How drinking water helps with weight loss

Drinking more water could be the key to achieving your weight loss goals


Chances are, if I ask you how much water you should drink each day you would have heard that eight glasses is the goal.

And when it comes to weight loss, the more water you drink — the better? So is it true that drinking more water will help you lose weight? Let’s look at the science.

There are a number of studies that have explored the proposed relationship between drinking more water and weight loss. A study conducted at Virginia Tech back in 2010 reported that obese dieters already following a calorie controlled diet who also consumed two glass of water before each meal lost significantly more weight than non-water drinkers.

More recently this finding was replicated by the University of Birmingham who found obese dieters who consumed 470ml of water before meals lost more kilos than dieters who did not consume any extra water.

While these studies are linked to larger weight loss regimes, the mechanism by which drinking water at certain times seems to support weight loss cannot be ignored. One possible explanation is the thermogenic benefits associated with water consumption.

In 2003 the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that drinking 500ml of water was associated with a metabolic boost of 30 per cent, or an extra 100kJ burnt. This can be explained by the body working harder to heat the temperature of drinking or chilled water to 37°C. While these physiological effects are small they still need to be considered.

Scientists regularly dispute the claim that water itself has any specific role when it comes to weight loss, claiming that water is only associated with weight loss, not causing it. In real life terms these intricacies mean that drinking plenty of water is associated with behaviours that are conducive to weight control which basically means yes, if you want to lose or even control your weight, keeping well-hydrated is a good idea.

So if you do not have your water bottle next to you right now, here are some more reasons to grab it and aim to consume at least 1-1.5L every single day, along with an extra 500ml -1L for every hour of high intensity exercise you participate in.

1. Dehydration Can Cause Us to Eat More

Our desire to drink and keep well-hydrated is relatively weak compared to hunger signals which see us grab food the minute we are slightly hungry. In fact statistics suggest up to 70-75 per cent of us are dehydrated at any point in time. So next time you are feeling a little hungry, get into the habit of drinking some water instead and waiting at least 30-60 minutes or until you are really hungry to eat. Remember light to clear urine will indicate you are hydrated.

2. It Stops You Drinking Other High Kilojoule Drinks

When you are drinking a couple of litres of water each day there is less opportunity for kilojoule packed soft drinks, milk based coffee, flavoured tea and juice which tend to take the place of water when we are thirsty. Basically this means we consume far fewer kilojoules over time when we primarily drink water, in turn supporting weight control.

3. It Keeps Your Tummy Healthy

Do you regularly feel tired, bloated and clogged up? When it comes to maintaining a healthy digestive system, drinking enough fluid is the crucial link between fibre intake and exercise to keep waste moving through the digestive tract efficiently. While water-based salad and vegetables help this process, you cannot go past good hydration as a key factor in preventing the abdominal bloat.

4. You Will Burn More Kilojoules

It is proven that drinking cold water, especially icy cold water will help you to burn up to 400 extra kilojoules per day for every 2L of water you drink, which the equivalent of an extra snack every single day.

5. Psychologically it Helps to Keep on Track With Diet and Lifestyle Goals

Health-related behaviours are often built by association. For many of us, the simple act of always carrying a water bottle with us, or starting the day with a glass of water and lemon helps to keep us mindful of what we are eating and drinking and as such focused on our diet goals throughout the day. Since the clear stuff is generally free, why wouldn’t you try drinking more of it? It may just work.

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