Does drinking water before eating help you lose weight?

woman drinking water-Does drinking water before eating help you lose weight

woman drinking water-Does drinking water before eating help you lose weight

Does Drinking Water Before Eating Help you Lose Weight?

For the longest time, I have been told that drinking water before eating leads to weight loss. Especially by people like my mother, who has dieted for what seems like forever. Unfortunately, she never cited any studies to prove her claims (and to be honest, most of us don’t even care about proof), and I never tried it for myself. So, to me, it was just a rumor. There’s no way drinking water before eating could lead to weight loss. After all, water has no calories. It could not affect hunger levels.

So, I (finally) decided to look it up. Could these claims be valid? Is there any scientific validity to back it up?

The following are a few of the studies that answer the question of whether drinking water before eating helps you eat less food.

Drinking water before eating in older adults

Researchers at Virginia Tech examined if drinking water before eating would lead to more weight loss compared to non-water drinkers subjects.

Distributed between the two groups were 48 adults between the ages of 55 to 75 years old.

One group was selected for a hypocaloric diet + Drinking water before eating (500 ml).

The other groups were assigned to only a hypocaloric diet.

** A hypocaloric diet is simply a diet in which you eat fewer calories than you burn.

The participants would weigh in every week for 12 weeks, as well as diet counseling.

At the end of 12 weeks, the water-drinking group lost 2 kgs more than the non-water drinking group.

Researchers concluded that drinking water (500 ml or 16.9 oz) before a meal in conjunction with a hypocaloric diet, leads to higher weight loss than dieting alone.

Drinking water before a meal can make you feel less hungry and, therefore, would lead to lower food intake. Thus, resulting in more weight loss (1).

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Drinking water before breakfast in young men

A study conducted on young males compared the effects of drinking water immediately before eating versus non-drinking water on fullness and eating intake.

Researchers distributed the participants into two groups:

One group would drink water (568 ml or 19 ounces) within one minute of eating.

The other group (control) would not drink any water before eating breakfast.

The participants were told to eat as much food for breakfast as they wanted after an overnight fast.

The researchers found that drinking water before eating led to an increase in satiety and a 22% drop in food consumption compared to the control group (2).

Systematic Review

A systematic review of 11 studies and two other systematic reviews suggested that an increase in water consumption has a weight loss effect on people who are dieting (3).

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Drinking 17-19 ounces 30-minutes prior to eating.

Moreover, researchers from Spain found that higher water intake correlated with healthy body composition in healthy young adults between the ages of 18 and 39 years old (4).

Well, I’ll be damned. The rumors are true. Based on the research, chugging between 17 to 19 ounces of water within 30 minutes of eating could lead you to eat less by making you feel fuller. I am not going to lie to you, but these results caught me by surprise. After reading these studies, I am now even more annoying when having a conversation with anyone about health. I often say something like, ” Oh, that’s interesting. What research is out there that I can read to learn more?”

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