Can Water Help You Lose Weight?Posted on Aug 24th 2010 3:00PM by Amber Greviskes
A small study that was presented at the American Chemical Society shows that drinking moderate amounts of water can help people lose weight.
The researchers observed 48 adults aged 55 to 75 years for 12 weeks. One group drank two glasses of water before their meals while the other did not. Everyone ate a low-calorie diet, but those who began each meal with two 8-ounce glasses of water lost nearly five pounds more on average than those who did not.
"The theory behind the study is a glass of water will take up volume and space in your stomach so you will have less room for caloric foods," said Andrea N. Giancoli, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "Anecdotally that has always worked for me, and it is advice I dish out to clients. But this study helps to support that advice."
No one doubts water's importance in the body, which is composed of up to 75 percent water. It is an essential nutrient that plays many roles, including regulating temperature and transporting other nutrients throughout the body.
This, however, is the first study that shows evidence of water's appetite-suppressing qualities. It fills up dieters and quenches their thirst so they don't confuse it with hunger and overeat.
Another reason for the dramatic results could be that those who were asked to drink two glasses of water before each meal may not have reached for sugary sodas and other drinks filled with empty calories.
"What is really important here is that we try not to drink our calories unless the beverage is a nutrient dense one such as low-fat milk," Giancoli said. "We can easily meet our fluid needs with water and other no-cal or low-cal beverages."
Although the researchers didn't determine whether other zero-calorie beverages like diet soda of coffee would have a similar affect, Giancoli said it's probable. Still, water offers additional benefits that other zero-calorie beverages do not.
"Plain water, especially tap water, is much cheaper than other zero-calorie beverages," Giancoli said. "Tap water is environmentally friendly, provides fluoride and can be [a] source of other minerals like calcium and iron."
But perhaps the weight loss should be contributed to water's ability to rev a dieter's metabolism.
Recent studies show that water raises alertness and blood pressure and helps burn calories. Dr. David Robertson estimated that increasing water consumption to three 16-ounce glasses of water a day could lead to a five-pound weight loss, even if the dieter didn't change his diet or exercise routine.
Foods that have a high water content also help curb appetite, which is why some recommend eating a broth-based soup or small house salad before a meal. Fruits and vegetables, which are full of water, are nutritionally dense, giving those who eat them a boost of energy and a feeling of satiety, without adding unnecessary calories.
Most health experts, and we at That's Fit, agree that the best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy diet -- that includes water instead of high-calorie sugary drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and lean meats -- and exercise regularly.
Do you need inspiration to reach your weight loss goal? Ashley and Lee, two of our readers, share their tips.