It has been diet advice forever, but finally science has proven it: drinking more water before meals helps people eat less and lose weight.
The Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise researchers knew that water consumed before a meal has been found to reduce energy intake among non-obese older adults. However, it is unknown whether this effect is evident among overweight and obese older adults. Twenty-four inactive and overweight or obese men and women ages 55 to 75 were divided into two groups to find the answer.
Both groups followed a diet of 1,500 calories per day for men and 1,200 per day for women. But one group drank 500 milliliters (2.11 cups) of water a half-hour before meals, while the second group did not drink water. The result?
Water drinkers ate 13 percent less at each meal and lost about five pounds more on average.
They also lost weight faster over a 12-week period. And, after 12 weeks, those who drank water before meals had lost 15.5 pounds, compared to 11 pounds for the non-water drinkers, a nearly 30 percent difference.
The water-drinkers also continued to lose weight (though at a slower rate) over the following year, even though they had stopped their low-calorie diets. The study authors attribute this to the fact that those participants continued to drink water before meals.
Because the water-drinking group reported feeling both fuller and less hungry, the researchers believe that the water acts to suppress appetite. The water-drinking group also reported other effects such as clearer minds and an ability to think better.
Study author and associate professor Brenda Davy said "drinking more water is a pretty simple strategy that may be helpful to people trying to lose weight. We're not saying, 'Drink more water and the body fat will melt away.' But for people who are trying to lose weight and trying to follow a low-cal diet, it's something they can do as part of that."
Keep in mind that pre-meal water drinking may only work for weight loss for those middle-aged or older. The study only looked at people aged between 55 and 75. Previous research has shown that in those aged 18-35, drinking more water at the meal did not cause them to eat fewer calories at the meal, possibly because water quickly travels out of the stomach in younger people.
Water is the only beverage recommended for weight loss
The researchers also recommended that people wishing to lose weight should replace sweetened calorie-containing drinks with water. Dietitians will often suggest a non-caloric drink, such as club soda with True Lemon, to help resist the urge to snack after dinner. Adding True Lemon to water has been proven to help people consume more water on a daily basis.
Now that we've shared the mind blowing facts about losing weight by drinking more water, we have a few ideas to help you drink more water.
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