Water: The Great Weight-Loss Elixir

Trying to lose weight? Skip the pills, potions, and fad diets. Instead, drink water. That's right, plain water-the healthiest and most effective weight-loss elixir around.

Drinking water helps you lose weight two ways: by encouraging the release of excess water in your body and by helping you feel fuller so you don't overeat. Water also helps food move more quickly and easily through the intestinal tract.

Water Shortage

When you don't drink enough water, your kidneys cut back on urine excretion, and your body retains fluids. That fluid retention alone can add several pounds of excess water weight. While that's not real weight, it shows up on the scale. Water weight can be uncomfortable and frustrate your attempts to lose. When you drink plenty of water throughout the day, your body is less inclined to hold on to the excess and more inclined to get rid of it.

Scientific Proof

In the first scientifically controlled intervention study to examine the theory that water decreases appetite and helps you lose weight, researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University found that participants who drank 2 cups of water before each meal lost an average of four to five pounds more at the end of three months than those who were not given instructions on what to drink or when.

The researcher believe that water helped the study participants lose weight by filling their stomachs with fluid that contains no calories so they didn't feel as hungry and ate less when they sat down to their meals. Water can also help control weight if you drink it instead of caloric beverages, such as sodas and juice drinks.

The total amount of fluids required for good health varies from person to person, but is usually about 6 to 9 cups for women and up to 13 cups for men. When the weather warms up, or if you are physically quite active all year round, you may need even more water.

A Cool Substitute

Here are the approximate number of calories you save by substituting 12 ounces of water for an equal amount of these sugar-sweetened beverages:

Beverage                                                         Calories

Fruit punch                                                         190

Lemonade                                                          170

Sweetened Iced Tea (commercial brands)            135

Sodas                                                                125 - 150

Sports Drink                                                      100


All beverages, including broths and dairy drinks, and watery foods such as tomatoes, oranges and yogurt, contribute something to your total fluid intake for the day and count towards your daily requirement. When it comes to using watery foods as a weight loss tool, however, the trick is to stick to lower-calorie and lower-fat choices.




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs." 12 Dec 2008. Web. 8 Dec 2010.


Virginia Tech "Clinical Trial Confirms Effectiveness of Simple Appetite Control Method." 23 Aug 2010. Web 8 Dec 2010.