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Drinking Water and Weight Loss

Each week, we’ll be pulling out one of your emails from our mail bag and featuring them here. Feel free to submit as many questions as you would like. All questions having to do with Nutrition, Weight Loss and Obesity-related health conditions are fair game.

“Dr. Kim,

How can drinking lots of water during the course of the day help you lose weight? I feel that it only causes bloating and
water weight gain?"

- Christine P.

Water doesn’t actively promote weight loss, but it is an important tool for losing weight. More on this in a little bit.

Water is the most important nutrient we consume. We could survive three to four weeks without food, but only three to four days without water. Our bodies are 50 to 75 percent water (about 10 to 12 gallons). An average adult loses about two and a half quarts, or 10 cups of water daily. So you can see why it’s important to maintain your fluid intake. The recommended daily intake is between eight to 10 cups a day.

Water serves many functions in our body. It carries our blood cells and vital nutrients throughout our body. It serves as a lubricant for our joints and our eyes. It helps us regulate our body temperature through perspiration. It assists our digestive system in breaking down food, first as saliva and then as gastric acid. It keeps our respiratory tract moist, which in turn prevents infection. Lastly, water helps us eliminate waste products through the production of urine. So it’s easy to see that with all that water does, how we couldn’t live long without it.

Getting back to weight loss—water was shown in one study to directly promote weight loss. It’s believed that the body expends calories to raise the temperature of the digestive tract after passing water cools it down. This effect is nominal and wouldn’t lead to significant weight loss by itself. However, water was shown to promote weight loss indirectly by reducing consumption.

Water consumed before and during a meal can reduce food intake in a couple of different ways. First, it slows down your eating. This is important because it takes about 20 minutes for you to start feeling full after starting a meal. If you can prolong your meal, you’ll likely tak e in fewer calories. The second is that water adds volume to the food you eat. This, in turn, causes greater expansion of your stomach, making you feel fuller faster. So if you’re trying to lose weight, drink two cups of water before each meal and a sip of water between each bite.

What’s great about working with a medical weight loss center is that not only do you have access to diet plans, a FDA approved weight loss program, safe appetite suppressants and a medical weight loss clinic, you can ask questions, get tips and discover creative weight management programs.




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