Does Drinking Water Help With Weight Loss?

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This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

When you started losing weight you probably received the advice to drink more water. But does drinking water actually help with weight loss? And if so how much do you need to drink?

Staying hydrated is important for your general health but does it also help weight loss?

The short answer is yes. Find out how it works, how much you have to drink and how much weight loss results it can get you.

Drinking water can help you burn more calories

The first way drinking water can help you lose weight is by simply increasing the amount of calories you burn (1).

In one study (2) energy expenditure increased by 24% over the course of 60 min after ingesting 500 ml of water. In another study (3) they saw an increase of up to 30%.

The second study estimated that the total effect of 500 ml of water would be around 100 kJ (about 24 calories). In theory you could burn up to 100 calories a day extra by drinking an extra 2 liters of water.

The exact amount will most likely be different from person to person but those are still promising results. A lot of people would be happy with burning an extra 100 calories a day.

You can most likely burn even more calories if you drink your water cold. The low temperature can make your body use more energy (calories) to heat back up.

Water can reduce hunger

Drinking water can help reduce your appetite.

Hunger and cravings are common reasons why people fail to stick to their weight loss habits. Avoiding these can be very beneficial for your progress.

One study showed that consuming water before breakfast reduced the amount of calories they ate by about 13% (4).

Another study concludes the same but only for middle aged individuals. The healthy, non-obese, younger individuals didn’t show any significant difference (5).

It’s not yet completely clear whether that’s the way it works. More research data still might conclude different things.

Water can reduce hunger for weight loss

Relation between water and weight loss

The previous 2 weight loss related benefits of water explain why so many studies find a relation between drinking more water and losing weight.

Drinking an extra 2 liters of water a day can help you burn an extra 100 calories a day that means in a week you burn an extra 700 calories. Keep this up for 5 weeks and you’ve burned up to the amount of calories in a pound of body fat.

The good part about water is also that it doesn’t contain any calories.

Drinking 500 ml of water before a meal showed a 44% greater decline compared to a group that didn’t drink any water before a meal (6).

Other studies suggest the same idea that drinking water indeed helps weight loss (7, 8, 9).

How much water should you drink?

Now before you start sipping water all day keep in mind that too much can be bad too.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend:

  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women
  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men

These recommendations include fluids from water, other beverages and food. For most people around 20 percent of their daily fluid intake comes from food, the rest from drinks like water.

Of course this amount varies from individual to individual because of height, weight,….

If you live in a warm climate and sweat a lot you will most likely need more water. Being physically active can also increase the amount of water you need.

drinking water to regulate body temperature

Tips to make your water better

For some people drink an extra 2 liters of water sounds like quite the effort.

Some things you can do are flavoring up your water with healthy things (for example lemon), setting times you will drink a glass, or just keeping a motivational water bottle with you throughout the day.

Here are a few other ways to drink more water.

Is drinking water the holy grail of weight loss?

If you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day there is room for a nice amount of extra calorie burning.

Water can be beneficial for some extra weight loss. Filtering it can make it even more healthy.

Just keep in mind that other lifestyle habits are still important if you want to see considerable weight loss results.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.