Can Lose Weight By Drinking Water

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How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight

How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight

Water is good for the body in more ways than just quenching thirst. Here's how it could even aid weight loss. You've probably heard one of the many weight-loss myths about water, such as how sipping it can suppress your appetite and speed up your metabolism. Is it true, however, that drinking more water will help you lose weight?

Here's how it works: Despite the fact that water makes up about 60% of your body and plays a role in almost every bodily function, there is no scientific evidence that drinking water helps you lose weight. After all, the number on the scale can be influenced by a variety of factors, behaviors, and predispositions.


What is the significance of water, anyway?

Before getting into the details of water's potential role in weight loss, it's important to understand the primary advantages of staying hydrated in the first place. For starters, Molly Kimball, R.D., C.S.S.D., a registered dietitian at Ochsner Fitness Center in New Orleans and host of the podcast FUELED Wellness + Nutrition, says that drinking your recommended amount of fluids each day — whether it's straight water, herbal tea, coffee, smoothies, soups, and yogurt (yes, liquid foods count) — keeps your body running smoothly. Fluids play a role in metabolic processes like carbohydrate, fat, and protein digestion, as well as the breakdown of vitamins you eat into a form that can be absorbed and used by your body. "As a result," she explains, "our hydration status is required for all of these things to happen." Plus, according to Jennifer McDaniel, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.S.D., L.D., a registered dietitian nutritionist and the owner of McDaniel Nutrition Therapy, staying hydrated helps your body remove waste (via sweating, urinating, and defecating), reduces the risk of kidney stones, and relieves skin dryness.

According to Kimball, consuming enough fluids is essential for maintaining high energy levels in addition to supporting basic bodily functions. "Fatigue — feeling a little sluggish and tired," she says, is one of the first signs of even a [slight] dehydration. "Before I look at what they're eating when someone says they're having an afternoon energy slump, I look at how they're hydrating themselves throughout the day." And a lot of the time, it's because they aren't getting enough fluid." On the other hand, your fluid intake can affect how you feel while exercising; if you're properly hydrated, you might feel "like you've already gone for a run when you first start out," says Kimball. (See also: The Best Ways to Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day)

To figure out how much fluid your body needs to function properly, divide your weight in pounds by two, and the result is the amount of fluid you should try to consume each day in ounces. She explains that if you weigh 150 pounds, you'll need to drink 75 ounces of fluid per day. She recommends drinking an extra 16 ounces for every pound of sweat lost (think: after a spin class or while hiking on a hot, humid day). "It can be beneficial for a few times if you normally do a morning cycle class or a morning boot camp class... to weigh yourself both before and after"


Can Drinking Water Aid Weight Loss?

It Could Make You Eat Less Carbohydrate-Rich Foods

Even mild dehydration can leave you feeling tired and irritable, prompting you to reach for comforting, refined carbohydrates (low in satisfying fiber) and sugar for an energy boost, according to Kimball. Carbohydrates are quickly digested, raising blood sugar levels in about 15 minutes and releasing mood-boosting serotonin and satiating hormones, according to Abby Chan, M.S., R.D.N., a registered dietitian nutritionist and co-owner of EVOLVE Flagstaff in Arizona. "It could be sugars, chips, or whatever," Kimball says, "but we're looking for carbs for that pick-me-up or mood booster to kind of fix it." "However, a lot of the time, what we're experiencing or feeling is due to low-level dehydration."

Carbohydrates are, of course, beneficial. Carbohydrates are your body's main fuel source once they've been broken down into glucose, and they should account for 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories, according to to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published by the United States Department of Agriculture. Excess glucose, on the other hand, is stored in the liver, muscles, and other cells for later use or converted into glucose.

According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming large amounts of added sugars — which typically have little nutritional value but have 4 calories per gram — can also contribute to weight gain. According to a 2018 review published in BMJ, reducing added sugar intake has been linked to a modest decrease in body weight, while increasing consumption has been linked to weight gain.

