Why water is important for weight loss: Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight
Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight
Jan 15, 2020
This content is provided to Johns Hopkins employees through a partnership with WW.
Can drinking more water really lead to weight loss?
While no one’s saying you’ll wake up lighter simply by sipping water before bed (or any other time of day), evidence supports the water–weight loss connection: After all, 60% of your body is composed of water, meaning that the clear, calorie-free liquid plays a role in just about every bodily function. The more hydrated you are, research suggests, the more efficiently your body works at tasks that range from thinking to burning body fat.
Science suggests that water can help with weight loss in a variety of ways. It may suppress your appetite, boost your metabolism, and make exercise easier and more efficient, all of which could contribute to results on the scale.
While countless factors, behaviors, and predispositions can affect your body weight, if your goal is long-term, moderate weight loss, making sure you’re hydrated could be a good place to begin.
Seven reasons drinking more water may help you lose weight:
1. Water may naturally suppress your appetite.
When you realize you’re hungry, your first impulse may be to find food. But eating may not be the answer. “Thirst, which is triggered by mild dehydration, is often mistaken for hunger by the brain,” says Melina Jampolis, an internist and board-certified physician nutrition specialist. “You may be able to decrease appetite by drinking water if you are, in fact, low in water not calories.”
What’s more, drinking water can promote satiation because it passes through the system quickly, stretching the stomach. “This sends messages to your brain signaling fullness,” Jampolis says.
Elizabeth Huggins, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Hilton Head Health, adds that though the results are temporary, “consuming water shortly before eating may help decrease food intake. ” Research supports the theory: People who drank two glasses of water immediately before a meal in a small 2016 study ate 22% less than those who didn’t drink any water prior to eating.
About two cups should fill your stomach enough for your brain to register fullness.
2. Drinking water may stimulate your metabolism.
It’s possible that drinking water stimulates your body’s metabolism and energy expenditure, ultimately helping with weight management, according to Huggins.
In an eight-week study published in 2013, when 50 girls with excess weight drank about two cups of water half an hour before breakfast, lunch, and dinner without any additional dietary changes, they lost weight and saw reductions in body mass index and body composition scores.
It’s not magic: Drinking water appears to stimulate thermogenesis, or heat production, in the body, particularly when it’s chilled. The body has to expend energy to warm the fluid to body temperature, and the more energy expended by your body, the faster your metabolism (the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy) runs. Specifically, drinking about two cups of 71°F water led to a 30% average increase in the metabolic rates of 14 healthy adults in a small 2003 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Before you fill your glass and load your plate, though, keep in mind that the effects of thermogenesis probably won’t create substantial calorie deficits that result in weight loss. “Even if the effect is negligible, it is important to stay hydrated,” Huggins says, noting that there are few, if any, downsides to drinking more water.
3. Drinking water could help reduce your overall liquid calorie intake.
Because water contains no calories, filling your glass with h3O instead of higher calorie alternatives such as juice, soda, or sweetened tea or coffee can reduce your overall liquid calorie intake. Choose water over the standard 20-ounce vending machine soft drink, and you’ll drink 250 fewer calories, Huggins points out.
As long as you don’t “make up” for those calories—i. e., walk out of the coffee shop with a muffin and water instead of your usual flavored latte—the calorie savings can add up quickly, she says.
Also interesting: Although diet soda contributes no calories, replacing diet beverages with water may be a factor that contributes to weight loss in certain groups of people. Overweight and obese women who replaced diet beverages with water after their main meal showed greater weight reduction during a weight-loss program in a 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers noted that the extra weight loss in those who drank water could be attributed to consuming fewer calories and carbohydrates, but more research is needed. All that said, since many diet beverages still hydrate and reduce calorie intake when used as a replacement for sugary beverages, they may help certain individuals lose weight.
4. Drinking water helps during exercise.
Water is essential to the body during exercise: It dissolves electrolytes—minerals that include sodium, potassium, and magnesium—and distributes them throughout the body, where their electrical energy triggers muscle contractions required for movement, Jampolis explains. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to cramping, but that’s not the only side effect of drinking too little.
“When muscle cells are dehydrated, they break down protein (aka muscle) more quickly and build muscle more slowly, so your workouts are much less effective,” she says.
What’s more, the body loses fluids more quickly during exercise because it generates heat that’s shunted to the skin’s surface, where perspiration and subsequent evaporation (a cooling process) help with temperature regulation.
