Standard weight loss advice often involves drinking water as your beverage of choice, but if you’re not a fan of the taste–or lack of taste–you may wonder whether water can really help you to lose weight. Though there is some debate as to why it helps you lose weight, drinking water will increase the amount of weight that you lose.
When your body is dehydrated, it cannot function properly. It may hold on to some of the water that it does have, resulting in “water weight gain,” and your metabolism cannot work to burn calories and fat. Additionally, many people do not recognize that their body is thirsty for water. Instead, you can misinterpret this thirst as hunger, and overeat. With enough water, however, you can better regulate your hunger and give your body the energy it needs to burn calories.
Feeling of Fullness
WebMD reports that a study conducted by Virginia Tech associate professor Brenda Davy found that those who drink two 8-oz. glasses of water before a meal will eat fewer calories during the meal. The water has no calories and begins to fill up the stomach, allowing less space for food. You can duplicate these results yourself.
Foods With Water
Foods that contain a lot of water–such as some fruits, vegetables and soups–often have few calories in relation to their size. This creates a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. For example, compare the size of 100 calories of watermelon with 100 calories of candy–the watermelon can take up considerably more space in your stomach than the candy, causing you to feel full.
How Much You Need
The usual advice is to drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day, but your needs may be different. If you exercise or if the weather is warm, you’ll need to drink more water to avoid dehydration. Some other types of drinks, like coffee or diet soda, are diuretics, which flush water from your body. If you drink these types of drinks as well, you should drink more water later on to make up for the lost water. Try to drink enough water so that your urine is a pale yellow, but not so much that you need to pee every hour.
Incorporating Water Into Your Diet
If you primarily drink other types of beverages, you may want to start by replacing just one or two of those drinks with a glass of water to help you ease your way into drinking more water, which can help you stay with it. It’s also helpful to keep a large bottle of water with you at all times. Sip on this throughout the day. If you don’t like water, try using a powdered drink mix to improve the taste. You can purchase small packages that mix right in with a bottle of water.