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Water before Meals now Proven for Weight Loss

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers from the American Chemical Society have proven that water can help with weight loss. Pounds lost in a group of study participants who drank water were compared to non-water drinkers in a first clinical trial showing the benefits for fighting obesity.

Over a twelve week period, and combined with a low calorie diet, water drinkers lost 4.5 pounds more than a control group of 48 study participants – 15.5 and 11 pounds respectively.

Water and Weight Loss no Longer Folklore

Brenda Davy, Ph.D., senior author on the study says, “We found in earlier studies that middle aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal. In this recent study, we found that over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.”

Davey says for the first time water has been proven effective for weight loss, pointing out that people knew it, but the benefits had never been shown in a randomized controlled clinical trial - "in spite of it being such a popular idea for those who need to lose weight..."

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She says the reason for eating less is probably because water fills you up. Diet soda or other beverages might do the same thing. She cautions against sugary drinks or drinks with high fructose corn syrup because of the excess calories.

“People should drink more water and less sugary, high-calorie drinks. It’s a simple way to facilitate weight management”, but Davy cautions against drinking too much that could lead to water intoxication.

Water has zero calories and makes people feel fuller, curbing the appetite before meals. Men should consume 13 cups of beverages daily, and women 9, though Davy says no one really has set a standard – or you can drink when you’re thirsty.

Thirsty or not, drinking water before a meal is confirmed to help with weight loss. Two glasses of water before a meal, especially instead of a sugary drink, could help fight obesity, proven for the first time in a "gold standard" study.

Reference: American Chemical Society
This page is updated on April 18, 2013.