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.[citation needed]

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 circa 4-5 dl of water 30 minutes 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 (24 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]


  1. ^ a b "Pre-meal water consumption for weight loss". Australian Family Physician 42 (7): 478. July 2013. PMID 23826600. 
  2. ^ Stookey JD, Constant F, Popkin BM, Gardner CD (November 2008). "Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity". Obesity 16 (11): 2481–8. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.409. PMID 18787524. 
  3. ^ http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100823142929.htm[full citation needed]
  4. ^ Dubnov-Raz G, Constantini NW, Yariv H, Nice S, Shapira N (October 2011). "Influence of water drinking on resting energy expenditure in overweight children". International Journal of Obesity 35 (10): 1295–300. doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.130. PMID 21750519. 
  5. ^ Manz F (October 2007). "Hydration in children". Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26 (5 Suppl): 562S–569S. doi:10.1080/07315724.2007.10719659. PMID 17921466. 
  6. ^ Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Comber DL, et al. (February 2010). "Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults". Obesity 18 (2): 300–7. doi:10.1038/oby.2009.235. PMC 2859815. PMID 19661958. 
  7. ^ Vij VA, Joshi AS (September 2013). "Effect of 'water induced thermogenesis' on body weight, body mass index and body composition of overweight subjects". Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research 7 (9): 1894–6. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2013/5862.3344. PMC 3809630. PMID 24179891. 
  8. ^ Muckelbauer R, Sarganas G, Grüneis A, Müller-Nordhorn J (August 2013). "Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systematic review". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 98 (2): 282–99. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.055061. PMID 23803882. 
  9. ^ Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Hille U, et al. (December 2003). "Water-induced thermogenesis". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 88 (12): 6015–9. doi:10.1210/jc.2003-030780. PMID 14671205. 
  10. ^ Brown CM, Dulloo AG, Montani JP (September 2006). "Water-induced thermogenesis reconsidered: the effects of osmolality and water temperature on energy expenditure after drinking". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 91 (9): 3598–602. doi:10.1210/jc.2006-0407. PMID 16822824. 
  11. ^ Popkin BM, Barclay DV, Nielsen SJ (December 2005). "Water and food consumption patterns of U.S. adults from 1999 to 2001". Obesity Research 13 (12): 2146–52. doi:10.1038/oby.2005.266. PMID 16421349. 
  12. ^ Stookey JD, Constant F, Gardner CD, Popkin BM (December 2007). "Replacing sweetened caloric beverages with drinking water is associated with lower energy intake". Obesity 15 (12): 3013–22. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.359. PMID 18198310. 
  13. ^ Dennis EA, Flack KD, Davy BM (December 2009). "Beverage consumption and adult weight management: A review". Eating Behaviors 10 (4): 237–46. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2009.07.006. PMC 2864136. PMID 19778754. 
  14. ^ Rolls BJ (July 2009). "The relationship between dietary energy density and energy intake". Physiology & Behavior 97 (5): 609–15. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.03.011. PMC 4182946. PMID 19303887. 
  15. ^ Sichert-Hellert W, Kersting M (December 2004). "Home-made carbonated water and the consumption of water and other beverages in children and adolescents: results of the DONALD study". Acta Paediatrica 93 (12): 1583–7. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2004.tb00847.x. PMID 15841765.