According to Kimball, staying on top of your fluid intake and drinking the recommended amount each day can help you avoid mindless snacking on carb-heavy, fiber-deficient, but temporarily energizing foods. “We're not saying you won't crave carbs if you drink all of your fluids for the day," she says.


It Has the Potential to Make You Feel Fuller Before a Meal

When you drink water (or any other liquid), your stomach expands, and specific neurons in the organ that detect stretching tell your brain that you're full, according to McDaniel. As a result, "we have the potential to reach fullness sooner when we drink water before a meal due to these cues," she says. "If you're a big volume eater, something like herbal tea or a broth-based soup [before a meal] can definitely help give you that sense of volume," Kimball says.

This idea is backed up by research as well: A small 2007 study found that drinking 500 milliliters (about 16 ounces) of water 30 minutes before eating reduced meal consumption in middle-aged and older men. Similarly, a 2009 study found that over the course of 12 weeks, middle-aged and older participants who followed a low-calorie diet and drank 500 milliliters of water before each of their three daily meals lost about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) more than those who just followed a low-calorie diet.

Furthermore, according to Kimball, a metabolic boost may only occur if you're chronically dehydrated, which means you've been slacking on your fluid intake for days or weeks. "I wouldn't say it'll always happen," she says, "but it's possible that you'll have a slightly lower metabolic rate if you're dehydrated." "So you might see a slight correction in that metabolism, that metabolic rate, but it's not really going to be a game-changer for us" in terms of weight loss when you drink more fluid to remedy that.


It Has the Potential to Increase Your Metabolism Slightly

According to Kimball, increasing your water intake won't significantly speed up your metabolism (the process by which your body converts food and drink into energy). "Research shows that when we drink water, the process of warming it up — if it's cold — requires energy, which increases metabolism slightly," McDaniel adds. "While this benefit may exist, it contributes only a small amount to the total number of calories burned in a day.

And, so far, rodent studies have provided the most consistent evidence supporting the link between increased water intake and weight loss via improved metabolism. Increased hydration has been shown to boost metabolism in this study. According to a 2016 review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, the functioning of mitochondria — the structures within cells that convert food energy into usable energy — may improve as a result, increasing fat breakdown in certain cells.


To Lose Weight, How Much Water Should You Drink?

"How much water should I drink to lose weight?" you might wonder. You should be aware that there is no one-size-fits-all fluid recommendation for weight loss. Both of the studies that found a link between pre-meal water consumption and food consumption during a meal used 500 milliliters of water. In a 2008 study of 173 "premenopausal, overweight" women who were on various popular weight-loss diets, increasing water intake from less than 1 liter (nearly 34 ounces) a day to more than 1 liter was linked to a 5-pound weight loss over a year.

However, 34 ounces of water is unlikely to keep your body adequately hydrated, as Kimball recommends drinking the same amount of fluid in ounces as half of your body weight. So, whether you're trying to lose weight or not, she recommends aiming to meet your personal quota.


The Most Important Takeaways

Drinking water and consuming fluids can help you lose weight by curbing your carb or sugar cravings, increasing your feelings of fullness, and speeding up your metabolism. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question "how much water should I drink to lose weight?" and water isn't a magic weight-loss potion. Instead, staying hydrated should be viewed as one part of a larger strategy to achieve your health goals, which may include eating a variety of satisfying macronutrients (such as fats, fiber, and protein), limiting refined carbohydrates, and increasing your daily movement.

If you're thinking about losing weight, both nutritionists suggest making an appointment with a registered dietitian or your health care provider before guzzling a gallon of water. "The money you'd spend [on a consultation] can pay off so much more in the long run because it's giving you an education," Kimball says. "It can save you money by preventing you from making trendy mistakes later on, and it can help you learn more about your own relationship with food...so it can start to teach you a more personalized approach for yourself." (See also: Recipes, Healthy Eating Tips, and More from Black Nutritionists)


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