Drinking water helps you lose weight by making you feel more full, boosting your metabolism, helping your body to burn fat, reducing your intake of sugary drinks, and aiding digestion.
To help with weight loss, women should drink 2.7 liters of water per day and men should drink 3.7 liters of water per day.
It’s especially important to drink water before a meal, as research has found that this can make you consume fewer calories and lose weight more effectively.
Drinking more water might not seem like a helpful way to lose weight, but there’s some evidence to suggest that it can make a major difference. Water can help with weight loss in a number of ways, like making you feel more full and stimulating your metabolism.
But before you start trying to lose weight, it’s important to check in with your doctor about your health needs. If your doctor gives you the green light for weight loss, here’s how drinking water can help you shed pounds – and how much you should drink to feel this effect.
Does drinking water help you lose weight?
Drinking water may help you lose weight by decreasing your appetite, increasing your metabolism, and helping you burn excess fat.
There’s a wealth of evidence to suggest that drinking water can help with weight loss. In a 2013 review of studies on people who were dieting to lose or maintain weight, scientists observed that increased water consumption helped the participants lose weight.
Here’s why drinking more water can help with weight loss:
1. Drinking water helps you feel more full
Drinking water before each meal might help you eat less food, and could be an effective method to help you lose weight.
A small 2018 study observed that when participants drank water before a meal, they ate less food than they would if they didn’t drink water before their meals. Researchers suggested that simply drinking water before each meal can be an effective method to control your weight.
This may be because water passes through your body quickly and helps to fill your stomach up to some extent. This signals the brain that you are full and don’t need to eat too much. Also, when you are a little dehydrated, the brain often mistakes it for hunger. So while you might think you need to eat, all your body might need is some water.
“Drinking water can curb cravings for food and beverages that are starchy, salty, sugary, smoked, spirits, and soda, which are all injurious to health and cause weight gain,” says Jagdish Khubchandan, PhD, a Professor of Public Health at New Mexico State University.
2. Drinking water may help you burn fat
Your body burns fat naturally and converts it to energy. This is called lipolysis, and water is essential for this process.
Lipolysis is how your body breaks down fat. The first step in this process is called hydrolysis, which is a process where your body adds water to fat to help break it down.
A 2016 review found that increasing your water intake causes an increase in lipolysis and therefore an increase in metabolism, which the researchers believed could be associated with weight loss.
3. Drinking water stimulates your metabolism
Some research suggests that drinking cold water helps boost your metabolism because your body works a little harder when trying to warm it up, which helps you burn more calories. This process is known as thermogenesis.
In a small 2013 study, scientists observed the effects of drinking 500ml of water 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner in 50 overweight girls for eight weeks. They noticed that the participants lost weight and had reduced BMIs without making any other lifestyle or dietary changes at the end of the study. The researchers concluded that this weight loss was a result of water-induced thermogenesis.
4. Drinking water helps the body remove waste
Water is essential to your body’s waste removal process. If your body isn’t getting enough water, you are more likely to get constipated and won’t pass waste as frequently as you should. When waste stores in your body you’ll feel bloated and heavier and might even weigh more on a scale.
In a 2017 review on whether drinking water can help prevent and treat constipation in children and adults, researchers found evidence to indicate that lower intake of fluids can cause constipation. They also found that drinking more water was effective in treating constipation.
5. Drinking water can reduce your calorie intake
Sugary drinks like soda are high in calories. Replacing these with water – which is made up of zero calories – is a great way to reduce your overall calorie intake and help you lose weight.
In a small 2015 study, scientists observed the effect of replacing dietary beverages, like diet soda, with water on weight loss in obese women. After 24 weeks, the women who had only water experienced a greater decrease in weight when compared to the group who were given the diet beverages.
How much water should you drink to lose weight?
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that women drink 2.7 liters of water a day and men drink 3.7 liters a day. This overall recommendation is sufficient to help you lose weight.
More importantly, you should remember that the best time to drink water is before a meal, since studies show that drinking water before eating can help you eat less and lose weight more effectively.
Different people need different amounts of water depending on their age, size, what climate they are in, and many other factors, so it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about how much water you should be drinking for your weight loss goals.
How to drink more water
Here are a couple of tips to help you drink more water daily:
Keep a glass of water on your nightstand so you can drink it before bed and when you wake up
Get a portable and reusable water bottle that you can keep filled with water and carry around easily
Eat foods with high water content like tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons
Replace sodas and sugary drinks in your diet with water
Set reminders to drink water at specific times in the day with your phone
Drinking water can help you lose weight in many ways. It acts as a natural appetite suppressant when you drink it before you eat, which helps you eat less food. It helps your body burn fat and promotes quicker metabolism. It also plays an important role in your body’s waste removal process. Simply increasing your daily water intake is a great start to help you lose weight.