Drinking water can help burn calories and lose weight
Centuries ago, one of my obese friends back in high school went through a complete body morphing change by drinking water to lose weight. He did not only drink water, he added other liquids such as orange juice and milk but those latter two are slightly frowned upon in most modern diet plans.
My friend (let’s refer to him as Joe) obviously was not a nutritionist, as he told me the attempt to lose weight by drinking water was just an experiment. He did mention he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. He ate lots of food, snacked frequently, and exercised very occasionally. Curiously, I wanted to figure out how the science worked behind Joe’s dramatic weight loss since he lost about 20 pounds in about 2 months.
After browsing around, studies on PubMed Central have stated that drinking water increases the amount of calories burned. The sole process of the body burning calories is known as resting energy expenditure. Within 10 minutes of consuming water, resting energy expenditure in humans has been shown to increase by 24 to 30 percent. This takes at least 60 minutes to complete.
A study of overweight and obese children found a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure after drinking cold water. The effects of increasing water intake to 34 ounces per day on overweight women were investigated by PubMed Central. They discovered that over the course of a year, this resulted in an additional 4.4 pounds of weight loss. This didn’t include any additional lifestyle changes like strenuous exercise. This was strictly an increase of water intake.
These studies concluded that by consuming 17 ounces (half liter) of drinking water, the body burns an extra 23 calories. Multiply that to a full year, that means over 8,000 calories are burned. Studies have also indicated that drinking cold water can cause the body to work harder and burn more calories since it takes more energy to increase the temperature of the water to match the body’s temperature.
Without knowing Joe’s exact schedule, I was not able to determine exactly when or how much water and liquids he drank. It could have been a ridiculous or miniscule amount. One thing is for sure, consuming enough water can cause the body to become more full which leads to more hydration, more micturition (urinating), and less eating overall. Including the results of the studies, that was all I needed to learn. It was enough proof that the body will work to dispose of the water, and in the long run that process is enough to cut calories and weight off.
There is water in all food and beverages, and consuming those can help add up to the daily recommended 8 glasses a day. Note to self and to all others looking to lose weight: Drink more water. As the saying goes, “If you’re hungry, you might actually be thirsty.” To note, my findings are not advising to drink an excess amount of water, as that can lead to dangerous consequences. Remember to always seek out a nutritionist for professional help.