Does drinking water really help you lose weight? In this article, we are going to explain according to scientific studies carried out in the past years.
As part of a diet, what we eat is as important as what we drink. This well-known adage, repeated over and over again by many food specialists, can it become a slimming asset?
Bob Harper, a charismatic American sports coach, seems to believe it and has even made it his hobbyhorse.
This slimming specialist became famous by publicizing his unstoppable technique for losing weight: drinking several glasses of water before eating, while drastically limiting the number of calories ingested during meals.
This method, which has conquered many Americans, has also been strongly criticized by specialists who, while they agree that water is essential for the proper functioning of the metabolism, it should not be considered as a means of losing weight.
So is water your slimming ally? Here’s how to see it more clearly.
Warning: it is not recommended to drink too much water. A balanced diet and the practice of regular physical activity are the absolute prerequisites for good physical health.
As seen in the introduction, drinking water to lose weight is based on metabolic mechanisms studied by science.
Drinking water increases the number of calories burned, which is called resting energy expenditure or basal metabolic rate.
This energy expenditure at rest increases by 24 to 30% in the 10 minutes following water consumption.
A study of overweight women looked at the effects of increasing water intake to more than a liter a day without any other particular change in their lifestyle.
Over 12 months, this fluid intake resulted in an additional weight loss of 2 kg.
Several other studies of overweight people who drank 1 to 1.5 liters of water a day for a few weeks also found a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and body fat.
Drinking cold water consumes more calories. This is because the body uses extra calories to warm the water to body temperature.
It was an American coach, Bob Harper, who popularized this idea. His technique for losing weight was to drink several glasses of water before eating and significantly reduce the number of calories swallowed during meals.
The most surprising thing is that there seems to be some truth in this statement, at least among older people.
Studies in adults 55–75 years old have shown that drinking water before each meal can increase weight loss by 2 kg over 12 weeks.
In another study, middle-aged overweight and obese participants who drank water before each meal lost 44% more weight, compared to a group who drank no more water.
When the body is dehydrated, it cannot properly eliminate waste products in the form of urine or feces.
Water helps the kidneys filter out toxins and waste, while the organ retains essential nutrients and electrolytes. When the body is dehydrated, the kidneys retain fluid.
Dehydration can also lead to hard or lumpy stools and constipation. Water allows waste to flow by softening or loosening hard stools.
Water also helps the body recover from digestive problems, such as diarrhea and indigestion.
When waste builds up in the body, people can feel bloated, bloated, and tired. Bloating can add inches to a person’s height.
Water is a calorie-free alternative to energy drinks or fruit juices.
It’s easy to rack up liquid calories by drinking soda, fruit juice, or sweetened coffee or tea.
Most people are also unaware of the number of calories they consume in sports drinks or alcoholic beverages.
Replacing even a few high-calorie beverages each day with water or other zero-calorie beverages, such as herbal teas, can have long-term weight loss benefits.
Authors of a 2012 study found that replacing at least two high-calorie drinks with non-calorie drinks every day for 6 months resulted in an average weight loss of between 2 and 2.5% in a group of women with obesity.
In a 2015 study, participants drank 250ml of water after lunch each day while following a 24-week weight loss program.
Without water, the body cannot properly metabolize stored fats or carbohydrates.
The process of metabolizing fat is called lipolysis.
The first step in this process is hydrolysis, which occurs when water molecules interact with triglycerides (fats) to create glycerol and fatty acids.
Drinking enough water is essential for burning fat from food and drink, as well as stored fat.
A 2016 survey found that increased water intake led to increased lipolysis and fat loss in animal studies.
One of the most important parts of any weight loss plan is exercise. Water helps muscles, connective tissues, and joints to move properly.
It also helps the lungs, heart, and other organs work efficiently as they increase their activity during exercise.
Being hydrated reduces the risk of problems that can interfere with a good workout, such as muscle cramps and fatigue.
Always drink water before, during, and after exercise to avoid dehydration.
It’s essential to keep water on hand, especially if you’re exercising in hot, humid, or very sunny weather.
