water may also help prevent long-term weight gain. In general, the average person gains about 1.45 kg (3.2 lbs) every 4 years (18).

This amount may be reduced by:

  • Adding 1 cup of water: Increasing your daily water consumption by 1 cup may reduce this weight gain by 0.13 kg (0.23 lbs).
  • Replacing other drinks with water: Substituting a serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage with 1 cup of water may reduce the 4-year weight gain by 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs).

It is especially important to encourage children to drink water, as it can help prevent them from becoming overweight or obese (17, 3).

A recent, school-based study aimed to reduce obesity rates by encouraging children to drink water. They installed water fountains in 17 schools and provided classroom lessons about water consumption for 2nd and 3rd graders.

After one school year, the risk of obesity had been reduced by a whopping 31% in the schools where water intake was increased (19).

Bottom Line:

Drinking more water may lead to decreased calorie intake and reduce the risk of long-term weight gain and obesity, especially in children.

How Much Water Should You Drink?

Many health authorities recommend drinking eight, 8-oz glasses of water (about 2 liters) per day.

However, this number is completely random. As with so many things, water requirements depend entirely on the individual (20).

For example, people who sweat a lot or exercise regularly may need more water than those who are not very active.

Older people and breast-feeding mothers also need to monitor their water intake more closely (21).

Keep in mind that you also get water from many foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, meat, fish, milk, and especially fruits and vegetables.

As a good rule of thumb, you should always drink water when you’re thirsty, and drink enough to quench your thirst.

If you find you have a headache, are in a bad mood, are constantly hungry or have trouble concentrating, then you may suffer from mild dehydration. Drinking more water may help fix this (22, 23, 24).

Based on the studies, drinking 1-2 liters of water per day should be sufficient to help with weight loss.

Here’s how much water you should drink, in different measurements:

  • Liters: 1–2.
  • Ounces: 34–67.
  • Glasses (8-oz): 4–8.

However, this is just a general guideline. Some people may need less, while others may need a lot more.

Also, it is not recommended to drink too much water either, as it may cause water toxicity. This has even caused death in extreme cases, such as during water drinking contests.

Bottom Line:

According to the studies, 1–2 liters of water per day is enough to assist with weight loss, especially when consumed before meals.

Take Home Message

Water can be really helpful for weight loss.

It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals.

The benefits are even greater when you replace sugary beverages with water. It is a very easy way to cut back on sugar and calories.

However, keep in mind that you’re going to have to do a lot more than just drink water if you need to lose a significant amount of weight.

Water is just one, very small piece of the puzzle.

6 reasons why drinking water can help you to lose weight

Researchers are still unsure why drinking more water helps a person to lose weight, but many studies show some positive correlation between increased water consumption and weight loss.

Below are six reasons that water may help with losing weight.

1. Water is a natural appetite suppressant

When the stomach senses that it is full, it sends signals to the brain to stop eating. Water can help to take up space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and reducing hunger.

A person may also think that they are hungry when they are actually thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before reaching for something to eat can help to curb unnecessary snacking.

In a 2014 study, 50 overweight females drank 500 milliliters (mL) of water 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to their regular water consumption, for 8 consecutive weeks.

The participants experienced a reduction in body weight, body fat, and body mass index. They also reported appetite suppression.

A study from the previous year had yielded similar results.

2. Water increases calorie burning

Some research indicates that drinking water can help to burn calories.

In a 2014 study, 12 people who drank 500 mL of cold and room temperature water experienced an increase in energy expenditure.

They burned between 2 and 3 percent more calories than usual in the 90 minutes after drinking the water.

Water may also temporarily increase the body’s resting energy expenditure, or the number of calories burned while resting.

Drinking cold water may further enhance water’s calorie-burning benefits, because the body expends energy, or calories, by heating up the water for digestion.

3. Water helps to remove waste from the body

When the body is dehydrated, it cannot correctly remove waste as urine or feces.

Water helps the kidneys to filter toxins and waste while the organ retains essential nutrients and electrolytes. When the body is dehydrated, the kidneys retain fluid.

Dehydration can also result in hard or lumpy stools and constipation. Water keeps waste moving by softening or loosening hardened stools.

Water also helps the body to recover from digestive problems, such as diarrhea and indigestion.

