Water: Why is it Important for Weight Loss?
Water is the most essential substance for life aside from air, and your body needs to be replenished regularly. Among all of the reasons to stay hydrated and all of the functions of water in the human body, there is one more. Drinking plenty of water is important for weight loss for several reasons.
Water: Calorie-Free and Filling
One of the most basic and elementary reasons that plain water is important for weight loss is that it is a completely calorie-free beverage. Some research studies have shown that individuals that ‘eat’ their calories versus ‘drinking’ them (with a possible exception of a filling protein-based smoothie), tend to weigh less and have an easier time controlling their body weight. When you drink few calories, you have more room (in your calorie allotment) for foods. Choosing water frequently throughout the day can replace snacks and help you to avoid unnecessary calories from second helpings at mealtime.
The decades-old recommendation is still true today – water fills your stomach so that you feel less hungry throughout the day. Nutrition experts agree, drinking calorie-free fluids, such as water and even tea, before or with a meal can help a dieter feel full sooner than a person that does not drink water or tea before or with a meal.
Foods with a High Water Content
In addition to drinking calorie-free beverages, consuming juicy, fresh, whole foods with a high water content, such as fruits (especially watermelon and citrus fruits) and vegetables (especially cucumbers and lettuce), add fluid to your diet. These foods displace higher-calorie options while aiding in satiety or a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Like water, low-calorie fruits and vegetables, clear soups and broths help you to feel full on fewer calories, which contributes to weight loss. Other fluid-heavy options, such as non-fat no-added sugar yogurts and/or puddings aid in hydration (and nutrition) without excessive calories.
Hydration for Metabolic Lift?
It is true that one of the major functions of water is hydration and to flush waste from your system. However, some believe that drinking water, while on a weight loss diet, aids in ‘detoxification’ and enhances fat metabolism (speeds up the rate at which you burn fat). This concept, by and large, is not supported by valid, reliable scientific evidence.
There was, however, a small study on water intake and metabolic rate (rate at which calories are burned) conducted at Berlin’s Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center and published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in December 2003. Researchers tracked fourteen healthy, normal-weight men and women and measured their energy expenditure after the participants drank 17 ounces of water. Their metabolic rates increased significantly within 10 minutes of consumption, reaching a maximum effect after 40 minutes. Researchers estimated, that, over one year, if an individual increases his water intake by 1.5 liters a day, he may expend an extra 17,400 calories total (yielding a 5 pound weight loss). Unfortunately, this adds up to only a few calories a day and nutrition experts agree that any effect on weight-loss would be very modest. Even if the findings were confirmed and repeated, the effect is insignificant.