“Diet and exercise” – that’s the mantra that most people swear by, when it comes to losing weight the healthy way. But the word “diet” is more than just the food put on a plate. A very important component of a healthy diet is the amount of water a person drinks in a day.While drinking water is not a magic pill to shed those pounds faster, not being adequately hydrated could make weight loss a little harder.
Why do you need to drink water?
Water helps your body to function correctly. Water is required for a number of chemical reactions and metabolic processes that take place in individual cells, tissues and organs. But if you don’t drink sufficient water, these reactions and processes will not function the way they’re supposed to. And this could affect your overall metabolism.Let’s look at some of the ways water can help you in your weight loss program.
You’re not hungry… you’re just thirsty!
Sometimes, the body is not able to differentiate between hunger and thirst. So if you feel hungry and tempted to snack on high-calorie food, have a glass of water first. It could be that you are, in fact, just thirsty and the glass of water would make you feel full and prevent you from consuming the extra calories.
Water can help you eat lessDrinking water some time before a meal has its benefits in overall weight loss, possibly because you feel full and therefore tend to eat smaller portions of food at mealtime.
In one study, people who drank water before a meal ate about 75 calories fewer during the meal. That, in itself, may not seem like much. But 75 x 365 (days in a year) means 27375 calories less in a year, which corresponds to an approximately 4 kilo weight loss, without much effort on your part.
Water can help you digest your food better
Drinking sufficient quantities of water is also important for your kidneys to function correctly and reduce the risk of kidney stones. Water also helps to prevent constipation. Research seems to confirm the benefits of water during weight loss
There is no place here to discuss all the studies that talk about weight loss and water. But let us look at two studies:In one study, there were 48 overweight and obese middle-aged adults who were put on a low-calorie diet. Some of them were asked to drink about 500 ml of water before each of their three meals a day. At the end of three months, those who drank the extra water lost about 2 kgs more than those who didn’t drink water.
Another study looked at how people tend to gain weight as they get older. This study was carried out over 4 years. Those who had a higher intake of water and those who substituted their sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with water were less likely to put on weight over the years.
To drink or not to drink
If you are on a diet to lose weight, you will definitely be keeping an eye on your calories on your plate. But remember to watch your fluid intake as well!
Here’s a quick list of what you should drink and what you should stay a mile away from, when losing weight.
Keep these at reach:
- Water: If you’ve read this article, then you are already aware of how important and healthy it is to drink water and stay hydrated, when trying to lose weight
- 100% fruit juice: make sure you check the label first. Fruit juice often comes with added sugars and those can be high in calorie, though high in nutritive value
- Vegetable juice: While vegetable juice is often as nutritious as fruit juices, they often come with fewer calories and a lot of fibre
- Skimmed or low-fat milk: by giving you the goodness of calcium with far less calories, the low fat milk option is much better than whole milk, when on a diet.
- Black coffee: coffee is a good source of anti-oxidants and largely calorie-free, just as long as it’s black.
- Green tea: another great source of antioxidants, green tea may also aid weight loss
Stay away from
- Carbonated drinks: high in calories and low in nutrition, it’s best to avoid these – whether you’re on a diet or not
- Fruit juices with sugar: some fruit juices have as much sugar added as carbonated drinks. Make sure you check the labels before buying these
- Energy drinks: once again, check the label on these products first. While energy drinks provide a boost of much-needed energy, they are often high calorie drinks
- Alcohol: alcohol is high in calories, and that is without counting the fried snacks or nuts that usually accompany a glass of alcohol
According to a study, drinking 500 ml of water before every meal could help weight loss.