When waste builds up in the body, people may feel bloated, swollen, and tired. Bloating can add inches to a person’s waist.

Staying hydrated is a good way to avoid retaining waste, which may add a few extra pounds.

For more science-backed resources on nutrition, visit our dedicated hub.

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4. Drinking water can reduce overall liquid calorie intake

Share on PinterestWater is a calorie-free alternative to energy drinks or juice.

It is easy to accumulate liquid calories by drinking soda, juice, or sweetened coffee or tea.

Most people also ignore how many calories they consume in sports drinks or alcoholic beverages.

Replacing even a few high-calorie drinks each day for water or other no-calorie beverages, such as herbal tea, may have long-term weight loss benefits.

Authors of a 2012 study found that replacing two or more high-caloric beverages for non-caloric drinks every day for 6 months resulted in an average weight loss of between 2 and 2.5 percent in a group of females with obesity.

In a study from 2015, female participants drank 250 mL of water after lunch each day while attending a 24-week weight loss program. They lost 13.6 percent more weight than women in the same program who drank the same volume of diet beverages after lunch.

Results of a large-scale study showed that men and women who replaced one serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage for water or a low-calorie drink every day for 4 years gained 0. 49 fewer kilograms (kg) than a similar group who had made no changes.

The same study found that adults who replaced at least one serving of fruit juice with water or a low-calorie drink gained 0.35 kg less than their counterparts.

5. Water is necessary to burn fat

Without water, the body cannot properly metabolize stored fat or carbohydrates.

The process of metabolizing fat is called lipolysis. The first step of this process is hydrolysis, which occurs when water molecules interact with triglycerides (fats) to create glycerol and fatty acids.

Drinking enough water is essential for burning off fat from food and drink, as well as stored fat.

A mini-review from 2016 found that increased water intake led to increased lipolysis and a loss of fat in animal studies.

6. Water helps with workouts

One of the most important components of any weight loss plan is exercise.

Water helps muscles, connective tissues, and joints to move correctly. It also helps the lungs, heart, and other organs to work effectively as they ramp up activity during exercise.

Being hydrated reduces the risk of things that can get in the way of a good workout, such as muscle cramps and fatigue.

Always drink water before, during, and after exercise to avoid dehydration.

Keeping water close at hand is essential, especially if exercising in hot, humid, or very sunny conditions.

Share on PinterestRecommended water intake relates to factors such as age and health.

There is no standard recommendation for how much water to drink. Some people require more or less water, depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • activity level
  • age
  • body size
  • temperature
  • humidity
  • sun exposure
  • health status

Most health authorities suggest ranges for daily water intake. The following water intake recommendations are from the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the United States:

  • 2,700 mL/day for adult women
  • 3,700 mL/day for adult men

A 2013 study of results from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey 2005–2010 found that most adolescent males drink more water than NAM recommends each day.

However, results showed that many adults, especially older adults, did not drink enough water to meet NAM’s guidelines.

Of the individuals aged 20–50, 42.7 percent of males and 40.6 percent of females did not meet NAM recommendations. Of those 71 years of age or older, 94.7 percent of males and 82.6 of females did not meet the guidelines.

The following tips can help to increase water intake:

  • drinking at least one 8-ounce glass of water with each meal
  • carrying water in a reusable water bottle
  • drinking extra water when exercising or during physical activity
  • drinking extra water when it is warm, humid, or very sunny
  • keeping a glass of water near the bed
  • eating more soups and liquid-rich meals, such as curries, stews, and smoothies
  • eating fruits and vegetables with high water contents, especially berries, grapes, melons, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, and lettuce

How to drink water for weight loss, schedule

Date of publication: 08/12/2020

ObesityMedicines for weight loss in capsulesFat burners

Author of the article

Shatrova Natalia Ivanovna,


All authors

Article content

  • Why Is it important to drink water when losing weight?
  • How to drink water for weight loss?
  • Drink water by the clock for weight loss, schedule
  • How much water should you drink to lose weight?
  • What kind of water should be drunk for weight loss?
  • Ask an expert on the topic of the article

Why is it important to drink water when losing weight?

The human body is 60-70% water. It affects almost every process in the body. With a lack of water, absolutely all processes slow down, including metabolism. From here it becomes clear why they drink a lot of water for weight loss. The article will discuss how water affects weight loss, how much water you need to drink to lose weight, and what kind of water should be consumed. Those who care about their health are recommended to read to the end.

