The Role of Water in Weight Loss

by Tom Ewer

There are a bunch of reasons as to why you should drink more water — not the least the fact that around 60% of your body is made up of the stuff. It stands to reason that you should keep your levels topped up. But for the purposes of this article, you should drink more water because it encourages weight loss and increases satiety.

One study conducted at Virginia Tech offers evidence of water’s weight loss effects. The following is a paraphrased summary of that study courtesy of Wikipedia:

Davy et al. took a group of 48 overweight and obese Americans aged 55 to 75 who were considered inactive and divided them randomly into two equal-sized groups. The control group followed a calorie-controlled diet equating to approximately 1,500 calories per day for the men and 1,200 calories per day for the women. The second group followed exactly the same diet but drank 500ml of water before each meal. Both groups kept up the diet for 12 weeks.

Although both groups lost weight on average, the water-drinking group lost about 5lbs more on average (an 30% increase in weight loss). Because the water-drinking group reported feeling both more full and less hungry, the researchers believe that the water acts to suppress appetite.

Subjective effects also reported by the water-drinking group were feeling less hungry, having a clearer mind and a better ability to think. There were no negative effects reported.

While this study is far from perfect (for instance, the sample size and physiology of the subjects is limited), it does point towards the positive effects of drinking plenty of water. Furthermore, the study is backed up by an enormous volume of anecdotal evidence of the benefits of water consumption on weight loss.

Finally, drinking water prior to meals is advised in order that you do not confuse thirst signals with hunger signals. In my experience, it also encourages you eat less than you might otherwise.

So go ahead – drink more water. What have you got to lose?

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