When I told my doctor of my desire to lose weight, the first thing he said was “Be sure to drink plenty of water”. So does water help you lose weight? If so, how?
At the time, I sometimes drank some water with a meal. I wasn’t consistent and I usually only drank a few sips.
The rest of the time I drank tea, coffee or fruit juice with the occasional soda.
I thought I was drinking enough.
After a bit of research, I certainly made some changes in my life and I feel so much better because of those changes.
So let’s just dive in and discover…
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Can water really help with weight loss?
A study by Virginia Tech reported clinical trial results confirmed that drinking just two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals, enables people to shed pounds.
The Annals of Family Medicine found a significant link between inadequate hydration and elevated BMI (Body Mass Index).
These studies suggest there may be a strong link between drinking enough water and losing weight.
When it comes to weight loss we have all been told:
- drink plenty of water
- eat fewer calories
- exercise more
Whether we realize it or not, we also know that when we are feeling slightly dehydrated we may experience thirst, dry mouth, headaches, and in extreme cases dizziness and lethargy.
When feeling like this no one wants to exercise, right?
Let’s take a closer look at how water can help us with our weight loss goals.
How water may aid weight loss
Most people who try to lose weight increase their water consumption, often on the advice of their physician, with good reason.
There are several ways a simple glass of water can really boost our weight-loss efforts.
An appetite suppressant
Most of us understand that when the stomach senses it is full, it sends a message to the brain that we should stop eating.
Water can take up space inside the stomach, thus tricking it into being full with less food.
A 2014 study involving 50 overweight females who drank 500ml of water 30 minutes prior to each meal in addition to regular water consumption over an 8-week period experienced a reduction in body weight, body fat, body mass index and they reported appetite suppression.
Increases calorie burn
Research has shown that drinking water can actually help you burn more calories, depending on the water temperature.
In 2014, they did a study where 12 participants drank 500 ml of cold and room temperature water.
They found that they burned between 2% and 3% more calories than usual during the 90 minutes following drinking the water.
They also noted that water may temporarily increase the number of calories burned while resting.
It is believed that drinking cold water may further enhance the calorie-burning benefits because the body uses energy (calories) by heating the water to body temperature for digestion.
When our body is dehydrated it can not effectively remove waste from our systems.
Our kidneys require water to properly filter toxins while retaining essential nutrients and electrolytes.
Dehydration also causes hard, lumpy stools or constipation.
Drinking an adequate amount of water keeps things moving properly reducing inflammation and bloating.
Reduce overall liquid calorie consumption
We think nothing of grabbing fruit juice, soda or sweetened tea or coffee.
How many of us actually think about how many calories are in that post-workout sports drink or that alcoholic beverage after work?
A 2012 study found that simply replacing two or more high-calorie beverages daily for six months resulted in an average weight loss of between 2 – 2.5 pounds.
Another study in 2015, involved female participants who drank 250 ml of water after lunch during the 24-week weight-loss program, found that the participants lost 13.6% more weight than women in the same program who drank diet beverages after lunch.
Necessary for fat burning
Without water, the body can’t optimally metabolize carbohydrates or stored fat.
The process of metabolizing fat is called lipolysis and occurs when water molecules interact with triglycerides(fats) to create glycerol and fatty acids.
Consuming enough water daily is essential for burning the fat from our food and drinks but also stored fat.
A 2016 mini-review of animal studies determined that increased water intake led to increased lipolysis and fat loss.
A key ingredient to any weight loss program is regular exercise.
Water assists muscles, connective tissues and joints in moving correctly. It also ensures the lungs, heart and other organs work effectively through the increased activity of exercise.
Proper hydration reduces the risk of muscle cramps and fatigue prematurely halting a great workout session.
Always be sure you drink water before, during and after exercise.
Reduce stress and aid motivation
When we are dehydrated, we tend to experience symptoms like fatigue, dizziness and confusion.
This would significantly affect our decision-making processes.
When we are dehydrated, even slightly, we may tend to skip that workout or eat fast food rather than cooking healthy food at home.
Great for the complexion
Our body depends on water for almost every system in the body so why would our skin be any different.
A 2015 study found that increasing water intake had the same impact on the skin as applying a topical moisturizer, having a positive effect on skin elasticity which is known to reduce during ageing.
Similar to our muscles, our brain also requires water in order to function optimally. The brain is actually made up of 73% water, so even slight dehydration (2%) can impair functionality in tasks requiring attention, cognitive functions, physical movement and immediate memory skills according to research published in the Journal of American College Nutrition.
Regulate blood pressure
When we are dehydrated, the blood – plasma ratio changes making our blood thicker and more difficult for the heart to pump it around our body.
Also, when our cells don`t have enough water, the brain secretes a chemical that actually constricts blood vessels, leading to hypertension (high blood pressure).
Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Drinking enough water to maintain proper hydration will ensure the blood vessels don`t restrict and blood can flow normally throughout the body
Help regulate blood sugar
Now, this is a topic very dear to my heart.
As some of you may know, we have a type 1 diabetic grandson.
I know from personal experience that when Alex drinks enough water, both with meals and between, it is so much easier to manage his blood sugar levels.
When his blood sugar is running high we really push the water which does help to lower those levels sometimes reducing the need for additional insulin.
Drinking more water when your blood sugars are high will help flush those excess sugars from your body.
How much do we need?
It can be rather tricky to determine how much water you should be drinking in a day especially if you are wanting water to help you shed those excess pounds.
There is no solid number for how much water each individual requires.
There are many factors that can influence your water needs such as:
- activity level
- body size
- sun exposure
Most health authorities recommend:
- 2,700 ml/day for adult women
- 3.700 ml/day for adult men
One way to know if you are drinking enough water is to check the toilet after using the bathroom. If you are well-hydrated your urine is clear or very light yellow in colour. The darker your urine, the more water you need to drink, especially if your goal is weight loss.
How to get enough water
These tips can help ensure you are getting enough water each day:
- drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water with each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- carry water with you in a reusable, refillable water bottle
- drink extra water whenever you are exercising or doing a physically exerting task
- drink extra water when the weather is hot and humid
- keep a glass of water by the bed
- eat more water-rich foods such as soups, stews and smoothies
- eat plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables such as berries, grapes, melons, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers and lettuce
I keep my water bottle handy at my desk when I am working. This reminds me to keep sipping water throughout my work session. I refill it at lunch and am sure to take it with me whenever I am out and about.
Try adding various fruits or vegetables to your water to infuse a bit of flavour.
Some of my personal favourites are:
- lemon slices
- cucumber slices
- apple slices and a cinnamon stick
- melon cubes
- pineapple slices
Of course, unsweetened tea or coffee after a meal is a nice change as well.
Does Water Help You Lose Weight?
We have learned in this article that drinking plenty of water before and during meals is a wonderful aid to weight loss.
Drinking water before a meal can help your stomach feel full faster, reducing the amount of food you need to eat.
Drinking plenty of water can help the body flush fat out of the body.
We can increase our resting calorie burn by drinking cold or room temperature water.
Water can also help eliminate waste which reduces bloating.
As you can plainly see the benefits of ensuring you drink enough water each day is important for our overall health may even reduce the signs of ageing on our skin.
I am not in any way a medical practitioner, please do not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another healthcare provider. We only share our experiences. We are affiliates, this means that if you purchase something from a link or ad on this site we may receive a small commission. This in no way affects the price you pay.
How much water do you drink daily?
What benefits have you discovered by increasing your water consumption?
Share your experiences in the comment section below.