Doctors and nutritionists agree that water is important for maintaining a normal weight. But few people understand the mechanism of the effect of water on extra pounds. The fact is that with a lack of fluid in the body, enzymatic activity decreases, as a result of which weakness appears, and efficiency decreases. In addition, water is found in large quantities in the blood, and it delivers nutrients and oxygen to tissues and organs. Accordingly, with a lack of water, the nutrition of cells deteriorates. And one more important fact: water helps to remove toxins from the body, which are precisely the cause of excess weight. In the latter case, it is important to know not only how much water to drink for weight loss, but also how to remove water from the body.

Let’s see why people drink water when losing weight:

  • Metabolic activity increases, so the more you drink water, the more calories you burn. If you use half a liter of water at a time, then after about 10 minutes the intensity of metabolic processes will increase. The most interesting thing is that this effect will last at least an hour and in order to continue it, you need to drink a new portion. From here we can conclude how to drink water for weight loss by the hour. If you consume 2000 ml of water per day, then in the end you will lose about 100 kilocalories. They will be spent by the body on the absorption and excretion of fluid. Approximately the same amount of energy is spent during a calm swim in the river or for 45 minutes of a slow walk along the alley of the park.
  • Water reduces the number of calories digested. This is the main fact that explains why water is needed for weight loss. It is the best thirst quencher. If you drink two or more liters a day, then you no longer have to quench your thirst with juices, lemonades, compotes, and so on, so fewer calories will be consumed. In addition, the brain can equate the feeling of thirst with the desire to eat, because the body receives a certain part of the liquid from food. According to American scientists, a person who loves to drink water consumes 200 kcal less per day than someone who does not drink enough water.
  • Water reduces fat accumulation and reduces appetite. It was experimentally shown that if you drink a glass of water half an hour before a meal, then in 8 months the weight is reduced by 1.5 kg. The thing is that water, filling the stomach, partially interrupts the appetite, and food, in this case, is eaten less than usual.

A particularly difficult question concerns how much water to drink to lose weight. The norms that experts indicate include not only clean water, but also soups, tea, and even fruits. Therefore, the calculation of volumes should be approached especially carefully.

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How to drink water for weight loss?

You should not constantly think about how much water you need per day for weight loss and how to use water correctly. This habit should be formed naturally. For starters, you can accustom yourself to take a glass of water every morning after waking up. This will wake up the body and start the fat burning process.

It is also recommended to look at some rules:

  • Drink only pure water without any additives.
  • Drink water half an hour before meals and one hour after meals.
  • Do not drink excess liquid during meals.
  • In the evening, after 20:00, the amount of water consumed decreases.
  • The simplest option would be to drink water at room temperature, but it would be good to find out what temperature the water should be, as the effect of the drink will be different.
  • The average daily intake is 1.5-2.5 liters, depending on the initial weight.

Within a couple of weeks, the habit of drinking water will become automatic.

You may be interested in: Sagging belly: how to remove it?

Drink water by the clock for weight loss, schedule

How much water should I drink to lose weight?

Having figured out how water affects weight loss, you need to find out how many liters to drink every day. Despite the fact that fluid is important for the body, the “more is better” approach is not appropriate here.

Excessive fluid intake can adversely affect the functioning of the kidneys and cause serious illness. In addition, important elements are washed out of the body, anemia and metabolic disorders develop. It is possible that the weight will decrease, but the reason for this will be diseases, and not the normalization of the body. Of course, you should not replace food with water, this approach is also fundamentally wrong. The body must receive all the necessary elements, and maintaining the water balance only reinforces the result.

Therefore, it is important to know how to calculate water for weight loss. Otherwise, you may experience swelling, dizziness and other unpleasant symptoms.

Optimal volumes depend on a number of factors, including gender, age, weight, lifestyle and diet. On average, 40 ml of water is needed for every kilogram of weight. You can also divide the total weight by 20 and get the rate of water per day. But in any case, you can drink no more than three liters per day. You can determine whether the norm is correctly selected by the color of urine. Its discoloration indicates an excess of fluid. For convenience, you can use the table that reflects how to drink water for weight loss.

