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jabag11's avatar

How does drinking water help with weight loss?

Asked by jabag11 (676points) January 9th, 2011

I am 19 and am a male and when I asked about losing fat in particularly, and a lot of people said for me, drinking a lot of water throughout the day will definitely help.

So I ask, why and how does drinking plenty of water throughout the day (some say 2–4 liters) help with weight loss? What is the science behind it and the basic (in lamense terms) answer behind it?

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29 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

I find that it fills my belly up a bit so I feel just a little less hungry. I use a water bottle with a big straw attached. It satiates my need to munch and put stuff in my mouth.

kenmc's avatar

Along with what @Likeradar said, it’s also a great substitute for calorie filled drinks.

lilalila's avatar

It keeps your metabolism running. If you don’t drink water, it won’t break down glucose as efficiently because water is essential to many metabolic processes.

JLeslie's avatar

I actually don’t buy the full belly idea, but many people say it helps them.

We actually get part of our hydation needs through food. If you are thirsty, your body might also tell you it is hungry. Proper hydration is very important for our bodies, it literally keeps our heart beating indirectly. So the body will crave whatever will give it liquid when it needs it, including food. If you are properly hydrated you are less likely to get a mixed brain signal of hunger.

Drinking too much water can be dangerous when taken it at once. Like anything, moderation. 8 eight ounce glasses is the typical recommendation, which I think is 2 liters? Late for math right now. But, that number is all liquids. Whatever you drink during the day counts. If you exercise, live in a hot climate, and/or weigh a lot, these will increase your need for liquids.

Jeruba's avatar

A fitness trainer asked me if I ever had a meal or a snack and then turned right around and ate something afterward. I admitted that I did. She said, “You’re not really hungry then—you’re thirsty. Make sure you drink plenty of water and that just won’t happen so much.”

So this agrees with what @JLeslie wrote.

Disc2021's avatar

As opposed to drinking soda or beer? Yes, drinking water can certainly help you lose weight that way.

Otherwise, there is no miracle drug to help you lose weight or gain muscle (legal drugs, at least). Good meals, good nutrition and sweat is where it’s at.

So yes, but not in the sense that you’re losing weight with every sip of water you take. Rather, you’re drinking something pure that isn’t loaded with empty calories and other junk.

downtide's avatar

If by drinking water you are also stopping drinking soda and alcohol (both of which are loaded with calories) then yes it will help.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie Take your weight in pounds, divide it by two, and that’s the number of ounces of water a person needs to drink every day. It’s much more useful than telling someone to drink 8 eight ounce glasses, which depending on a person’s weight can be either too much or too little water.

Fyrius's avatar

From what I’ve been told, the mechanics are something like this.
A lot of your body weight consists of fluids that your body stores in case you’ll have to go without drinks for a long time. If you don’t drink enough, your body – that is, whatever part of it is in charge of storing supplies – will switch to “oh crap, there’s a drought” mode and start storing fluids like crazy, in order to be prepared for possible future dehydration.
If you drink enough, that system will switch back to “it’s okay, plenty of water here” mode and stop storing as much. With that ballast thrown out, you lose weight.

I’m not sure if it affects your body fat percentage. If the above explanation is true, I’d expect it not to.

meiosis's avatar

In addition to the excellent answers above, there is also a small amount of calories burned by your body when heating water up to body temperature. 1 Kilo-calories (what we generally refer to as a calorie) is required to heat 1 litre of water by 1 degree celsius. So drinking 1 litre of water at 10C will burn up 27 kilo-calories to get to 37C (body temperature). This is equal to 3 grams of fat. Not a lot, but over 2lbs if done consistently for a year.

Seelix's avatar

Drinking plenty of water may trick your brain into thinking that you’re full, meaning that you might eat less.

It’ll help to keep your body hydrated and to flush out the bad stuff.

If you’re drinking water other than sugary drinks, you’re cutting out a lot of empty calories.

Pandora's avatar

I believe it is because our body (that is made of mostly water) needs water to function 100%. Whatever diet or exercise you will put your body through the one thing you shouldn’t deny it during this time is water. Your body will slow down during dehydration and most of its focus during repair will go to primary organs first. Your blood needs water, your kidney needs water, your liver needs water, your muscles need water, etc.
At first you may absorb water like a sponge and feel a bit bloated and pee a lot but after about a week you will start to notice how much better you feel and how much energetic you feel.
Water is also used to expel toxins in your body. If your pee is dark and not clear or a very light yellow than you are very dehydrated. The first thing about that is you are making your kidneys work very hard to find the water it needs to expel toxins and waste. Which will build up in your kidneys and break them down. At the very least one should drink plenty of water to help prevent kidney stones.
Recommendation is 9 cups of water a day for women and 13 for men. I read somewhere that you loose 4 cups of water daily just in breathing, sweating and stools and I think peeing.
If you are working out you may consider drinking more. Best way to tell if you need more is in your pee color.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The hydration people are correct, but in addition I’ve come across studies where the total weight, the pounds or kilograms, of what you put in the stomach contributes to the feeling of fullness and stops you from eating more. Water contributes to the weight without adding calories.

JustJessica's avatar

It doesn’t always help you lose weight. If your not watching your salt intake you could actually be retaining much of the water you take in. So watch your sodium intake and drink cold water.. When you drink cold water your body actually burns calories bringing the water to your body temp.

hotgirl67's avatar

Water helps to fill you up which in turn might help you to eat less overall.

augustlan's avatar

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philosopher's avatar

It helps fill you up.

mrrich724's avatar

Sometimes, when people think they are hungry, they are actually thirsty. So by preventing thirst, you may prevent yourself from over eating. And that’s science :)

boxer3's avatar

water can help flush your systems of toxins and other junk that gets stuck in your body,
it ca fulfil the oral fixation ( some people use gum) vs. mindless eating not because you’re hungry- just because, and it’s got no calories vs. juice/soda etc. and generally no chemicals like diet beverages…

Fyrius's avatar

There are some chemicals in water. It’s full of H₂O, for example…

jabag11's avatar

thanks for the great answers I will be aiming for 2 liters a day!! I am 136 pounds. ! By the way this got question of the day! oh yea!! lol

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Drinking water can help detox you. I am 31 and female.

Schroedes13's avatar

there are many studies showing that a glass or two of water before a meal helps a ton with weight loss and weight maintenance!

Tay122's avatar

It helps in two ways:
1. You won’t be drinking the calories or sodium from juices, soda, or achohal.
2. Water makes you feel fuller so you won’t feel that you need to eat as much.

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weightlosstips's avatar

Water helps us flush out toxic from our system and also helps keeps the body hydrated. And since our body contains 95% of water then you should never do without it.
Why should you drink water to lose weight? Water makes you fill fuller and prevent you eating too much and keep fat formation in your body.

Eggie's avatar

Is drinking cranberry flavored water good as well? Sometimes I need that sweet flavor.

Community_watchdog's avatar

It fills you up so you don’t eat as much when you do eat. I drink 8 – 8 oz bottles of water a day, and you also have to watch the sodium, sugar and fat intake, and learn how to read the labels correctly, not the way they want you to read them. The best thing is to see a nutritionist.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Among other things water flushes out sodium and allergens, the two leading causes of water retention.

A significant contributor to bloating and water weight.

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