Scientists find that dieters who drink two cups of water before meals lose more weight.
It’s a popular dieting secret: Drink more water, and you’ll shed more kilograms.
Finally, science is adding weight to the practice.
After about three months, a new study found, obese dieters who drank two cups of water before each meal lost 2.5Kg more than a group of dieters who didn’t increase their water intake. A year later, the water-drinkers had also kept more of the weight off.
The study included only middle-aged and older adults, but other studies suggest that drinking water might help dieters of all ages, said Brenda Davy, a nutrition researcher at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
After years of folklore, she added, this may be the first hard evidence that drinking water is viable weight-loss strategy.
Davy and colleagues reported one of their first findings in 2008 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. That study found that older adults, who drank two cups of water half an hour before breakfast, ate about 75 fewer calories – or 13 percent less – than a comparable group who hadn’t drunk water before the meal.
People in both groups were overweight or obese, and all were allowed to eat as much of the food as they wanted.
To see if that behaviour would lead to actual weight loss, the researchers started by putting more than 40 overweight and obese adults on a diet. The dieters, all between the ages of 55 and 75, were instructed to eat healthy meals that totalled no more than 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day.
Half of the dieters were randomly assigned to drink a 500ml bottle of water before all three meals. The others received water but were not given any instructions about when or how to drink it.
Twelve weeks later, the water drinkers had lost an average of 7Kg, compared to an average 5kg loss in the other group. That’s a 44 percent boost in weight loss, just from drinking water.