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Can Drinking Water Actually Help You Lose Weight?

If you’re wondering, “how much water should I drink to lose weight?”, turns out the answer isn’t so clear-cut.

If you’re trying to lose weight, making simple changes to your lifestyle, such as heading outdoors for longer walks, reducing your stress levels, and even drinking more water, may seem like the least overwhelming, and perhaps most sustainable, course of action. But can increasing your water intake really help you achieve your goals? And if so, how much water should you drink to lose weight?

In this article, we find out.

Why is Water Important Anyway?

As someone put it so poetically, water is the elixir of life. Water makes up as much as three-quarters of your body composition and plays a crucial role in several bodily functions to help you stay healthy and feeling well [1].

Fluids also play a role in certain metabolic processes, such as the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They also aid in the breakdown of the vitamins you eat into a form that can be absorbed and used by your body making adequate hydration necessary.

Some studies have also shown that staying hydrated aids the body in waste removal, reduces the risk of kidney stones, and eases skin dryness which keeps the skin supple [2].

Is there Evidence that Drinking Water can Help You Lose Weight?

So, can you really lose weight by hydrating yourself by constantly drinking water? Let’s examine the results of some of the studies conducted on this theory.

Analyses from a 12-month study on 173 women showed that at the beginning of the study, all participants were classified as overweight, and reported drinking less than 35 fluid ounces (about 1L) of water per day. At the 2, 6, and 12-month points, all the subjects’ diet, physical activity, body weight, body fat percentage, and waist circumference were assessed [3].

For diet, the researchers assessed their average daily intake of water, calorie-free beverages, unsweetened caloric (e.g., 100% fruit juice, milk) and sweetened caloric beverages, and food calorie intake. They found that independent of all other factors, increases in water intake were predictive of weight loss.


How does Drinking Water Help with Weight Loss?

1. Staying Hydrated Can Help You Burn More Calories

In most of the studies listed below, we look at the effect of drinking a 0.5-litre serving of water. Drinking water has been shown to increase the amount of calories you burn, which is known as resting energy expenditure [4]. In adults, resting energy expenditure has been shown to increase by 24 to 39% within 10 minutes of drinking water.

Supporting this, one study of overweight and obese children found a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure after drinking cold water [5]. The study of overweight women mentioned earlier examined the effects of increasing water intake to over 1 litre per day. They found that over a 12-month period, this resulted in an extra 2kg of weight loss [6].

Several other studies have monitored overweight people who drank 1 to 1.5 litres of water daily for a few weeks. They found a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and body fat [7].

2. Drinking Water Before Meals Can Reduce Appetite

Some people claim that drinking water before a meal reduces appetite.

There actually seems to be some truth behind this, but almost exclusively in middle-aged and older adults [8]. Studies of older adults have shown that drinking water before each meal may increase weight loss by 2kg over a 12-week period.

In one study, middle-aged overweight and obese participants who drank water before each meal lost 44% more weight, compared to a group that did not drink water. Another study also showed that drinking water before breakfast reduced the amount of calories consumed during the meal by 13% [9].

Although this may be very beneficial for middle-aged and older people, studies of younger individuals have not shown the same impressive reduction in calorie intake.


3. Drinking More Water is Linked to Reduced Calorie Intake and a Lower Risk of Weight Gain

Since water is naturally calorie-free, it is generally linked with reduced calorie intake. This is simply because you’re drinking water instead of other beverages, which are often high in calories and sugar [9] Observational studies have shown that people who drink mostly water have up to a 9% (or 200 calories) lower calorie intake [9].

A recent, school-based study aimed to reduce obesity rates by encouraging children to drink water. They installed water fountains in 17 schools and integrated the school curriculum with lessons about water consumption for 2nd and 3rd graders. After one school year, the risk of obesity was reduced by a whopping 31% in schools where water intake was increased [10].

How Much Water Should You Drink?


Water is generally recommended to be consumed in eight glasses a day, which is about two liters of water. However, these requirements can vary from person to person as various factors come into play.

If you live in a warmer environment, your body tends to lose more water due to excessive perspiration. You’ll need to compensate for water loss by drinking more water or taking a sip of water more frequently. Similarly, people who work outdoors as compared to those with desk jobs may have to drink more water to offset dehydration. Sportspersons and others engaged in an active lifestyle are generally expected to keep themselves even more hydrated.

While drinking sufficient quantities of water regularly can help cut down weight marginally, it is unlikely that it will do much if you’re looking to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat on your body. For more stubborn fat deposits that simply refuse to respond to all these stimuli, you could explore non-invasive fat removal treatments.


CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that destroys fat cells by freezing them at sub-zero temperatures. Scientifically known as cryolipolysis, this FDA-approved fat reduction treatment is safe, and effective in removing stubborn fat deposits, even from hard-to-reach areas of the body [11].

Each treatment session usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes. An applicator, which is an extension of the CoolSculpting machine, is applied to the targeted area to begin the treatment.

Unable to withstand the freezing temperatures, the fat cells begin to freeze and break down. However, the surrounding skin layers remain unaffected because they have better resistance levels to these temperatures. Once the procedure is complete, patients are able to resume their daily activities. The destroyed fat cells are naturally ejected via the body’s lymphatic system over the next few weeks.



SculpSure is another FDA-approved non-invasive procedure that uses lasers to heat and destroy stubborn fat deposits in areas such as the belly, under the chin, thigh, love handles, and under the arms. The applicators emit lasers, and they are able to penetrate deep into the dermis layer of the skin, targeting the fat cells underneath.

The lasers bypass the outer skin layer and heat the underlying fat cells which begin to disintegrate thereafter. The destroyed fat cells get eliminated from the body along with other wastes as part of the lymphatic processes in the following weeks. Apart from removing fat deposits from under the skin, SculpSure also boosts collagen production leading to smoother, firmer skin.

Like CoolSculpting, SculpSure also requires no downtime, so patients can return to their daily activities immediately after the session [12].