Water and weight loss
Written by William Fryer - MA Oxon
Whoever finds the secret of guaranteed weight loss will have answered the prayers of millions who struggle to shed weight. There probably is no single solution for everyone, but some very simple changes to lifestyle are proven to help – including the simplest of them all, drinking water.
Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2008 and 2010 provided the first scientific evidence that water could help with weight loss. The study that found this was carried out on older people, but there may be a lesson in it for us all.
Scientists working with a group of overweight people aged between 55 and 75 divided the group into two, half of whom drank two cups of water (around 500ml) before each meal. This group were found to have lost more – a whole 5 pounds more – weight than the non water-drinking group, both of whom followed the same diet.
And the results seemed to last too. Twelve months after the initial three-month dieting period, the water drinkers, most of who kept up the habit, had maintained their weight loss.
The reason is simple, and it’s all down to the timing. The water was consumed half-an-hour before meals, initially breakfast then all three meals. There was no restriction placed on the amount of food any participant in the experiment was allowed to eat, but the water intake was consistent.
Why could water assist weight loss? It may be that water makes us feel fuller, it may be that it boosts the fat-burning rate of metabolism or simply that replacing unhealthier sugary drinks with something calorie free is enough to have an effect.
Let’s look at some other reasons why water can be your weight loss secret weapon.
Drinking water when we are losing weight is important.
When we first start to lose weight we shed excess water, rather than fat, first, and it is possible to become dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water will mean you won’t register a false positive early in your weight loss plan.
Hunger is a tricky customer. Sometimes a craving for food can be satisfied with drink. Water fills us up and has no calories. Drinking water regularly and particularly before we eat or when we crave a snack can help cut down on the amount we eat.
Bring water into your social life too. Alcohol in anything other than the smallest amounts is not good for us and it is also packed with calories. Take a drink of water between each alcoholic drink and you will take fewer calories on board and you are much less likely to get a hangover if you overindulge too.
Our bodies need water to function
Without it we die. Dehydration brings on headaches, low blood pressure and even fainting fits. Think of water as the lubricant your body needs to work, if you get the right amount everything functions more efficiently. That includes your metabolism, the rate at which we use up the calories (and fat) we take on from our food. More water means more fat burned.
Staying in good health while losing weight is important.
If you are exercising – and it is a good idea if you want to lose weight – it will help keep your joints in good order. With more water, you will be able to exercise for longer. As we use up calories, we produce toxins, which our body doesn’t need, and which can be harmful; we need water to flush these out of our system.
Finally, water is better way to hydrate ourselves than almost anything else available is. No calories, no sugar, no fat. When you reach for a soft drink or glass of juice, you are drinking things that will only add weight. Replace them with water.
Purchasing endless amounts of bottled water will eat into your finances and is not environmentally friendly. Think about investing in a water distiller which will help you in your weight loss quest as well as being much more environmentally and economically friendly.