That was my Dad’s standard response when I announced that I was thirsty and wanted something “special” to drink. Of course, I was seldom satisfied with that suggestion……..no child WANTS to drink water.
But turns out, drinking water gives you the strength of a lion, when it comes to fighting the battle of the bulge.
Water the ultimate appetite suppressant
A study by researchers at Virginia Tech found that glugging back water, facilitated weight loss because the water puts the dampers on appetite.
The Virginia Tech team enrolled 48 adults in a clinical trial to test whether water could be used as a “diet pill”. All of the people enrolled in the study were required to follow a low-calorie diet, but in addition to watching the calories, some dieters were instructed to drink 2 cups of water prior to eating their meals. 12 weeks later the results of the weight loss were tallied up. The water drinkers had lost more weight than the non-drinkers.
Blowing up the stomach
It was found that the water drinkers consumed less food i.e. calories, at each meal.
The secret to weight loss is to swing the formula,
Calories in < calories out
So 12 weeks of less calories in, translated to the loss of an extra kilogram or two in the water drinking group.
The reason for the drop in calorie consumption was the water expanded the stomach, ahead of the arrival of the food. The presence of the food along with the water, tricked the stomach into thinking that it was in fact fuller than it really was.
The full stomach sent a message to the brain telling it to stop eating, because there was no more room, effectively switching on appetite suppression.
Timing is everything
Most weight loss programmes advocate consumption of water but seldom advise when to do it.
Most people drink water with or after the meal. To get the full benefit from this low cost, side effect free appetite suppressant, you need to take “the medicine” BEFORE eating.
It is a water effect not a liquid effect
The glugging down of any liquid before a meal should trigger the “I am full” response, BUT liquids other than water, are not zero calories – so the effect is unique to water.
PS. I know diet cold drinks are marketed as zero calories, but unfortunately as far as the brain is concerned, the maths doesn’t add up.
Pour a glass at dinner
If you’re trying to cut calories, include a glass of ice cold water at the dinner table. Don’t casually sip it throughout the meal, instead GLUG it down and only then start eating.
PS. Don’t drink lots of water if you’re not thirsty, let your thirst be your guide. It is possible to drink too much water !
Abstract presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
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