With so many trends, fads, and products competing for attention in the world of weight loss, it seems almost crazy to think that something as simple as water could help anyone lose weight. Although water alone is certainly not the magic weight loss secret so many are seeking, it can easily become an integral part of a healthy lifestyle conductive to weight loss and achieving fitness goals.
But unlike so many methods touted for weight loss, water is free. Further contributing to its uniqueness is the fact that it actually works. A 2008 study from the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that drinking water helped overweight dieting women lose weight – regardless of their diet or level of activity. While water didn’t work any weight loss miracles for the women in the study, those who consistently drank more water were also losing more weight. The authors note: “[d]ata from short-term experiments suggest that drinking water may promote weight loss by lowering total energy intake and/or altering metabolism.”
Watering Your Way to Weight Loss
Increasing water intake is a very popular part of many weight loss plans. Yet results of this approach seem raise questions about just how well it works for everyone. In a 2014 article entitled ”What Impact Does Water Consumption Have on Weight Loss or Weight Loss Maintenance?” the question is tackled with the help of the scientific literature.
A Virginia Tech study demonstrated that participants in a weight loss study who drank 500 mL of waters before meals lost more weight than those who did not. This strategy of pre-meal hydration is not a new concept. It is often touted by diet plans as a means of “tricking” the body into eating less. However, as noted in the study linked above:
“… the hunger and thirst mechanisms are quite separate and it is unlikely that thirst would be interpreted as hunger. It is possible however, that drinking water could fill people up and reduce hunger resulting in reduced energy intake.“
So while drinking water may not actually make you any less hungry, it may help you eat less by taking up more space in your stomach! Water intake may also be assisting digestion, metabolism, or the burning of fat in some complex way not yet understood. There is still much to investigate with regards to water consumption and its many effects on the body.
Can Sweeteners Help with Weight Loss?
In a 2014 study published by The Obesity Society, two groups were given the same 12-week weight loss treatment program. One group drank water, while the other drank water sweetened with artificial sweetener. Participants in the group drinking sweetened water displayed a significant increase in weight loss after 12 weeks compared to the regular water group. The participants in the study reported a reduced feeling of subjective hunger compared to the group which consumed water alone.
These results maybe a promising glimmer for those looking to optimize their weight loss strategy. Artificial sweeteners remain a controversial item for many who claim that they cause negative health impacts, such as cancers and a host of other issues. While this has not been verified scientifically, artificial sweeteners have a very short history of human use and scrutiny is well warranted. According to the National Cancer Institute despite being possibly linked to bladder cancer in laboratory animals, “carcinogenicity studies (studies that examine whether a substance can cause cancer) of these sweeteners have not provided clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans. “
More research is needed on the effects – positive and negative – for artificial sweeteners. To learn more about artificial sweeteners, check out this excellent resource from Harvard.edu.
Give it a Try, its Free!
If you’re looking to lose weight, there really is no reason not to try drinking some more water, seeing as its more or less free. Don’t buy bottled water – pick up your own water bottle and go green while staying hydrated!
One important thing to keep in mind is that although there is truth to the idea that drinking water and proper hydration can improve your chances of losing weight, there are a lot of not so trustworthy sources out there trying to pawn their “magic water” scams off as being able to help with weight loss. We’ve taken the time to examine (and debunk!) several of these health trends. See our articles debunking Detox Water and our piece calling out the alkaline water scam.
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Drinking water is essential for the bodies proper functioning - and weight loss is one of the many health benefits which comes with staying properly hydrated.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.