One common advice that has been continually offered by most dietitians and nutritionists over the years is the need for those who want to lose weight to ensure that they drink at least eight glasses of water per day. This advice was given on the premise that water helps to suppress the appetite and also increases the body’s metabolism.
Nevertheless, most people have remained doubtful about the actual effectiveness of water helping them to lose weight as many find it difficult believing that weight loss can be that simple and “cheap.” For any doubting Thomas that might be out there, you might find it interesting to know that science has actually come out to prove that water is actually effective in assisting people lose weight.
There are actually some scientific studies which have shown interesting patterns of food intake based on their water composition. In one such study, subjects were placed on either food with a high concentration of water such as a soup of a stew, or the same solids prepared as a casserole with water to supplement the meal. Despite the fact that both categories of subjects had the same total amount of water and solids, subjects who had water incorporated into their food source consumed fewer calories.
Another related study discovered that eating foods with low energy density (i.e. foods that contain higher concentration of water than calorie) was a much more successful strategy in helping people lose weight than attempts to limit their portion size. Foods with low energy density were observed to produce sensations of satiety without the need of limiting the amount of food that is ingested while concurrently reducing the overall energy density of the diet itself thereby helping people to lose weight.
Despite the fact that the above research studies were not definitive, they however demonstrated the fact that foods with a high concentration of water such as soups, stews, or salads were capable of assisting people lose weight by providing satiety which help to reduce calorie intake.
However, during the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) held in Boston, the first randomized controlled intervention trial research results indicating that drinking water before each meal was capable of assisting people lose weight was presented.
The research was led by Brenda Davy, Ph.D., of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg who announced that the study results demonstrated “that increased water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy.” Dr. Davy and her team discovered at the end of their 12-week study that dieters, who drank water before meals, three times a day, lost about 5 pounds more than those dieters who did not increase their water consumption.
Dr. Davy noted that prior to this study there had never been any scientific “gold standard” evidence from a randomized and controlled clinical trial which compared weight loss between dieters who drank extra water before their meals and those who did not drink. Right up till now, there were only folklores, anecdotal experiences, and some previous researches which suggested that drinking more water might actually promote weight loss.
In this study which was conducted with 48 adults aged between 55 and 75 years and who were divided into two different groups, both ate the same low-calorie diet but one group drank two cups of water before their three meals each day for the 12 weeks duration of the study while the other group did not. At the end of the 12 weeks period, the group of subjects who drank water before their meals had lost about 15.5 pounds, while the group that did not drink water lost about 11 pounds.
Dr. Davy concluded that the idea behind the “water cure” may be due to the fact that water has zero-calorie and simply fills up the stomach making less room available for food. The feeling of satiety created thus makes the individual to consume fewer calories.
The team of researchers also noted that drinking plain water rather than the use of sodas and other sweetened beverages that are often calorie-laden was more beneficial for those who want to use this water strategy as an adjuvant to losing weight. The additives in most of these beverages contribute to weight gain and therefore dieters will do better with their weight loss efforts by drinking either pure “plain” water or fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
Apart from the above scientific studies, there are several others which have shown that since the feeling of hunger and thirst go together, drinking water can actually help people lose weight if food is substituted with water. This has been observed to help in the suppression of appetite and prevention of overeating.
However, it must be noted that the amount of weight that you can lose by using this strategy depends on how much water you drink (therefore make sure to drink enough), how healthy your diet is and also the amount of exercise you engage in.
Incorporating the drinking of at least eight 8-ounce glasses of plain water per day into your general lifestyle will help keep your body properly hydrated, reduce the feeling of hunger and also increase your overall metabolism.