Hydration and Weight Loss: Is There a Link?

Hydration and Weight Loss

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Weight loss can be the result of a variety of factors. Some of these factors are obvious and commonly suggested to help achieve weight loss goals, such as regular exercise and dieting. However, weight loss can also occur as a result of other, less obvious factors. While some niche or alternative weight loss methods have been clearly linked to reliable results, such as certain weight loss medications, other methods have a more tenuous link. One such method is drinking water to promote weight loss.

Though not as solid as with other methods, drinking water has been tentatively linked with improving weight loss. In this article, we will cover the link between drinking water and losing weight, the evidence supporting this link, and whether drinking water can actually help you lose weight.

Can drinking water help improve weight loss?

Drinking water on a regular basis has been linked to weight loss. While this link has been loosely established, there needs to be more evidence to state it as fact. As of now, it is thought that there are two primary ways in which hydration can result in weight loss. Research suggests that regular hydration can both increase an individual’s metabolic rate and lessen calorie intake. Let’s take a look at each of these ideas in more detail.

Can drinking water help burn calories?

Unlike exercise, drinking water does not directly cause the body to burn calories. However, research suggests that regular hydration can have an indirect effect on calorie burning. This indirect effect is caused by an increase in the body’s sympathetic activity, which in turn increases metabolic activity, resulting in the body burning more calories for energy. Hydration, especially after a meal, has been linked to increasing this sympathetic activity.

Though hydration has been linked to calorie burning, not just any water at any time will do. As we mentioned, drinking water after a meal was found to have the greatest impact on calorie burning, but this impact increased further when the water was warm. The effect on calorie burning was lessened, though still present, when drinking cold water, though room temperature was found to have little effect, if any at all.

Also Read: Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss – What’s The Difference

Can drinking water reduce calorie intake?

In addition to burning calories, hydration has been linked to reducing calorie intake. This link is for two reasons, one much more evident than the other. First, by replacing other drinks, such as energy drinks, soft drinks, juices, and so on, with water, you will dramatically reduce the amount of calories you consume. While it’s easy to view food as the main source of calorie consumption, it’s just as easy to overlook our calorie intake from drinks. For some people, this can be a big reason why their weight loss isn’t proceeding as quickly as they think it should, and making the switch to water can be the solution.

Drinking water can also reduce appetite, helping you feel less hungry and cut down on calorie intake as a result. By drinking water just before a meal, the reduction in appetite can be more pronounced, resulting in lower calorie consumption. In a sense, drinking water can almost be seen as a dietary tool, given its suppressing effect on appetite. However, it should be noted that research into this effect, and the wider effects of hydration on weight loss, is sparse.

Does drinking water reduce weight gain?

Drinking water can have an indirect impact on weight gain, due to the tenuous link between calorie burning and the effect on appetite. Although this link can’t be taken as definitive, regular hydration may be able to reduce weight gain. Individuals who regularly drink water may experience weaker feelings of hunger, increased metabolic activity resulting in greater calorie burning, and reduced overall calorie intake compared to individuals who regularly consume alternative beverages. However, drinking water cannot be considered an especially reliable method of reducing weight gain on its own, and it certainly won’t be able to offset a large intake of calories.

Also Read: Understanding Overeating

Can drinking water help reduce body fat?

While hydration has been linked to the reduction of calorie intake, increase in calorie burning, and consequent reduction in weight gain, there is no evidence that drinking water can help reduce body fat. However, given the other benefits of regular hydration, drinking water can be a useful component of your weight loss journey when paired with other methods. Drinking water may also help improve the effectiveness of other methods. For example, regular exercise coupled with regular hydration can be an effective method of losing body fat. Equally, cutting down on high-calorie foods, such as junk food, 

How much water should I drink each day?

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that suggests a certain amount of water consumed daily will result in weight loss. However, drinking water has been linked firmly to other health benefits. Experts recommend a general guideline of 2.2 litres per day for women, and 3 litres per day for men. However, some individuals may need to drink more or less than this guideline. If you feel tired or regularly experience dry skin or a dry mouth despite drinking the suggested amount of water, you may find drinking more to be beneficial. 

Wrapping up

There is not a definitive link between hydration and weight loss, though there is some evidence to suggest it can have some effect. Some research suggests that hydration can help reduce calorie intake by suppressing feelings of hunger, especially when water is consumed shortly before a meal. Similarly, some evidence suggests that hydration can improve sympathetic activity, increasing the body’s metabolic rate and resulting in the body burning more energy. In other words, research suggests that drinking water can both increase the burning of calories, and reduce the amount of calories consumed. However, this effect cannot be considered proven, as further research is required.

Drinking water can still be a reliable method of reducing calorie intake for some individuals, however. By swapping out high-calorie, sugar-rich drinks with water, individuals can remove a notable source of unhealthy calories and replace it with a healthier alternative. That said, hydration alone will not enable you to rapidly lose weight. If you want to embark on your weight loss journey, adding other methods to your weight loss plan, such as exercise or a well-researched diet, is more likely to get you results.

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Ian Weight Loss

Lost 5st 4lbs
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Best thing since a slice of cake.! After seeing a picture of myself at Christmas 2015, l decided to do something so l took the plunge and phoned Alevere.  Hard bit done, the diet is simple, follow it as advised, and watch the pounds fall off, and they literally did.  The hardest thing is walking through the doors, but remember everyone there is in your shoes. I feel 21 again.

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