Water May Be Your Best Weight-Loss Weapon
Looking for a secret weapon to help you cut back on calories? Then look no further than your kitchen sink. Water is dirt cheap, deliciously refreshing and completely calorie-free. Best of all, the long-held belief that water can be a powerful tool to help you shed pounds has finally been backed up by science.
According to a 2010 study conducted by Brenda Davy, associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech, dieters who drank two glasses of water before each meal lost more weight over a three-month period than dieters who didn't frontload their meals with this liquid wonder.
The study, which focused on older adults, divvied 48 overweight adults into two groups. One group was instructed to drink a 16-ounce bottle of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner. The other group was also given the water, but without any instructions regarding how or when they should drink it.
While the calorie intake for each subject was the same — about 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day — the before-meal water drinkers lost an average of 15.5 pounds at the end of 12 weeks, while the other group lost an average of 11 pounds. In other words, those who drank a bottle of water before each meal lost over 40 percent more weight than their counterparts.
The reason it works is surprisingly simple, according to the study's author. Water fills up the stomach, she says, so people eat less food during their meals. Water may also help kick higher-calorie drinks — such as alcohol or sugary sodas — to the curb.
Andrea N. Giancoli, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says she's touted the water trick to her clients for years. "I tell my clients to have a glass of water before their dinner because it's going to help curb their appetite," she says. "You feel waterlogged and you won't eat as much. And you also stay hydrated."
In addition, Giancoli says water helps flush out your kidneys and is essential for the chemical reactions that go on in your body for energy metabolism. "It's not a miracle cure for weight loss, but it may give you an extra tool in your weight-loss kit," she says.
Interestingly, the water trick works even with people who aren't eating a low-calorie diet. In an earlier study conducted by Davy in 2008, the researcher found that adults who drank two cups of water half an hour before their breakfast ate 75 fewer calories, despite the fact that they were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted.
Are you perhaps not a water person but still interested in trying the water weight-loss trick? Try adding lemon or lime slices to your H2O to give it a little more zing. Or snack on foods high in water content (and low in calories) such as watermelon, apples or lettuce.