Changing to water from other drinks that contain calories can help people lose 5 pounds, a study finds.
The simple change to diet doubles the chance of losing 5 percent of body weight.
As little as two glasses of water drunk before a meal can increase weight loss significantly, one previous study has also found.
The switch to water helps to lower fasting glucose levels and naturally leads to better hydration.
Dr Deborah Tate, the study’s first author, said:
“Substituting non-caloric beverages – whether it’s water, diet soft drinks or something else – can be a clear and simple change for people who want to lose or maintain weight.
If this were done on a large scale, it could significantly reduce the increasing public health problem of obesity.”
There were 318 obese or overweight people included in the study.
One group were asked to switch drinks containing calories to water or diet drinks.
The comparison group made a change of their own choosing to their diet.
The results revealed that six months later the group that stuck to calorie-free drinks had double the chance of losing 5 percent of their weight.
Dr Tate said:
“We learned that both water and diet sodas have some benefits, but they may be different.
People who really like the sweet flavor or carbonation or caffeine of sodas may be more likely to stick with the change if they are drinking diet sodas as opposed to water only, but drinking water was associated with some other important health improvements like reduced blood sugar.”
It is relatively easy to make the change to a zero calorie drink compared with other dietary interventions, said Dr Tate:
“Substituting specific foods or beverages that provide a substantial portion of daily calories may be a useful strategy for modest weight loss or weight gain prevention.
Beverages may be ideal targets, but keep in mind, the strategy will only work if the person doesn’t make up for the lost calories some other way.”
The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Tate et al., 2012).