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Drink Up!

2016 0101 Drink Up
Drinking Water Before Meals May Aid in Weight Loss

Now that the holiday season is over, weight loss is the topic on most everyone’s minds. Though we recommend strategic eating with fruits and vegetables throughout the holidays, January is a good time to get back on track if your healthy eating slipped. A 2015 study published in the journal Obesity finds keeping hydrated may be the place to start if you’re looking to drop a few holiday pounds.

For the study, researchers from the University of Birmingham in the UK recruited 84 obese adults to participate in a weight-loss program. Half of the group was instructed to drink about 2 cups of water 30 minutes before eating their main meals—scientists call this preloading—and additional water throughout the day as they pleased. The other half was told to simply imagine feeling full before their meals. The rest of the program was the same between groups and included standard healthy lifestyle advice.

After three months, the group that drank water before meals lost an average 5.3 pounds, while the other group lost just an average 2.65 pounds. Participants that most closely followed the water preloading intervention lost near ten pounds in that time.

Researchers suspect filling up on water before meals increases satiety, which could lead to eating less food and fewer calories at meals, resulting in weight loss. Compared with expensive and complicated commercial weight loss plans, drinking water before meals is relatively affordable and easy to do.

Do results sound familiar? We reported a similar study in 2011 that offered the same 2-cup water strategy for weight loss, with the water-preloaders losing 44% more weight than those who simply cut calories alone. That study was conducted in a more homogeneous group of people; the current study suggests this weight-loss strategy may be applicable to the general population.

Stay on track by purchasing and carrying a reusable water bottle. Whether you are at home, at the office or out and about, a water bottle in hand serves as a reminder to stay hydrated and allows you to visually track the amount of water you drink in a day. Sip on water during the day and at meals, and if you are trying to lose weight, drink two cups of water thirty minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Published January 1, 2016

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