Well, according to a recent article published by the American Dietetic Association and the Obesity Research Council (Drink this and You'll Lose Weight), the scientific community has finally proven the benefits of drinking water for weight loss.
The Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise found that overweight adults ages 55 to 75 lose weight when they drink water before meals. The researchers say that "water consumed before a meal has been found to reduce energy intake among non-obese older adults. However, it is unknown whether this same effect is evident among overweight and obese older adults."
The next study they did included 24 inactive and overweight or obese women and men between the ages of 55 and 75. They were divided into two groups. Each group followed a 1,500-calorie per day diet for men and a 1,200 calorie diet for women. However, one group drank 500 milliliters of water about a half hour before meals, while the other group did not drink water. The result was that the water drinkers ate 13 percent less at each meal and lost about 5 more pounds, on average, than the non-water drinkers. They also lost weight faster over the 12 week period of the study. In conclusion, the water drinkers lost an average of 15.5 pounds while the non-water drinkers lost 11 pounds, a difference of nearly 30 percent.
Researchers followed the study participants over the following year, even though they had stopped their low-calorie diets. The water drinkers continued to lose weight, albeit at a slower rate, over the following year. The study's authors attribute this weight loss to the fact that these participants were still drinking water before meals.
The results of this study make it easy to conclude that the water drinking group felt more satisfied before they started eating, and therefore they ate less. Water has been known to suppress appetite, but it also has other health benefits. The water-drinking group reported they had clearer minds and the ability to think better.
There may be hundreds of diets out there for weight loss, but drinking more water is one of those simple strategies that can help anyone who is trying to lose weight. It's not a magic bullet though. The study's authors aren't saying, "drink more water and watch your belly fat melt away," but they are confident that when used in conjunction with a low calorie diet, drinking more water will speed up weight loss.
Keep in mind that this study has only concluded that people between the ages of 55 and 75 will lose weight by pre-meal water drinking. Earlier studies done on the 18-35 age group showed no difference between the control groups, possibly because water travels faster through the stomachs of younger people.
Water isn't the only recommended beverage for weight loss
The study's authors suggested that people looking to lose weight replace sweetened, high calorie beverages with water. Nonalcoholic beverages such as club soda with lemon, tea, or diet soda are also recommended to help people resist the urge to snack after dinner.
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