Replacing other beverages with plain drinking water can improve weight loss | #24CarrotDiet

Healthy Living Help: Will Drinking Water Before Meals Help You Lose Weight?

Drinking More Water to Lose Weight

The benefits of drinking water are a hot topic these days. Water is one of the five macronutrients your body needs every day. Drinking water helps your body regulate its temperature. Your body also uses water to lubricate and cushion your joints, and to carry oxygen and nutrients to your cells.

Water helps to protect your organs, brain and spinal cord. It’s also necessary to maintain moisture in sensitive areas of your body like your eyes and mouth. Drinking enough water can reduce the load on your kidneys and help keep you regular.

With all of these important functions of water in your body, it’s no wonder that water is an essential nutrient. But did you know that drinking water can also help you lose weight? Studies have shown that drinking water before meals can help you decrease your caloric intake. How much water should you drink to lose weight? Read on to learn more!


Drinking water daily can significantly improve weight loss - #24CarrotDiet
Drinking 4 glasses of water a day can help you lose more than 4 lbs in a year
(Graphic made in Canva from a public domain image by Pixabay user congerdesign

Are You at Risk for Obesity?

Age, gender, genetics, and medical conditions all play a role in your risk of becoming obese. But obviously, being overweight is also a matter of taking in more calories than you use. Even if that only happens occasionally, you can slowly become obese over a number of years.

This creeping obesity can happen because of holiday weight gain. When you overeat during a vacation or the Christmas holidays, for example. If you gain a pound or less, you may tend to forgive yourself. It’s easy to decide that your clothes still fit, so there’s no need to lose the weight. When that happens once or more a year, year after year, it starts to add up pretty quickly.

Eating meals at restaurants or ordering take-out can also put you at risk for obesity. Commercially prepared meals are often higher in fat and added sugars than home cooking. So even if you try to order healthy meals like salads, you could be taking in a lot more calories than if you made the same food yourself at home.

The Cost of Healthy Food

While you have control over how much shrimp cocktail you scarf down at Christmas and how often you eat out, you can’t control the cost of food. A recent news report estimated that a family of four would need to earn roughly $100,000 a year to be able to afford healthy food. According to the latest census data, the average Canadian household earns $70,336 a year.

So obviously, a lot of Canadians are going to struggle in order to put healthy food on the table. And when you’re in this kind of situation, you often don’t have the resources to take advantage of cost cutting measures like shopping sales or buying in bulk. You also may not be able to afford simple measures designed to help you lose weight, like eating low calorie soup before a meal.

Luckily, there are some weight loss strategies that don’t involve buying more foods. Drinking water before meals is one weight loss option that doesn’t have to cost you anything.



How Much Drinking Water is Good for Health?

You may have been told that you should drink eight glasses of water each day to stay healthy. That’s pretty close to what science tells us, but it’s a bit more complicated than you may think. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the healthy fluid intake for men is 15.5 cups per day. For women, the amount is 11.5 cups. But that includes roughly 20% of fluids that come from solid foods, such as vegetables that are high in water content.

Making the adjustment for fluids that come from foods, the average woman needs just over 9 cups of water daily. If you are pregnant, you should increase your fluid intake to 10 cups a day. If you are breastfeeding, you’ll need 13 cups of fluids per day.

You’ll also need more fluids if you live at high altitude or in a hot climate, or exercise a lot. And in general, if you’re sick you may also need to drink more. For example, drinking hot beverages every four hours can help to reduce cold symptoms. And if you have a fever or are suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, your body will need more liquids too.

Can Drinking a Lot of Water Make You Lose Weight?

Can drinking a lot of water make you lose weight? Scientific data shows that it can. You can benefit by increasing your daily water intake to at least 4 cups a day. Drinking water before meals can also help you lower your caloric intake. Fewer calories in and more calories used to exercise will ultimately lead to weight loss.

You may have read claims that drinking water can raise your metabolism. I was pretty skeptical about these claims, myself. But it turns out they are supported by science.



How Much Water Should You Drink to Lose Weight?

