It is almost universal that every weight loss advice would include that you stay hydrated and drink a lot of water. And most people start drinking more water. Does drinking water help you lose weight? We will have a look here but first why water is so important for us?
Benefits of drinking water
Water is not essential just to lose weight. Basically our bodies need water for all body functions. About 60 percent of our bodies are water. It is essential for almost all body functions (which includes almost everything like kidney’s excretion function, digestion, blood circulation, brain, nervous system) and skin. And it is also known to help with weight loss.
Why is water important to weight loss?
Water is life but there are so many ways it can help you lose weight. Here are few:
Water prevents obesity
So, can water help lose belly fat? Actually, scientific studies have shown that water can help lose weight. In fact a recent study has brought to light a direct link between drinking less water and obesity.
It has been found that drinking water revs up metabolism. A study conducted at Humboldt-University Germany came up with the result that drinking two liters of water can lead to additional burning of 400 KJ energy. This equals about 96 calories. (1)
Drinking water to lose weight is a good strategy because another study published in 2014 found that water is appetite suppressant which helps lose weight. The study participants lost weight by drinking additional 1.5 liter of water. (2)
Decreases calorie intake
Not only that you will burn more calories when drinking water, you can also expect a decreased daily calorie intake when you stay hydrated. By replacing sugar sweetened drinks with water, you can immediately cut your calories significantly.
A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that you can lose weight up to 2.5 percent of your body weight over a period of 6 months by just replacing two of your sweetened beverages with water every day. (3)
Helps burn fats
Water therapy for weight loss is further strengthened by the fact that to burn fat or other food-based calories in the body, a process called lypolysis takes place. This process involves hydrolysis which is not possible without water.
Therefore, if you are looking to lose weight, you must drink enough water. In fact animal studies have shown that fat burning process called lipolysis is speeded up by drinking more water. (4)
Improves physical endurance
Since exercise is an essential component of a weight loss strategy, drinking enough water will make sure that your body is hydrated enough for this exertion. By not drinking water you expose yourself to fatigue and possible cramps.
Helps manage food cravings
Water can help you deal with food cravings in a better way which is essential if you are out to lose weight. Sometimes, you eat something because you feel hungry. But possibly it could be a situation where you couldn’t distinguish between thirst and hunger. By hydrating your body enough, you will not be eating when you should be drinking.
Suppressed energy intake
In fact studies have shown that by drinking water before meals you can decrease your energy intake by 13 percent and lose weight. This means that you would eat 52 calories less at a 400 calorie breakfast. (5)
How much water should you drink each day?
Now we know how water can help lose weight. So, the next question is: how much water per day?
There is not one definite answer. There is no science backed recommendation for 8 glasses of water every day. But this is closest to recommended daily water intake. Though it varies based on age, gender, geographical location and level of physical activity.
If you are living in a hot zone, you will definitely need more water. Similarly, if you are an athlete, your water requirement will be more than normal.
Can you drink too much water?
Yes. In your efforts to lose weight by drinking water, you may put yourself in danger. There is a medical condition called hyponatremia which can be hazardous and also life threatening. Kidney’s maximum excretion power is 0.7 to 1.0 L/hour and you would definitely not want to approach the maximum limit in any case. But it is advised to remain within the adequate intake limits. Drinking more water should not be taken to limits.
As a general test, you should drink water whenever you are thirsty and also with or before meals. This along with a few cups of coffee or drinks should be adequate for your recommend water intake.
Drinking water to lose weight fast
Since adequate water is beneficial for weight loss, here are few tips to ensure that you stay hydrated to lose weight by drinking water.
- Drink a glass of water before your three meals.
- Replace your sugar sweetened drinks with water
- Drink cold water because body has to burn extra calories to warm this cold water to body temperature
- Set reminders on your smartphone for drinking water throughout the day
- Keep a water bottle visible at your desk. This will help you drink more water.
- Try to add a little flavor like lemon to your water to make it less boring.
Does drinking water make you gain weight?
Water not only helps you lose weight, it can also make you fat. This is a possibility if your diet has lots of salt because salt will make your body retain water which will lead to water weight. Therefore, while you will be drinking water to stay hydrated, you will be actually gaining weight.
Does drinking water help lose weight? The answer is definitely yes. But do not expect miracles because it is just a part of overall weight loss strategy. If you drink enough water but simultaneously, your diet is not healthy and you keep drinking sugar sweetened beverages, then it would not be possible that you lose weight by drinking water.