According to a new literature review of 11 prior studies on weight and water consumption, drinking water before meals may be linked to weight loss.¹ The results from one study of older adults found that those who drank 2 cups of water before a meal lost 4 more pounds than a group that didn’t drink extra water beforehand.
Researchers are not sure how water might help people lose weight. It could be that water makes you feel less hungry, resulting in reduced calorie intake. Another possibility (one that has not been very well studied) is that the body has to expend energy (burn calories) when water is consumed, contributing to weight loss.
It’s important to drink water every day, but how much is enough? Just like everyone has different caloric needs, the amount of water a person needs is dependent on age, weight, activity level, and environment. A good rule to follow: adult women should consume 9 cups of water per day and men, 13 cups.² All sources of water count toward these totals, including food, plain water, and other beverages. When you exercise, you’ll need to keep hydrated, so it’s a good idea to drink water before, during, and after your workout.
The bottom line: Drink plenty of water as part of a healthy diet that also includes fruits and vegetables. To save calories, substitute water for sugary drinks. For the average American, it’s an easy way to cut 400-500 calories per day! And don’t forget that the water in fruits and veggies counts toward your daily intake too! Melons, lettuce, and citrus fruits are all great examples!
In addition to water, fruits and vegetables, consider 100% fruit and vegetable juices as a beverage choice. Staying within the recommended amount of no more than 6 to 10 ounces each day, 100% juice is a good source of water and has the added advantage of providing the extra nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in fruits and veggies. Each serving of 100% juice counts toward your fruit and vegetable intake for the day, making it a smart addition to any well-balanced diet!
¹ “Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systematic review.” Amer J of Clinical Nutrition
. Accessed October 9, 2013. View Article