Staying properly hydrated also helps maintain your blood’s volume, so you can optimize the expansion of blood vessels at the skin’s surface to release heat, Jampolis says.
“If your body can’t dump excess heat via sweating, you’re setting yourself up for heat exhaustion or worse,” she says. “Being adequately hydrated can improve your workouts by decreasing fatigue, which can allow you to work out longer and burn more calories.” That’s why it’s so important to hydrate before and throughout your workout, not just when you start to feel thirsty.
5. Water helps the body remove waste.
Drinking water facilitates the production of urine, which is largely made up of water, and the movement of feces, since water keeps stools soft. In other words, the more hydrated you are, the easier it is for your system to move things along and the less likely you are to suffer from constipation and bloating.
In addition, adequate hydration promotes kidney function, flushes harmful bacteria from the urinary tract, and prevents kidney stones, which can occur with more concentrated urine, according to Huggins.
6. The body needs water to burn fat.
Upping your water intake may increase lipolysis, the process by which the body burns fat for energy, according to a 2016 mini-review of animal studies published in Frontiers in Nutrition. “We’re not certain of the mechanism, but mild dehydration decreases lipolysis, which may be due to hormonal changes,” says Jampolis, who was not associated with the review. Another theory posed in the animal studies: Water expands cell volume, which could play a role in fat metabolism. However, it remains unproven among human subjects.
7. Water may improve motivation and reduce stress.
When you’re dehydrated, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and confusion—and who makes healthy decisions under those conditions? Dehydration, the researcher of the 2016 mini-review found, also may be linked to sleepiness and reduced alertness. And another study, published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, found that dehydration increases your body’s production of cortisol, the stress hormone.
“These symptoms could affect your motivation to exercise, cook at home, and make better food choices,” Jampolis says.
Other health benefits of drinking water
Remember, your body is made up of 60% water, so weight loss isn’t the only bodily process affected by proper hydration. These are just a few examples of what else water can do:
Water keeps your skin bright.
Scientists still don’t know the exact mechanism, but given water’s important role in the majority of your bodily functions, it makes sense that it would be instrumental in skin health, too. In a 2015 study published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, researchers found that increasing water intake would affect the skin the same way as a topical moisturizer and could positively impact normal skin physiology, including elasticity (the loss of which is related to sagging and wrinkles).
Water boosts your brainpower.
Just like the rest of your body, your brain depends on h3O to work most efficiently—water actually composes 73% of the brain. Even slight levels of dehydration (as little as 2% water loss) impair your performance in tasks that require attention, cognitive functions, physical movement, and immediate memory skills, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Water regulates blood pressure.
“Water plays a major role in keeping the blood flowing effectively,” Huggins says. “When you’re dehydrated, the plasma/blood cell ratio changes in a way that makes the blood thicker and more viscous. This makes it tougher for blood to flow where it needs to flow, increasing the stress placed on the heart.”
In addition, when your body’s cells don’t have enough water, the brain secretes a chemical that constricts the blood vessels, which can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure, which in turn can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. Staying hydrated keeps your blood vessels from constricting so blood can flow normally.
How much water should you drink?
You’ve probably heard the common “eight 8-ounce glasses per day” rule, but the reality is, the amount of water needed varies greatly depending on age, gender, health, physical activity, tendency to sweat, and more. The majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, or NASEM.
The average American adult drinks nearly five cups of water a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The general recommendation from the NASEM is approximately 91 ounces (about 11 cups) of water each day for women and approximately 125 ounces (about 15 and a half cups) for men. About 80% of the recommended fluid intake comes from drinking water and beverages, while the other 20% comes from water-rich foods.
One way to determine whether you’re drinking enough water is to peek in the pot after you pee. “It’s best to go by the color of your urine,” Jampolis says. “If it’s dark yellow, you aren’t drinking enough. Aim for light yellow.”
The upshot: Water and weight loss
The science does show that drinking water may facilitate weight loss and encourage other positive health outcomes. “Water is critical in every cellular activity of our body from head to toe,” Huggins says. “Staying hydrated helps the body run more efficiently and helps us feel better. “
But drinking more water should be only one small part of your wellness journey. “Drinking water is not going to have a huge weight loss effect, and without calorie restriction and/or exercise, just drinking water is not likely to lead to significant weight loss,” Jampolis says. As always, she says, it’s important to embrace a more comprehensive and sustainable approach.
