Water for Weight Loss

By Theresa Greenwell, International Science

Water is essential for all life and has long been touted as a weight loss aid. Recent research now shows that “preloading” with water prior to eating may be an easy and effective way to lose additional weight.

A recent study published in Obesity (September, 2015) tested the idea of preloading with water prior to all main meals of the day to see if calorie intake decreased, and if weight loss would subsequently occur. This study, which took place over a 12 week period, encouraged 41 overweight participants to drink 500 ml (approximately 17 ounces) of tap water 30 minutes prior to the 3 main meals of the day. Participants were also provided a weight management consultation where they were encouraged to improve their diets and levels of physical activity. Additionally, sparkling waters, sodas or sweetened drinks were prohibited during the study period.

The results of the study showed that those who preloaded with water prior to all 3 main meals of the day had an average weight loss of 9.48 lbs. Those who either preloaded with water prior to only 1 meal or not at all, lost on average only 1.76 lbs. According to the findings, 27% of those in the preloading intervention group lost more than 5% of their body weight, while only 5% of the comparison group lost the same amount.

Tap water is relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. By simply “preloading” with tap water prior to eating, individuals may be able to not only lose a few extra pounds but also retain a healthier weight over time.

Parretti, H., et al. Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT.Obesity. 23(9): 1785-1791, 2015.