Drink Up to Lose Big

UH OptiWeight Blogger Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

April 2nd, 2013

You hear it all the time: “Drink more water.” But can it really help you lose weight? Can something as simple as drinking water really help you shred those pesky pounds? Too often people turn to expensive foods, supplements and programs when something as simple and free as water could be the answer.

A few years back, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that older adults who drank two cups of water before breakfast, consumed 13 percent less calories than those who did not drink water before the meal. Since then, multiple studies have shown that drinking water before a meal leads to decreased food consumption at the subsequent meal. But now we have proof that this all actually results in weight loss!

Researchers out of Virginia Tech placed 40 obese adults on calorie-restricted diets and separated them into two groups. One group drank 16 oz of water before all meals. The other group did not. After three months, the group that drank 16 oz of water before meals lost an additional five pounds over the non water drinkers. This translated into a 44 percent increase in weight lost!

There are a few reasons why we think drinking water helps you lose weight. The first reason is when you are focusing on drinking more water that leaves less room for drinking calorie-dense liquids. If you choose a 16 oz Coke instead of that pre-meal water, you would consume an additional 208 calories per meal or two-to-four pounds gained a month. The second reason researchers have found is that drinking water triggers a slight increase in resting metabolism by encouraging the body to generate more heat. Your body is literately a furnace. The more heat it produces, the more calories you burn! The third (and possibly the most important!) reason is that our stomach tells our brain when we are full. As our stomach is stretched, it triggers impulses to our brain that alert us that we’re getting full. For everyone, this “alert” system is triggered by varying extents of stretching! If we drink 16 oz of water before meals, our stomach starts to stretch before we have even eaten any calories, which means we will feel fuller on fewer calories!

So fill up your water bottle. Drink up. And watch the pounds go down!

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