It is well known that our bodies are mainly composed of water and making sure to drink water is a very common recommendation that we get from nutritionists or physicians.
Water is essential for our health and has many important functions in our bodies. In fact, it’s said that one person could live up to a month without food but no more than a week without water.
But did you know that drinking water can also help you to lose more weight?
When we say “more weight” we really mean it! It’s has been reported that drinking water may increase your weight loss by 44%. Not too bad, right? Let’s review the facts.
Water Helps You Burn More Calories
According to German researchers, drinking water before meals increases your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) by up to 30% within 10 minutes of drinking water.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, REE is defined as the number of calories required for a 24-hour period by the body during a non-active period.
This basically means that by drinking water before a meal, you’ll be burning calories after eating even if you don’t perform any additional physical activity.
The most startling aspect of this is that the increment on REE lasts at least 60 minutes after eating.
Another curious aspect of this research is that this effect increases if the water you drink before meals is cold, due to the extra energy required to warm the water up to body temperature.
How much water should you drink to create this effect? 0.5 L or 17 oz.
Drinking Water Helps you Reduce Appetite
Have you ever heard people stating that drinking water before meals makes you eat less?
Well, this could be true according to a study conducted by a team of researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
They concluded that drinking 500 ml of water for men and 375 ml for women significantly reduces the energy intake level during meals due to an increase in fullness and decrease in hunger ratings.
In fact, people who drank more water before meals lost up to 44% more weight than people who didn’t. Drinking water before meals may increase weight loss by 4.4 pounds over a 12 week period.
An additional recommendation from this study indicates that drinking water specifically before breakfast reduces calorie intake by 13%.
However, researchers stated that this appetite reduction due to water is only observed in middle-aged and older individuals so younger people may not experience the same benefit.
Drinking Water Lowers the Risk of Weight Gain.
One of the biggest challenges of dieters is not gaining some pounds after they hit their ideal body weight.
After dieting, it’s common for people to report gaining even more weight than the weight they lost originally.
There are lots of recommendations on how to avoid putting those pounds back on, but instead of following complicated and probably boring techniques, I will simply advise you to drink more water to keep those extra pounds off.
Drinking water is associated with a lower risk of weight gain because of the fact that water is naturally calorie-free.
So drinking water is always a healthier alternative instead of a caloric beverage like coffee or sugary drinks.
In research conducted with 1108 Mexican adults between 21 and 59 years of age, it was found that drinking water was inversely proportional to caloric beverages intake.
Other researchers concluded that people drinking more water consume up to 9% fewer calories on average, so water is recommended for those who want to maintain a healthy body weight.
The preventative effect on weight gain because of water intake is more important in the long term since it has been reported that the average person gains 1.45kg (3.2lbs) every 4 years.
If you want to reduce this weight gain, there are two recommended actions to take:
• Adding 1 cup of water to your diet: Drinking more water helps you reduce weight gain on the long-term by 0.13 kg (0.23lbs).
• Replacing other drinks with water: This action alone helps you reduce weight gain on the long-term by 0.5kgs (1.1lbs).
Drinking More Water Maximizes Physical Performance
Exercising is still really important to lose weight and stay healthy, but if you do not combine exercise with proper water intake, your physical performance may suffer the consequences.
It’s been reported that athletes lose up to 6-10% of their water weight via sweat during their workout routines, however for most of us, even losing just 2% of water might have a noticeable effect.
In fact, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, at the 2% water loss mark – the time that you start feeling thirsty – is when your performance starts decreasing significantly.
Among the consequences of losing water during exercising we may find:
• Altered body temperature control.
• Reduced motivation.
• Increased fatigue.
• Exercise generally feels much more difficult.
All these negative effects could be surprising at first sight, but this all makes sense when you realize that almost 80% of muscle mass is essentially water.
So, the best thing you can do is not to wait until you feel thirsty to start drinking water but stay hydrated instead to get the most benefit out of every workout routine.
Keeps You From Drinking Other Things
We’ve already discussed this point above, but it’s so important and effective that it’s really worth dedicating one whole section to it again.
It cannot be understated the power of reducing soda and other caloric beverages and replacing them with water.
In truth, water is all we really need to drink in order to be healthy. Many of you are already at work in the comment section, saying that fruit juices are also important because of their fiber content.
But honestly, if you want to benefit from fiber, it is much better to consume whole fruits and fiber-rich veggies than drinking sugar-rich fruit.
Remember, drinking water doesn’t just mean out of a glass. When you eat cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and broccoli you also consume a lot of water.
These vegetables are really high in two things: fiber and water. So by eating them, you will be consuming two very important nutrients for your body.
How much water should you drink?
Let’s finish this post talking about the amount of water that you should drink each day to stay healthy and lose weight.
First of all, it is important to note that there is not a clinical recommendation about how much water you need to consume despite what you may have heard.
As is true of many other things, water requirements are totally individual and must be adjusted according to your specific needs.
Fortunately, water has no side effects either, so you can drink as much as you want and start adjusting the amount of water you feel comfortable with.
As an initial guideline, many authorities recommend to drink about 2 liters of water per day, so try to keep yourself as close to this level as possible when you start.
Take Home Message
If you want to benefit from water but you always forget to keep drinking, don’t feel bad, there’s a very good solution for you: rely on the phone in your pocket.
Forgetting to regularly drink water is a problem so common that there are applications dedicated to reminding you when it’s time to drink some.
To give you two examples: you can download Waterlogged for iOS devices and Water Drink Reminder for Android.
They have many interesting functions that you can discover on your own but the most important benefit is your water consumption will increase, so go give them a try.
Now it’s your turn!
Join the conversation and tell us what do you think about water’s effects on weight loss. Are there any benefits or advice that we’ve missed? How do you remember to stay hydrated?.
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