How many times have you been told that drinking water is necessary to lose weight? It is stated so often that we need to drink at least 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day, that I think we just assume that it is true. About once a week I have a patient who states that she can not lose weight because she doesn’t like to drink water.
So I want to discuss today, it is really necessary to drink a lot of water to lose weight?
Well, there are actually scientifically proven potential benefits of drinking water on your weight.
The first benefit is that if you drink water before eating a meal, then you might feel more full and eat less at your meal. In one study, 24 overweight or obese adults were studied during breakfast. These adults were allowed to eat as much as they wanted to at breakfast. Half of the people were given 500 ml (about 16 ounces) of water before breakfast, and half of the people did not drink the water. The people who drank water before breakfast ate on average about 13% fewer calories at that meal. So if you drink water before eating, you might be less hungry and eat fewer calories.
The second reason that drinking water might help with weight loss is that it takes some energy for your body to process the water that you drink. Your metabolic rate increases for about an hour after you drink 500 mL (about 16 ounces) of water. So, if you increase the amount of water that you drink by 2000 mL (about 64 ounces), then this would potentially burn about an extra 64 calories a day.
The biggest reason that drinking water is helpful for people who are trying to lose weight is because when you drink a lot of water, you avoid drinking beverages that contain sugar and calories, such as juice, soda (or pop depending on what part of the country you live), milk, and some energy drinks. It is easy to drink a beverage quickly without thinking about the calories, so these calories can add up quickly. So it is usually helpful to avoid beverages with calories. You can’t go wrong with drinking water when you are thirsty.
So what if you don’t like drinking water? The good news is that you can still lose weight. Although I gave you three reasons that drinking water can help you on your weight loss journey, you will still lose weight by following your meal plan, and physical activity plan even if you don’t like drinking water.
You can stay hydrated and enjoy other beverages without calories like teas, coffee (as long as you are not putting in a lot of sugar and cream), water with lemon, water infused with other fruits or vegetables (melon, mint, strawberries or cucumber).
If you are looking for more bias-free information on how to lose weight, you’ll find it in my ebook The Obesity Solution, a compassionate step-by-step guide to losing weight and keeping it off.