The Skinny on Water

You've heard it before: Drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day. But did you know water can help you lose weight two different ways?

Some research shows that drinking two glasses of water before eating causes people to eat fewer calories. On top of that, recent studies have found that drinking water significantly elevates the body's resting energy expenditure (REE). In other words, if you drink enough water, your body will burn more calories at rest! REE represents the amount of calories your body requires for a non-active, 24-hour period. It may be even better if the water is cold. The theory is that your digestive system has to expend energy to warm the water to room temperature, burning calories in the process. One study demonstrated an increase of up to 25 percent in REE following a drink of cold water. The authors concluded that drinking the recommended daily amount of cold water could aid in weight loss over time.

Staying hydrated can also help prevent high blood sugar. Drinking water helps the body flush out glucose through the kidneys and in your urine. Remember, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking water — thirst is a sign that you’re already dehydrated. Drinking throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated. You can tell if you’re getting enough water by the color of your urine — if it is pale yellow to clear, you are drinking a sufficient amount.


1 – Davy, B.M., Dennis, E.A., Hendrick, V.E., Estabrooks, P.A., and Dietrich, A.M. 2010. Drinking more water: An effective strategy for the prevention and treatment of obesity? Paper presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, MA.
2 – Dubnov-Raz, G., Constantini, N.W., Yariv, H., Nice, S., and Shapira, N. 2011. Influence of water drinking on resting energy expenditure in overweight children. International Journal of Obesity, 35: 1295-1300.

Reviewed by Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN. 05/12


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Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

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