Does Drinking Water Help You Lose Weight?

The simple act of drinking enough water may help people lose weight in a sustainable way.

When trying to lose weight, many people know that eating fewer calorie-dense foods and bumping up their veggie intake can help achieve their weight goals. But even with these simple changes, some people might still find it challenging.

Among the more well-known ways to achieve weight-loss goals, like exercising more and eating less fried food, there is one step that may play a profound role and that many people may be missing. Believe it or not, the simple act of drinking water may be one move that people can take that may actually help with weight loss. Don't believe us? Keep reading to learn why this is.

a woman drinking from a bottle of water while exercising
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How Drinking Water Is Important for Weight Loss

Water is a zero-calorie drink that can quench thirst and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. But this hydrating beverage isn't just great for keeping your fluid status in check. Believe it or not, the simple act of sipping on plain old H2O may actually help with supporting weight-loss goals, especially when it is enjoyed along with a healthy diet and a lifestyle that includes physical activity, quality sleep and stress management.

While the obvious reason that water can support weight loss is that it contains zero calories, that isn't the only selling point that this basic beverage offers.

While drinking water won't be the magical miracle cure for everyone that is trying to lose weight, here are some ways it may help some people on their weight-loss journey.

May Help Increase Your Metabolism

Even when you are sitting or resting, your body burns calories in order to support processes like breathing and digestion. And some data shows that drinking water can increase the metabolic rate, meaning that it can stimulate more calorie burning at rest. This may, in turn, increase your daily energy expenditure and potentially result in weight loss.

One study published in Nutrition & Diabetes highlighted that drinking 500 milliliters (about 16 ounces) of water resulted in slightly elevated resting energy expenditure, showing that the simple act of drinking water may offer some benefit.

May Help Your Body Break Down Fat

Water is an essential component of the body's natural process of breaking down fat, per a 2016 article published in Frontiers in Nutrition. Stored fat is broken down by the body into glycerol and free fatty acids for the body to use as fuel. Without adequate water, the body may not be as efficient when breaking down this energy source, thus making it harder to achieve the weight-loss goals you want.

May Help You Eat Moderately

Creating a calorie deficit may be one approach to experiencing weight-loss success for some people. And since a thirst sensation may trigger a desire to eat (regardless of whether a person is truly hungry), proper hydration can help you connect with your hunger and fullness cues. A 2021 study published in Clinical Nutrition found that drinking water is associated with less overall calorie intake.

May Help You Consume Less Sugary Drinks

For people who are habitual soda drinkers or consume other beverages that are loaded with added sugars, the simple swap of leaning on water for their hydration needs instead of sugary drinks can help reduce a person's calorie intake—which can result in weight loss in the long run.

And swapping out diet soda with water may offer some benefits as well, even though there are no calorie savings when you embrace this new habit. Research, such as a 2018 controlled trial published in the International Journal of Obesity, shows that replacing diet beverages with water is linked to weight loss. This swap may also offer benefits in carbohydrate metabolism, including improvement of insulin resistance over the long-term weight-maintenance period.

How Much Water Should You Drink?

Knowing how much water to drink is just as important as knowing why you should be drinking water in the first place for weight-management goals. While there is no widespread consensus, per a 2018 article in Nutrients, regarding the human water requirements of different demographic groups, the Institute of Medicine has offered general guidelines for healthy adults, which include:

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

These recommendations include fluids from water, other beverages and food. Even though these guidelines have not been updated since 2004, they remain the standard that many health care providers recommend for meeting hydration needs. One liter of water is equivalent to 4 cups.

The Bottom Line

Water is a zero-calorie and budget-friendly beverage that can quench thirst and support a slew of the body's natural functions. And for some people, drinking water may help them on their journey for weight loss.

If you aren't a huge fan of plain old water, drinking infused water can offer the same hydrating benefits of plain water with a little more flavor added to the mix. Try our Strawberry, Basil & Lime Infused Water or Lemon, Cucumber, & Mint Infused Water for some flavorful water with no added sugar or calories.

No matter how you choose to get your water fill, know that drinking this beverage may help you achieve your weight-loss goals in a healthy and sustainable way. So grab a glass and get your hydration on. Your body will thank you for it!

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