If You Make One Diet Change Today, This Is It
Changing your diet with the goal of losing weight can be hard, so most often I counsel my patients to take it one step at a time. If you are back on the wagon with a new diet plan, the first thing you should take a good look at is your fluid intake.
A new study has found that just by simply increasing the intake of plain water can have a profound impact on your overall healthy eating plan. In fact, those who drank more water ate less calories in the form of sugar and saturated fat. They also consumed less sodium.
Kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An at the University of Illinois reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics which included information from more than 18,300 US adults. An calculated the amount of plain water each person consumed as a percentage of their daily water intake from food and beverages combined.
The average intake among participants was about 4.2 cups of plain water. However, those who increased their consumption by one, two or three cups daily at fewer calories – as much as 205 less per day.
This may not sound like a lot at first glance. But consider this - mathematically, each pound of body weight is approximately 3500 calories. Over a 7-day period, if you eat 500 fewer calories per day, you should theoretically lose a pound per week. Simply increasing water intake is a significant toward reaching that goal!
The calorie decrease seemed to come from lower sugar intake – as much as 18 grams less – and decreased fat and cholesterol intake. As we all know too well, Americans tend to eat too much sugar and fat as part of a diet that relies heavily on processed food.
Most Americans have heard that the recommended water intake for adults is about 8 glasses per day – or about 64 ounces. Remember that this recommendation is based on overall fluid intake, and not just water. However, staying hydrated by replacing sugar-laden beverages such as sweet tea and soda with plain old tap water seems to have a significant impact on our weight management efforts in addition to overall health.
R. An, J. McCaffrey. Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005-2012. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/jhn.12368
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