Water and Weight Loss

Losing weight has become the Holy Grail for much of the world’s population; certainly the Western world where food is plentiful, but the quality is often questionable. Fat, sugar, additives with strange-sounding names, combine to take their toll upon our health and increase our weight past the point of what is healthy. Obesity is on the rise, along with its potentially lethal bed-fellows heart disease, Diabetes Type 2 and a whole raft of sundry other health problems.

In the UK, the average woman’s dress size is now a size sixteen

In the UK, the average woman’s dress size is now a size sixteen, (US 12). In America it is, reportedly, a whopping size fourteen (UK 18). The diet industry is booming as never before. Barely a week goes by that does not herald the advent of a new ‘wonder’ diet pill: raspberry ketones; green coffee bean extract; a new slimming fibre bar; a new protein shake. A quick look in the Health and Personal Care/Diet Aids section on Amazon UK, brings up a staggering 992 results. Slimming is an enormous and self-perpetuating business . Ask any slimmer and they will tell you that they have tried ‘everything on the market’. The general consensus seems to be that pills and potions either don’t work, or work only as part of a calorie controlled diet. Yet, still, we look for the quick fix and buy into slick advertising, where pretty models peddle the dream that we, like them, can be slim and beautiful, if only we try this … or this … or this … Often, it is our bank accounts that get slimmer, whilst our waistlines continue to expand.

There is, however, something we all have in our armoury, which may well help conquer those weight demons. Along with air, it is the stuff of life. I am, of course, referring to good old water. Drinking a glass of water prior to a meal, and throughout the day, has long been an ‘old wives remedy’ for those wishing to enhance their weight loss. The suggestion is that it works as an appetite suppressant. This may be because people can often mistake thirst for hunger pangs. Making water the first port of call prior to reaching for food, can help the body differentiate between thirst and real hunger.

A randomised study by Davey et al., showed that, “water consumption acutely reduces meal energy intake (EI) among middle-aged and older adults”. The study looked at two groups over a 12 week period. One group was assigned a hypocaloric diet, plus 500 mls of water before each meal (water group); the other, a hypocaloric diet alone (non-water group). At the end of the 12 week study period, the ‘water group’ was shown to have sustained a greater than 2kg weight loss, compared to those in the non-water group. Although, the participants in this study were in the older age bracket (middle-aged+), one can, perhaps, conclude that similar benefits may be obtained across all age-groups. It is certainly worth putting to the test.