Drinking Water May Help Your Weight

Medically Reviewed

If you’re looking to lose weight, try drinking more plain water each day. Drinking one to three cups of plain water daily reduces the number of calories you consume, say researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Using the responses of more than 18,000 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005–2012, the scientists found that people who increased their plain water consumption by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake.

Specifically, people who drank one to three cups of plain water—either spring or tap water, water from a drinking fountain or a water cooler, or bottled water—tended to reduce their “empty-calorie” intake from sweetened foods and beverages. The results were published in early 2016 in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

People who drank more water also consumed less total fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol. The average person in the study drank slightly more than four cups of water a day. Each cup of water, up to three cups, correlated to about 68 fewer calories consumed. Besides having fewer calories than other beverages, water may help suppress feelings of hunger, which can reduce the amount of food you eat. If you’d like to increase your water consumption, try these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• Switch out sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks and other sweetened beverages for plain, unsweetened water. (One 20-ounce sweetened soda is 240 calories.)

• When eating out, order water instead of a higher calorie drink.

• Carry a water bottle with you.

• Freeze a water bottle overnight, then keep it by your side all day for a cool refreshment.

• Add a slice of lemon or lime to plain water for a twist on taste.