Can Drinking Water Speed Weight Loss ?
While the abundance of diet books and programs may be confusing, there are
several principles that they all have in common. One is the value of exercising
in conjunction with dieting. Another is the recommendation to drink 8 to 10
glasses of water. In fact, these recommendations are so common that the average
"dieter" tunes them out. Drinking water may also seem like too simple a recommendation
to help you lose weight. The theory behind this recommendation has always been
that drinking sufficient amounts of water may actually make you feel full, and
therefore, be less likely to want to overeat. Some people also believe that
drinking sufficient amounts of water may help your body to clear metabolic waste
products more efficiently. However, a new report from The Journal of Clinical
Endocrinology and Metabolism (12/03) suggests that drinking sufficient water
may actually increase the metabolic rate, or the rate at which people burn calories.
While the researchers admit that the impact of their findings were small, this
information could still potentially help with weight-control programs. In weight
management, small daily improvements and behavioral changes can accrue for a
significant long-term result.
This study, conducted at Berlin's Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center, was
a very small one. Researchers tracked caloric intake and energy expenditures
among seven men and seven women who were healthy and not overweight.
After drinking approximately 17 ounces of water
(slightly more than 2 glasses), the subjects' metabolic rates increased by 30%
for both men and women. The increases occurred within 10 minutes of water consumption
and reached a maximum after about 30 to 40 minutes.
Interestingly, the increase in metabolic rate
differed in men and women. In men, burning more fat fueled the increase in metabolism,
whereas in women, an increased breakdown of carbohydrates caused the increase
in metabolism seen.
The researchers estimate that over the course of a year, a person who increases
his water consumption by 1.5 liters a day without making any other changes would
burn an extra 17,400 calories, for an additional weight loss of approximately
five pounds. They suggest that up to 40% of the increase in calorie burning
is caused by the body's attempt to heat the ingested water. Obviously, larger
studies would be necessary to confirm these preliminary findings. Regardless
of whether they are confirmed, drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water per day is
an easy, harmless, and free first step for dieters.
Created: 3/9/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.