As a nutritionist, we’re always telling people to drink more water. Since 60-70% of your major tissues are comprised of H20, it’s important to stay hydrated for your body to function at it’s best. In addition, being well hydrated has been shown to help maintain a higher metabolic rate, which means your body burns calories more efficiently.
A recent review on this topic and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared results from 11 original studies and two review articles. Of the studies, they reported that three studies found that increased water consumption resulted in reduced body weight but two studies found no effect from water and other studies had mixed results. The authors conclude that drinking lots of water may provide a modest boost to your weight loss efforts, but more studies are needed to know for sure the extent to which water helps people lose weight.
In one human clinical trial, researchers at Virginia Tech reported that individuals instructed to follow a low-calorie diet lose more weight when they’re told to drink 16 ounces of water before each of their main meals. In the study, those drinking water before meals lost 15.5 pounds in 12 weeks, compared to 11 pounds in the control group not drinking extra water. In another study of overweight adults, the same researchers found that after drinking 16 ounces of water, the calories consumed at the subsequent meal was reduced by 13%.
Water works for weight loss in not only helping you eat fewer calories at your meals, it can help limit liquid calories, which are consistently linked to weight gain. And since water provides no sweetness, unlike diet beverages, it helps to curb or contain a sweet tooth.
To keep water top of mind, keep a daily tally of how many ounces you’re drinking each day and strive to drink 16 ounces before each meal. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces each day. If you weigh 140 pounds, that means you should drink 70 ounces of water.
Julie Upton, MS, RD
Appetite for Health