Drinking water before a meal can increase weight loss by 5 times, a study finds.
A pint drunk half-an-hour before eating every meal led to 10 pounds of weight loss in 12 weeks, for people in the study.
Drinking water helps people lose weight by making them feel more full before they eat and replacing other drinks with more calories.
Water is also a natural appetite suppressant, may help people burn more calories and more fat.
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.”
For the study, 84 people either drank a pint of water before every meal or just imagined feeling full.
By the end of the study, those drinking the pint of water had lost 9.48 pounds on average.
The comparison group who just imagined being full only lost 1.76 pounds on average.
People who only drank the pint of water before one meal each day also only lost around 2 pounds.
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.”
People in the study just drank tap water, not sodas, sweetened drinks or sparkling water.
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).