Can Drinking Water Aid with Weight Loss?
The human body is made up of ~60% water and plays countless roles in life. This article focuses on some of the health benefits of drinking water and how it may lead to weight loss.
Reduce the number of high-calorie, sugar-sweetened beverages
The replacement of high-calorie beverages with water has been the most effective water-consumption strategy to date. High sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is related to a number of diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that less than 10% of total calories per day should come from added sugars and to choose beverages with no added sugars. (1,2)
It has been proposed by some researchers that when individuals drink a glass of water before a meal, they are less likely to eat as much during the meal and feel more full for longer periods of time after a meal. There are some studies that have found this to be true and others that have not.
There is no real danger in drinking a glass of water before or after a meal, so it may be worth a try if you find yourself still feeling hungry after meals.
Make it tasty
Here are some tips to make this flavorless drink more exciting and enjoyable.
- Add fruit (citrus, berries, pineapple)
- Add herbs (mint, basil, rosemary)
- Add cucumber
- Herbal tea (hot or iced)
- Sparkling water or seltzer for some fizz
How much water should you drink
The right amount of water is different for each person, but the general guidelines are 1-2 liters per day (32-64oz). Some individuals may need less and some may need more – especially the elderly, breastfeeding women, and athletes.
- A good rule of thumb: always drink when you feel thirsty, and to drink enough to quench that feeling.
- A reminder: coffee and tea count toward your daily water intake, however, caffeine has a diuretic effect and can send you to urinate more often. Other foods such as soups, milk, fruits and vegetables have water in them and are also part of your total fluid intake.
- CDC Sugar-sweetened Beverage Consumption Among U.S. Adults, 2011–2014
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans – Shifts Needed To Align With Healthy Eating Patterns
Written by: Marguerite Drowica, Dietetic Intern, Hunter College
Reviewed by: Nazirber Maduro, RDN, CDN, CDCES