For many years, water has been known to be an excellent aid for weight loss. In fact, 30 to 59% of adults in the US who really try hard to lose weight increase their water intake to achieve this. There are numerous that show that drinking water may be beneficial for weight loss and maintenance. A number of health authorities recommend drinking about 2 litres (eight 8-ounce glasses) every day. However, keep in mind that this is a completely random number and that water requirements vary from person to person.
So how does drinking more water help with faster weight loss? Over the years, there have been many studies on the effects of water on weight loss. Here is a look at how drinking plenty of water can help you lose those unwanted pounds.
Drinking More Water Helps You Burn More Calories
When you drink water, the amount of calories you burn increases, which is a process known as resting energy expenditure. In adults, it has been shown to increase by 24 to 30% within 10 minutes of drinking water. This effect lasts at least 1 hour. One study supports this with results showing a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure among obese and overweight children after drinking cold water.
Another study of overweight women observed the effects of increasing intake of water to more than 1 liter a day. It was found that it resulted in an additional 2 kg of weight loss over a 12 month period. This is an impressive result as these women did not make any lifestyle changes except drinking more water.
In addition, these studies indicate that an extra 23 calories is burned when you drink 0.5 litres of water. This sums up to about 17,000 calories, or, more than 2 kg of fat, in a year. Cold water is most effective for weight loss because when you drink cold water, extra calories in your body are used to warm up the water to body temperature.
[ Read: How To Increase Your Water Intake ]
Drinking More Water Before Meals Helps Reduce Appetite
According to some people, drinking water before a meal curbs appetite. There is some truth to this claim, but mostly in middle-aged and older adults. Studies of older adults have revealed that drinking water before each meal may increase the amount of weight lost by 2 kg over a period of 12 weeks.
One study showed that middle-aged obese and overweight participants lost 44% more weight when they drank water before each meal, compared to a group that did not increase their water intake. In yet another study, it was found that drinking water before breakfast helped in reducing the amount of calories consumed by 13%.
Although drinking water before meals may have benefits for middle-aged and older people, studies with younger participants have not shown any reduction in calorie intake.
[ Read: How Chewing Gum Can Curb Your Appetite ]
Drinking More Water Lowers Calorie Intake And Lowers Risk of Weight Gain
Water is naturally free of calories, which is why it is generally associated with lower calorie intake. The main reason for this is you drink water instead of all the different beverages out there that are often loaded with calories and sugar. Observational studies have revealed that people who drink more water than other beverages lower their calorie intake by up to 9%, or 200 calories on average.
Drinking water may also be helpful in preventing long-term weight gain. Generally, the average person gains approximately 1.45 kg every four years. You may be able to reduce this amount by:
- Drinking An Extra 1 Cup of Water – Increasing the amount of water you drink every day by 1 cup may reduce long-term weight gain by 0.13 kg.
- Replacing Other Beverages With Water – Drinking 1 cup of water instead of a serving of a beverage filled with sugar may help in reducing the four-year weight gain by 0.5 kg.
It is important to encourage children to drink plenty of water as it can prevent them from becoming obese or overweight. A recent school-based study encouraged children to drink water as a way to lower obesity rates. Water fountains were installed in 17 schools, along with classroom lessons for 2nd and 3rd graders about consumption of water. After one school year, the risk of obesity was reduced by an impressive 31% in those schools where there was an increase in water intake.
Drinking water helps in keeping your joints lubricated and preventing muscle cramping, which means that you are able to work out harder and longer. This is another way that drinking more water helps with weight loss. As mentioned earlier, drinking cold water is best as it helps in boosting your metabolism as your body has to work harder to make it warm. Therefore, you burn more calories and helps you lose weight.
Amount of Water You Should Drink
As mentioned, experts recommend 2 litres or eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. This is a just a general guideline and varies depending on each person’s needs. Some people may need more water while others need less. The amount of water you need depends on your weight, size and activity level.
For example, people who exercise regularly or sweat a lot need to drink more water than those who are inactive. Older people and breastfeeding mothers should also keep a close watch on their water intake. You should keep in mind that water is also available in many foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, milk, fish, meat and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Decaffeinated herbal tea is a great way to get the fluids your body needs.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that you always drink water when you are thirsty and drink the amount you need to quench your thirst. You should make sure that your body is well hydrated at all times. Drinking the recommended 2 litres of water every day will help with this and also encourage weight loss. Still think that water does not help with weight loss? Try it for a few weeks and you will definitely see the difference.