Does drinking water help you to lose weight? The evidence is that drinking water, and possibly other zero calorie drinks, can help you lose more weight than if you were relying on healthy eating or calorie restriction alone.
How Does Water Help Weight Loss? There are a number of theories out there amongst the scientists, some of which are solidly backed up by the research, others which are more hypothetical.
These seem to be the most likely explanations:
Feeling Fuller – Test meal studies have shown that drinking water prior to and during meals increases satiety and changes in feelings of satiety are associated with a lower overall calorie intake which, in turn, leads to weight loss.
Increasing Metabolic Rate – Water drinking may provide thermogenic increases metabolic rate. A faster metabolism burns more calories.
Mobilising Fat Stores – Water is essential for metabolising stored fat into energy, so much so, that the body’s metabolism could be slowed down by even fairly mild levels of dehydration. The slower your metabolism, the harder it is to lose weight.
Drinking Less Calories – The more water you drink, the less need you have for drinks that contain calories. The fewer calories you consume, the more weight you’ll lose.
For people who are trying to lose weight we recommend:
- Drinking half a litre of cold water, half an hour before each main meal of the day
- Drinking water or other calorie free drinks during meals
- Replacing drinks containing sugar with sugar free drinks
- Drinking enough water or zero calorie drinks to keep well hydrated
- How do you know if you’re well hydrated? Your wee should be the colour of pale straw.
TEN Benefits of drinking water
1 – Water flushes out toxins – Water can flush out toxins in our body through sweat and urine. It can also help our kidneys and reduces kidney stones by diluting salts and materials in our urine that cause stones.
2 – Temperature regulation – Water allows heat from the body to be released when sweat evaporates from the skin surface. It also has thermal properties and helps keep joints and muscles lubricated which reduces cramps and things like sprains.
3 – Digestion and constipation – Drinking sufficient water improves the metabolism and helps the body break down food more effectively. Warm water is particular good for digestion. If the body doesn’t have enough water then it pulls it from the stools and therefore makes them harder and difficult to pass.
4 – Reduction in headaches and migraines – These are often caused by dehydration and research in the European Journal of Neurology found that increasing the amount of water you drink can reduce the total number of hours and intensity of headaches.
5 -Weight loss and appetite suppression – A clinical trial found that if we drink two glasses of water prior to a meal then it fills the stomach and can suppress our appetite resulting in us eating less. Water also increases the rate that the body burns fat and helps with the breakdown and elimination of fat cells.
6 – Healthier skin – Capillary blood flow is improved when we are hydrated and this helps with healthier skin. Water also replenishes skin tissue, moisturises skin and improves its elasticity
7 – Relieves tiredness – When there’s less water in our body then our blood volume drops which means the heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood around the bloodstream. Other major organs also become less efficient
8 – Faster recovery from hangovers – Alcohol is a diuretic and makes us go to the toilet more which results in dehydration. Rehydrating helps the body as highlighted above and we recover more quickly.
9 – Reduction of bad breath – Water keeps our mouth moist which washes away bacteria and food particles, diluting the bacteria compounds that cause bad smells.
10 – Improves mood – Some research suggests that if we’re mildly dehydrated by even 1 or 2 percent then it can negatively affect our mood and our ability to think.
Drinking more water is probably the simplest, and easiest to stick to, strategy you’ll find to help with weight loss. It’s free (or at least cheap) and readily available in the UK – all you need to do to get started is turn on the tap!