Johns Hopkins University partners with WW (formerly Weight Watchers) to offer benefits-eligible employees more than 50% off digital or digital plus in-person workshops. To purchase your discounted WW membership, or for more information, visit the Benefits & Worklife website.
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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
- body size
- 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
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 connection 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 consumption
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 it 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. And all the moisture that you get is considered, including from soups and juicy fruits. It is not recommended to exceed these standards so as not to encounter such a phenomenon as water intoxication.
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Want great diet advice? Drink more water. You have probably heard repeatedly that drinking water regularly will help you lose weight. But does water really help you lose weight? Short answer: yes. Drinking water increases metabolism, cleanses the body of toxins and reduces appetite. In addition, drinking plenty of water helps your body stop retaining water, which leads to weight loss.
Drinking plenty of cold, clean water is essential for your health and, in fact, for life. You can live much longer without food than without water. Water is an essential part of all bodily functions and processes, including digestion and excretion. When you’re on a diet, water also acts as a weight loss aid because it can help you eat much less.
What is the daily water requirement?
The daily amount of water depends on the age, weight and height of the person. Nutritionists recommend an average of 30 ml of water per 1 kg of weight. That is, with a weight of 80 kg, the daily water intake will be 2.4 liters.
MD, Donna Logan, a registered dietitian at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, emphasized that “Drinking water is important during weight loss because it provides hydration without unwanted calories. Drinking non-caloric fluids, such as water before or with meals, can help the dieter feel full more quickly. So, in addition to not adding calories, drinking water can help replace or avoid unnecessary calories found in snacks or extra servings at mealtimes. Drinking water also helps flush out toxins from the body, which is especially important during fat metabolism and weight loss.”
The main symptoms of lack of water in the body:
– dry mouth, dry skin;
– pain in the joints;
– decrease in muscle mass;
– hunger: when there is a lack of water, your body begins to think that it needs food.
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Why is water useful during a diet?
- WATER SUPPRESSES APPETITE
Because water suppresses your appetite, drinking it before meals can help you feel fuller, which means you can cut down on the amount of food you eat. According to statistics from the WebMD health resource website, drinking water before a meal results in an average reduction of 75 calories per meal. If you drink water before meals only once a day, it will make you consume 27,000 fewer calories per year! Now imagine if you would drink it before every meal.
In a 2014 study, 50 overweight women drank 500 milliliters of water 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to their usual water intake for 8 consecutive weeks Participants experienced a decrease in body weight, fat and mass index body. They also reported appetite suppression.
- WATER INCREASES CALORIE BURNING
According to Medical News Today, in a 2014 study, 12 people who drank 500 ml of cold, room temperature water experienced an increase in energy expenditure. They burned 2-3% more calories than usual. Drinking cold water can further enhance the calorie-burning benefit because the body expends energy or calories by heating the water for digestion.
- Water helps to REMOVE TASTES from the body
When the body is dehydrated, it cannot remove harmful substances. It is water that helps the kidneys filter out toxins and waste, and the body retains essential nutrients and electrolytes. When the body is dehydrated, the kidneys retain fluid. Pure water also helps the body recover from digestive problems such as diarrhea and indigestion.
- Drinking water may reduce total liquid calorie intake
It is easy to accumulate liquid calories by drinking soda, juice, sugary coffee or tea.
Most people ignore the amount of calories they consume from sports drinks or alcoholic drinks. Replacing even a few high-calorie drinks every day with pure water or other non-caloric drinks like herbal tea can have long-term weight loss benefits.
According to Medical News Today, a large-scale study showed that men and women who replaced one serving of a sugar-sweetened drink with water or a low-calorie drink every day for 4 years gained 0.49kilograms less than the same group, which did not replace the drink. 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.
- Water is essential for burning fat
It is known that without water the body cannot properly absorb stored fat or carbohydrates. The process of fat metabolism is called lipolysis. The first step in this process is hydrolysis, which occurs when water molecules react with triglycerides (fats) to form glycerol and fatty acids. Drinking enough water is necessary to burn fat from food and drink and store it. A mini-review from 2016 found that increasing water intake resulted in increased lipolysis and fat loss in animal studies.
- Water helps with exercise
An important fact of losing excess weight is physical activity. Water helps muscles, connective tissues and joints to move properly, and the lungs, heart and other organs work efficiently during exercise. Always drink water before, during and after your workouts to stay hydrated.
Keep water handy, especially if you’re exercising in hot, humid or very sunny conditions, as drinking water helps prevent muscle cramps and keeps joints lubricated.