Weight loss effects of water

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See also: Fluid balance

The apparent weight loss effects of water have been subject to some scientific research.[1]

This evidence has been used by some of the scientists who worked on this research, and by others, to bolster suggestions that people who are trying to lose weight can benefit from augmenting – but not replacing – their dietary programs by drinking water, either before meals or at any time. Such advice had previously been given by dieticians even before the most recent research was published.

Energy impact[edit]

Energy regulation[edit]

There is some evidence drinking water before or during a meal may help aid weight loss when used in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet.[1]

Drinking water prior to each meal may help in appetite suppression. A promising approach to reducing appetite which does not involve taking any drugs, and is very safe, is to drink a moderate amount[quantify] of water before a meal. Though this had been a folk remedy for overeating for many years, and is recommended by some dieticians and stipulated in some scientific studies, it was only recently that the approach was subjected to a scientific randomised controlled trial to see how much effect it had:

  • A 2008 study concluded that drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity.[2]
  • A 2010 study concluded that people that consumed two cups (500 mL) of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal.[3]
  • A 2011 study conducted on obese children concluded that water drinking on resting energy expenditure was significant.[4] Pediatricians agree that hydration in children may be optimal only in breastfed infants.[5]
  • A 2011 study conducted on middle-aged and older adults (aged ≥40 years) given 500 mL 30 minutes before meal 3 times daily for 12 weeks found that the individuals lost 2 kg body weight compared to the control group.[6]
  • A 2013 study conducted on adults 18-23 concluded that when they were given 500 mL given 3 times daily for 8 weeks they lost body weight.[7]
  • A 2013 study concluded reviewed that Studies of individuals dieting for weight loss or maintenance suggest a weight-reducing effect of increased water consumption.[8]


One study found that drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30% after 30-40 min with a total thermogenic response of 100 kJ (95 kcal)(100 kJ ≠ 95 kcal). About 40% of the thermogenic effect originated from warming the water from 22 to 37 °C.[9] However, a later study in 2006 states that approximately 500 mL 3 °C cold water caused only increase in energy expenditure by 4.5% for 60 minutes.[10]

Dietary changes[edit]

Research by Barry Popkin et al. has shown that people who drink lots of water eat more vegetables and fruits,[11] drink fewer sugary beverages, and consume fewer total calories.[12] The reason for drinking less sugary beverages would likely be that the increased water substitutes for them in the diet, quenching the thirst so that the person does not feel as much need to drink sugary beverages.

Increased water consumption, or replacement of energy-containing beverages with energy-free beverages,[13] or consumption of water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables with a lower energy density,[14] may help in weight management.

Motivation for higher water intake[edit]

Carbonated water[edit]

Main article: Carbonated water

One study states that consumers of carbonated water prepared at home had significantly higher mean drinking water intake (tap + bottled + carbonated water) in percentage of total water intake than non-consumers, and lower mean intakes of milk, bottled water and tap water, respectively;[15]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Melissa C Daniels and Barry M Popkin (September 2010), Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review, Nutrition Reviews 68 (9): 505–521, doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00311.x 


  1. ^ a b "Pre-meal water consumption for weight loss". Australian Family Physician 42 (7): 478. 2013. 
  2. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18787524
  3. ^ http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100823142929.htm
  4. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21750519
  5. ^ Friedrich Manz, MD (2007). "Hydration in Children". Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26 (90005): 562S–569S. doi:10.1080/07315724.2007.10719659. 
  6. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859815/
  7. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809630/
  8. ^ http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/06/26/ajcn.112.055061
  9. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205
  10. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16822824
  11. ^ Barry M. Popkin, Denis V. Barclay and Samara J. Nielsen, Water and Food Consumption Patterns of U.S. Adults from 1999 to 2001, Obesity 13 (12): 2146–2152, doi:10.1038/oby.2005.266 
  12. ^ Jodi D. Stookey, Florence Constant, Christopher D. Gardner and Barry M. Popkin (December 2007), Replacing Sweetened Caloric Beverages with Drinking Water Is Associated with Lower Energy Intake, Obesity 15 (12): 3013–3022, doi:10.1038/oby.2007.359 
  13. ^ "Beverage consumption and adult weight management: A review". Eat Behav 10 (4): 237–46. December 2009. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2009.07.006. PMC 2864136. PMID 19778754. 
  14. ^ "The relationship between dietary energy density and energy intake". Physiol. Behav. 97 (5): 609–15. July 2009. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.03.011. PMID 19303887. 
  15. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15841765