There’s no shortage of advice out there on how to lose weight, but what there is a shortage of is easy (and I mean extremely easy) weight loss solutions. But thanks to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the easiest weight loss solution is here: drink a lot of water.
While it seems almost intuitive, what the researchers found is that people who drink more water actually lose more weight than dieters who try to lose weight but don’t drink as much water. It’s not that water actually removes fat or body weight, but it does reduce the amount of calories you’ll get from high-caloric beverages. The study, based on a review of 11 clinical studies, found that drinking water is an easy weight loss tip that many people don’t take advantage of. Drinking water can even make you burn calories faster, according to one of the trials analyzed, in which dieters drinking 17 ounces of water increased their calorie burning by 30% compared to those not drinking water after working out.
And perhaps the most important way that water helps you lose weight is by curbing your appetite; studies show that drinking water throughout a meal can help satiate you, ensuring you don’t overeat when you don’t need to. So instead of grabbing a second serving, reach for a glass of water instead—you might just realize you were thirsty instead of hungry.
The old wives’ tale that you should drink more water at meals is supported by a few different studies, most notably one that found dieters who drank two cups of water before every meal they ate were able to lose five pounds more than the group of dieters who weren’t drinking water, but were on the same diet plan. By drinking more water, you’ll get full sooner and eat fewer calories, and thus not be tempted to reach for more when your body doesn’t need or want it.
If you want to lose weight, however, you can’t just start drinking water by the gallon, hoping it will make you shed pounds quickly. The studies show that drinking water only helps in weight loss if you’re eating fewer calories, as well. So if you cut your daily intake by even 50 or 100 calories a day and drink more water, you’re on the right track.
Muckelbauer, R., et al., “Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systemic review,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. June 26, 2013; 98(2): 282-299.
Beck, L., “Trying to shed a few pounds? Water may be your new best friend,” The Globe and Mail web site, July 7, 2013; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/trying-to-shed-a-few-pounds-water-may-be-your-new-best-friend/article13047696/, last accessed July 19, 2013.