Glasses of water being filled to promote weight loss

New research shows that drinking more water can help control weight, reduce intake of sugar, sodium and saturated fat.

A study, conducted at University of Illinois, looked at data from four waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in which participants reported drinking and eating behavior over the course of two days. From the 18,300 U.S. adults examined, researchers looked at the relationship between drinking more water (not in tea, coffee, or other liquids) to their daily intake, and their resulting dietary habits. The study looked at people who added more plain water to their daily drinking.

How Drinking More Water Controls Weight

People who increased their water consumption by drinking one to three more cups each day saw the following changes in dietary behavior:

  • Calorie intake decrease: 68 to 205 calories
  • Sodium intake decrease: 78 to 235 milligrams
  • Sugar intake decrease: 5 to 18 grams
  • Cholesterol intake decrease: 7 to 21 milligrams
Overall, increasing water consumption—whether from a tap, drinking fountain, or bottle—by as little as one percent (1%), was associated with a 8.6 calorie intake decrease, and slight but notable reductions in consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

Water Intake Advice for Obese Community

If the findings of this latest study are correct, water does much more for us than just keeping us hydrated (which is in itself critical in maintaining good overall health). We now have increasing reason to believe that drinking an additional 1–3 cups of plain water every day helps create healthier eating behavior and results in weight loss, at no cost and with minimal effort.

“The impact of plain water intake on diet was similar across race/ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight status. This finding indicates that it might be sufficient to design and deliver universal nutrition interventions and education campaigns that promote plain water consumption in replacement of beverages with calories in diverse population subgroups without profound concerns about message and strategy customization.”– RUOPENG AN, KINESIOLOGY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

Obesity can often feel like an overwhelming challenge to overcome. We often seek quick solutions, some of which can be drastic and, if medically unsupervised, dangerous. But simple changes in our lives, like how much we sleep or how much water we drink, can really add up to help us control and lose weight.