Recommended water intake is related to factors such as age and health.
There is no standard recommendation on how much water to drink. Some people need more or less water, depending on a variety of factors, including:
Most health authorities offer daily water intake ranges:
•2700 ml/day for adult women
•3700 ml/day for adult men
Many dieticians claim that water is an ally, but not a determining element.
To lose weight, a healthy, balanced diet associated with physical activity are the only effective remedy.
” Drinking water before meals can help lose weight if the person in question adopts a healthier diet and increases their physical activity,” conclude the authors of the British study.
For drinking water to be effective, it is important to follow certain rules.
Contrary to what was tested during these two studies, most nutritionists advise drinking water in reasonable quantities and regularly, rather than swallowing half a liter or even two liters in one go.
When we talk about water, we are of course talking about pure water. It is useless to drink two liters of coffee, tea, or fruit juice, they will not have the same effect.
This does not mean that you should no longer drink coffee to lose weight, simply that water only has all its virtues when consumed naturally!
To try the benefits of the appetite suppressant effect of water, it is advisable to drink one or two glasses, no more, about 20 to 30 minutes before eating.
Be careful, this effect is short-lived, which is why it should not be abused by consuming too much water, it would only give you a good craving between two meals.
Drinking lemon water to lose weight is advice often given. Adding lemon juice to water has various benefits.
Indeed, the citric acid it contains helps regulate the body’s pH and stimulates the digestive system and the body’s immune defenses.
From a slimming point of view, lemon is an excellent ally for stimulating the production of bile and digestive enzymes and facilitating digestion.
Stimulating the liver also promotes the elimination of toxins. However, it is not a miracle cure and it should not replace a varied and balanced diet.
Drinking water to lose weight is therefore a valid approach, but other foods can also contribute.
Green tea contains many antioxidants. its slimming effects are widely documented.
Consuming green tea increases fat burning and facilitates weight loss. Green tea can increase energy expenditure by 4% and increase selective fat burning by up to 17%.
For twelve weeks, 84 adults aged 56 on average and suffering from obesity ( with a BMI greater than 30 ) agreed to follow a personalized diet.
At the start of the experiment, all the volunteers received advice from a coach for 30 minutes on their lifestyle and eating habits.
For example: reduce fat intake, increase their consumption of vegetables, and fruits and have regular physical activity.
Out of the whole group, 41 volunteers were asked to drink half a liter of tap water, half an hour before eating.
Carbonated water, sodas, or sugary drinks were prohibited as part of the study. The other participants simply had to imagine their stomachs full before the meal.
A deliberately ineffective instruction to be able to compare the benefits of taking water before a meal.
At the end of the experiment, the group of drinkers lost an average of 2.4 kg, while the others had lost an average of 1.2 kg.
A habit that is all the more effective when it is regular: those who said they drank their pint of water before the three main meals of the day lost an average of 4.3 kg over the entire experience.
The 1.3kg benefit over 12 months fails to rival the promises of miracle cures.
But for the researchers, this gesture pays off over a long period. With few constraints and frustrations, this small daily habit could prevent relapses.
“Usually a person who eats less during one meal will compensate with the next. The fact that these results are maintained over twelve weeks is interesting, ”explains Figaro Jean-Michel Lecerf, a doctor specializing in nutrition and researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Lille.
On the other hand, for him, it remains to be proven that this method works without varying eating habits. “It is not enough to fill the stomach with water to lose weight, you also have to change your bad reflexes,” he concludes.
Drinking the recommended liter and a half of water per day is not always easy.
Fortunately, some tricks make it easy to increase your daily water intake:
•Make scented waters by infusing fruit and mint in freshwater
•Thinking about iced teas to enjoy drinking
•Tea and coffee also increase daily hydration by 1 to 3 cups maximum
•Add lemon juice to water
•Systematically carry a small bottle of water on daily trips
•Set an alarm to remember to drink once every hour
Please note that fruit juices, sodas, syrups, or milk cannot replace water and are not equivalent.
They are to be consumed in moderation and occasionally.
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