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The Role of Water in Weight Loss: A Comprehensive Overview

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Water, often overlooked, plays a pivotal role in the process of weight loss. A significant portion of the U.S adult population has incorporated increased water consumption into their weight loss strategies. Multiple studies have illuminated the multi-faceted benefits of water in assisting weight loss.

Benefits If Drinking Water For Weight Loss

1. Appetite Suppression with Pre-meal Water Intake

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  • The Science: Some people believe drinking water before meals helps to fill the stomach, thus curbing appetite. Research appears to support this, especially among middle-aged and older individuals. 
  • Findings: Overweight middle-aged participants who drank water prior to their meals experienced a weight loss boost, shedding 44% more pounds than their counterparts who did not increase water intake.
  • Youth vs. Age: While older adults clearly benefit from this method, younger individuals haven’t shown the same significant calorie intake reduction.
  • Bottom Line: For older adults, drinking water before meals can be a straightforward strategy to eat less and lose more.

2. Reduced Caloric Intake & Prevention of Weight Gain

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  • The Rationale: Water, having zero calories, is an excellent substitute for sugary and calorie-laden beverages.
  • Evidential Support: Studies show that those who predominantly consume water have a daily caloric intake lower by up to 200 calories. 
  • Long-term Impact: Over a span of 4 years, the average individual gains approximately 3.2 lbs. This weight gain can be significantly reduced by:
    Replacing sugary beverages with water.
    Simply increasing daily water intake by one cup.
  • Children & Obesity: Encouraging children to drink more water is crucial. Schools that have implemented programs promoting water intake have seen a significant 31% reduction in obesity risks.

3. Water as a Calorie Burner

    • Mechanism: Drinking water enhances the number of calories the body burns at rest, termed as resting energy expenditure.

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    • Adults: A mere 10 minutes after consuming about half a liter of water, adults have shown a 24-30% increase in resting energy expenditure. This effect can last up to an hour.
    • Children: Overweight children also benefit, with a recorded 25% increase in energy expenditure after drinking cold water.
    • Long-term Benefits: An intriguing study found that overweight women who upped their water intake by over a liter per day experienced an additional weight loss of 4.4 lbs over a year without any other lifestyle modifications.
    • Quantifying the Burn: On an annual scale, drinking half a liter of water can help burn approximately 17,000 extra calories, translating to over 4.4 lbs of fat.

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  • Temperature Matters: Consuming cold water might enhance these effects since the body expends energy to warm the water to body temperature, thus burning even more calories.

Dosage & Recommendations:

While many recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, it’s important to note that individual requirements may vary. Factors such as physical activity, age, climate, and individual metabolic rate play a role in determining water needs.

However, for weight loss, studies suggest:

  • Drinking 1-2 liters of water daily can aid in weight loss.
  • Consuming water 30 minutes before meals can enhance its benefits.

In Conclusion

Water, though a simple beverage, has profound effects on weight loss and overall health. Incorporating it into one’s daily routine can pave the way for a healthier lifestyle. But, as with all things, moderation is crucial. Overconsumption can lead to water toxicity, which can be harmful. Always pay heed to your body’s signals and drink water when thirsty.
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Scientific References

  • Jordan J, Shannon JR, Grogan E, Biaggioni I, Robertson D. A potent pressor response elicited by water drinking in humans. Lancet. 1999;353:723.
  • Casazza, K., Brown, A., Astrup, A. et al. Weighing the evidence of common beliefs in obesity research. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014
  • Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Hille U, Tank J, Adams F, Sharma AM, et al. Water induced thermogenesis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003;88:6015–9.
  • Dennis, E.A., Dengo, A.L., Comber, D.L. et al. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Obesity. 2010; 18: 300–307
  • Stucchi P, Cano V, Ruiz-Gayo M, Fernández-Alfonso MS. Aliskiren reduces body-weight gain, adiposity and plasma leptin during diet-induced obesity Br J Pharmacol (2009) 158:771–8.10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00355.x
  • Akers, J.D., Cornett, R.A., Savla, J.S., Davy, K.P., and Davy, B.M. Daily self-monitoring of body weight, step count, fruit/vegetable intake, and water consumption: A feasible and effective long-term weight loss maintenance approach. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012; 112: 685–692.e2

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