December 2, 2023

When it comes to losing weight, exercise and diet are crucial, but there’s one more thing you need to consume more of in order to shed some more pounds.

People who want to lose weight can benefit from increasing their daily water intake of water. This healthy habit is not only affordable, but it is also widely available and supported by scientific research. Newsweek spoke to multiple experts to understand how increasing your water intake can help you decrease the amount of calories you consume.

In a 2013 study, 50 overweight women were asked to drink 500 milliliters of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner. In total, they drank 1.5 liters of water daily for eight weeks. The researchers from the department of physiology at Dr D.Y. Patil Medical College and Hospital in India found that there was a decrease in body weight, body mass index (BMI) and body composition.

How Much Water Should You Drink to Lose Weight?

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men, and around 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

One CivicScience poll revealed that almost half (47 percent) of Americans consume less than the daily recommended amount. The consumer analytics platform surveyed 2,861 U.S. adults and found that only 53 percent of participants drink more than eight glasses per day. The results also found that men are slightly more likely than women to report drinking more water.

Nutrition professor Dr. Joan Salge Blake, who works at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, shared some ways that may help people consume more water without sipping a glass of H2O.

Add Fruit or Vegetables

Blake told Newsweek: “One of the best ways to increase your water intake is to enhance its flavor. This can be done by infusing it with slices of lemons, limes, berries or cucumbers. You can do this easily by keeping a pitcher of water with these fruit or veggies slices in your refrigerator. But, one of my favorite pitchers to use is…designed with produce infusion in mind. If you are on-the-go, you can also get a water bottle designed with the same concept.”

Have a Bowl of Soup Before Dinner

A bowl of vegetable soup is predominately made from water that is flavored with a stock cube and chunks of vegetables. Research suggests that consuming a low calorie, vegetable soup prior to a meal can curb your appetite and reduce the calories consumed at that meal by about 20 percent.

“According to this research, there are physiological mechanisms that explain why a low calorie, veggie-based soup prior to a meal may exert this effect,” Blake said. “The high, liquid volume of the soup along with the veggies may expand the stomach and delay its emptying so that you feel more satiated and will eat less at the meal. This will decrease your overall daily calorie intake. Veggie soup is a perfect warm, meal accompaniment as the outdoor temperatures drop if you should wish to lose some weight.”

Dr. Joan Salge Blake
Two stills from the video provided by nutrition professor Dr. Joan Salge Blake. She has provided tips that may help you drink more water.
Dr. Joan Salge Blake/Dr. Joan Salge Blake

Are You Actually Hungry or Just Thirsty?

Sometimes people mistake hunger for thirst and eat more calories without realizing it.

Blake told Newsweek: “In my experience working with individuals who want to lose some excess weight, some folks confuse their feelings of hunger with thirst. Drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day may help hydrate them and reduce mindless munching.”

However, it is important to know that drinking water isn’t going to achieve your dream body on it’s own. But it can certainly help. Dr. Ernie Vesta, a former emergency room and primary care physician, explained that drinking water fulfills our urge to eat food.

Vesta, the chief medical officer for healthcare company Curally told Newsweek: “Feeling full is accomplished in a few ways. The body is full of sensors, informing us consciously and subconsciously on the body’s state of control or normalness. These sensors include some of which we are aware and some we are not. One sensor system is that of our feeling full, known in the medical community as satiety.

“Sensors related to fullness relate to levels body substances such as sugar. Others we recognize such as the fullness of our stomach, may be related to the tastiness of food. One such way to reset these sensors is to consume water. Swallowing water tends to satisfy our habit of putting things in our mouth. It also informs our stomach stretch receptors, and “short circuits” the “food equals full” feeling.”

Another study, conducted in 2009, found that people who drank 500 milliliters of water before a meal ate 44 percent fewer calories than those who didn’t drink water before the meal. Vesta explained it takes around 20 minutes for our satiety center to say we are full.

L-R: Dr. Ernie Vesta, a former ER and primary care physician, nutrition professor Dr. Joan Salge Blake and Dr. Carl P. Giordano, a chief science editor spoke to Newsweek about the importance of drinking water.

Upping Water Intake May Help Speed Up Metabolism

According to one 2003 study, drinking 500 milliliters of water can increase metabolic rate by 30 percent. The group of researchers based in Berlin, Germany, found that the increase occurred within ten minutes and reached a maximum after 30 to 40 minutes.

Newsweek also spoke to the co-founder and chief science officer of Rebesana, a nutraceutical supplement company.

Dr. Carl P. Giordano told Newsweek: “Water is essential for many metabolic processes, including the breakdown of fat. A study found that drinking 17 ounces of water increased resting energy expenditure by 24 percent in women and 30 percent in men. Drinking enough water before, during, and after exercise can also help you perform better and burn more calories.”

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