What kind of water should be drunk for weight loss?

Next, find out what water to drink on an empty stomach for weight loss. Ideally, this should be plain clean water. That is, coffee, juices, tea cannot be used to normalize the water balance, although they contain a certain amount of water. Boiled, melted, bottled, filtered water is also suitable.

Separately, we should consider how mineral water is used and which is better for weight loss. There is an opinion that carbonated drinks are harmful due to the content of carbon dioxide. But here we are talking about mineralized drinks, that is, artificially created. Water from natural sources contains carbon dioxide, which helps suppress appetite and quench thirst. Natural gas is not hazardous to health. True, you need to drink such water less than the indicated norm, in addition, it has its own contraindications.

The effect of weight loss depends on the composition of the drink and its temperature. Therefore, let’s consider the most common questions regarding water:

  • How to drink hot water for weight loss? To do this, it is enough to drink a glass of water at a temperature of 40 degrees after waking up. Additionally, you can drink water before bed.
  • How to drink water with lemon for weight loss? To do this, add 50 grams of citrus juice to a glass of water and take the drink half an hour before meals.
  • How to take water for weight loss if there is an increased acidity of gastric juice? To do this, just add a spoonful of natural honey to the water. When hot, the drink reduces acidity.
  • How to prepare water for weight loss and immunity strengthening? To do this, it is enough to add 10 g of ginger in the form of shavings or powder from the root to 200 ml of water to 50 ml of lemon juice.
  • How to expel water from the body for weight loss? Reduce salt intake and drink water with lemon juice.

Water is the most important element for the body, and its lack negatively affects all systems. If you already have chronic diseases, it is recommended to consult a doctor about how to drink water in the morning for weight loss and what supplements to use.

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Is it worth drinking water for weight loss



November 21, 2022

We found out what scientists think about it.

Is it worth drinking water for weight loss

Yes, many scientific experiments have proven the relationship between the amount of water consumed and weight loss.

Consider, for example, the Stanford study of over a hundred overweight women.

Scientists selected those who drank less than a liter of water a day and simply changed their drinking regimen, increasing the amount of fluid they consumed to approximately 2 liters. The observation lasted exactly one year. During this time, the subjects’ weight and waist circumference were regularly measured. In the final, the researchers found that each woman, without changing her lifestyle, lost up to 2 kg of weight and lost up to 2 cm at the waist.

Another study was conducted in German schools. Drinking water fountains have been installed in 32 educational institutions so that children can quench their thirst at the earliest opportunity. And the schoolchildren were given several lectures on how useful water can be. At the end of the school year, regular drinking was found to reduce the risk of being overweight by 31%. Almost 3,000 children of primary school age participated in the experiment.

Why water makes you lose weight

Studies show that water has a whole range of properties that can speed up weight loss or keep you fit if you are not overweight.

1. Water increases calorie expenditure

It is enough to drink 500 ml (about two glasses) of water – and after 10 minutes the metabolic rate will increase by 30%, and the effect will last at least an hour. If you consume 2 liters per day, this will be equivalent to losing approximately 100 kcal. That’s about how much you’d spend half an hour swimming at a leisurely pace, 40 minutes walking, or a little over half an hour mopping. If you drink cold water, the calorie consumption will be even greater, since the body has to spend energy on heating the incoming moisture to body temperature.

2. Water reduces calorie intake

If you quench your thirst with water, then you do not quench your thirst with other drinks that can be much more caloric: lemonade, sweet tea, juices, fruit drinks, milk. It seems like a trifle, but in fact the difference is quite significant: on average, as studies show, a water lover consumes almost 200 kcal less per day than someone who does not control what they drink.

3. Water reduces appetite and body fat

To prove this, scientists selected 50 overweight women and asked them to drink 500 ml (2 glasses) of water three times a day: half an hour before breakfast, lunch and dinner. More subjects were not limited in anything.

After eight weeks, it turned out that the women’s appetite had decreased: in order to get enough, they needed less food than before. That is, they consumed fewer calories and lost those extra pounds. The average weight loss over 8 weeks was approximately 1.5 kg.

How much water to drink for weight loss

Just because water does help you lose weight or keep fit doesn’t mean that the more you drink, the better the results will be.

Approximately 3.7 liters per day for men and 2.7 liters for women is recommended.