If you are looking into the advantages of water, you may hear that other beverages (e.g. tea and coffee, fruit juices, sports drinks, diet drinks, etc.) also count towards your daily fluid intake. But if you are drinking water to lose weight, you should be aware that water can help you lose weight in ways that other beverages cannot.

An analysis of the Stanford A TO Z study looked at the effects of drinking water on weight loss. It showed that drinking water replacing other beverages drinks with water improved weight loss results for overweight women who were following a calorie-reduced diet. More importantly, the weight loss was not just the result of replacing a caloric beverage with a zero-calorie beverage.

Diet drinks didn’t produce the same effects as drinking water. And the women’s total weight loss (about 2 kg, or 4.4 lb in a year) was greater than if it were only due to the replacement of caloric drinks with water. That’s right: the magic only works if you’re drinking water, ladies!

And how much water should you drink to lose weight? Women in the Stanford Study who drank at least 1 litre of water a day lost weight. If you are exercising and eating a calorie-reduced diet, drinking 4 cups of water a day can improve your weight loss results by more than 4 pounds in one year. That more than makes up for your holiday weight gain. And it can help you to reverse that creeping obesity before it catches up to you.



Drinking Water Before Meals: The Bottom Line

Most women need to drink at least 9 cups of water or other fluids a day, just to maintain health. While other beverages do count for the purpose of maintaining your fluid balance, if you want to lose weight you’ll get the greatest impact from drinking water.

  • Replacing caloric drinks and zero-calorie drinks with water can improve weight loss;

  • The water accounts for more weight loss than if you were just eliminating the calories from juices, sweetened tea and coffee, etc. Drinking water does seem to increase your metabolism;

  • Drinking water before a meal can help you to eat less at that meal;

  • Try to drink at least 4 glasses, or one litre, or water each day;

  • Drinking water while taking other steps to lose weight can improve your weight loss by about 2 kg or 4.4 lbs.

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Original content © 2018 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

14 thoughts on “Healthy Living Help: Will Drinking Water Before Meals Help You Lose Weight?”

    1. I love lemon in hot water too. I started drinking it after meals when I was working in a hospital, and it quickly became my favourite after-dinner drink. I find it very refreshing. I’ve never tried it before bedtime, except when I’ve had a cold or a sore throat. But I imagine it would help you sleep.

    1. I don’t much care for soft drinks (except unsweetened soda water) and I cut out juice a few years ago, though I do still sometimes drink a sweetened lemonade. I find when I do indulge in a sweet drink, I actually feel more hungry later in the day. And even when I try to stick to healthy food choices, I have a much harder time satisfying my hunger.
      </br />Those sweet drinks really do make a difference! I’m trying to stick to my water, and a cup of tea or coffee once or twice a day.

  1. I’m not trying to lose weight–I need to be gaining weight for the baby! But I have fallen in love with drinking water during this pregnancy, it feels like water is the magic cure-all that always makes me feel better, less nauseated, etc. But I have some family members still going strong in their new year’s resolutions for healthier eating habits, and I’ll tell them the info I learned about the effects of drinking more water from this article!
    Rachel G recently posted…10k Race Recap – It was actually an 8k, also, the “Death March” and essence of fish.My Profile

    1. Congratulations on your pregnancy, Rachel! Drinking water is important when you’re pregnant, so good on you for keeping it up. And if you plan to breastfeed, you’ll need even more water after the baby is born.

      If you are interested in reading more about healthy foods to help you gain weight in a gradual, controlled fashion, I do also have a post on that 🙂

  2. Somewhere along the line I think I read that adding lemon to warm water as your first drink of the day, along with the increased water intake, can help in losing weight. I don’t remember where I heard that now. I do agree that drinking water with each meal (which I do as I prefer it) aids in weight loss or at least helps in weight maintenance (not gaining).

    1. I’m a big fan of lemon in hot water, though I don’t know if there’s any science to support any health claims. I started drinking this beverage with meals back in the 80s, but I love it any time of day. I actually prefer it to sweetened lemonade.

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