Drinking a pint of water half an hour before eating increases weight loss by five times, research finds.
People in the study who drank 500ml of water 30 minutes before every main meal lost almost 10 pounds in 12 weeks.
In comparison, those drinking the water before only one meal lost around 2 pounds.
People in the study just drank tap water, not sodas, sweetened drinks or sparkling water.
Drinking water may help weight loss by making people feel less hungry, so they eat less.
Dr Helen Parretti, the study’s first author, said:
“The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity.
Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight.
When combined with brief instructions on how to increase your amount of physical activity and on a healthy diet, this seems to help people to achieve some extra weight loss — at a moderate and healthy rate.
It’s something that doesn’t take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives.”
The study included 84 people, around half of whom were told to imagine they had a full stomach before each meal.
The rest were told to drink a pint of water before each of their three main meals of the day.
The results showed that those drinking water before their meals lost an average of 9.48 pounds (4.3kg).
In comparison, people only imagining they were full — or who just drank one glass — lost an average of 1.76 pounds (0.8kg).
Dr Parretti said:
“Losing a few extra pounds over the course of a year can be significant to an individual, and this could be an easy way to help with that weight loss. It’s a simple message that has the potential to make a real contribution to public health.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Obesity (Parretti et al., 2019).