Health Hub

This is how drinking water can help with weight loss

Although a important daily habit, water also plays an important role in weight loss.

This Is How Drinking Water Can Help with Weight Loss | Juniper

It’s no secret that drinking plenty of water is an important daily habit.

Getting adequate H20 is essential for just about every process in our body: from regulating body temperature to generating energy inside our cells [1]. When we don’t get enough of it, we can feel sluggish, lethargic, irritable, and have a cracking headache. Essentially, water is our most important life force — besides oxygen!

However, it might surprise you to learn that water also plays an important role in weight loss. If you’ve been trying to shift weight for a long time to no avail, proper hydration might be the missing piece of the weight loss puzzle.

And the good news is, if you struggle to guzzle enough plain tap water because you find it boring, there are plenty of other options.

Read on for everything you need to know about how water can help you lose weight.

Does water help with weight loss?

Now, you might be feeling a little sceptical. “Can drinking water really help me lose weight?” After all, you already drink it every day, and perhaps your previous weight loss attempts have proven less than fruitful.

The answer is: drinking water alone isn’t the holy grail for losing weight. However, if you’re not drinking enough of it, it can be a barrier to your success. There are a few key reasons water is an important weight loss tool:

Water boosts your metabolism

Your metabolism plays a huge role in how efficiently your body uses energy (and whether it will be stored as fat). There are certain foods and drinks that can keep your body in a calorie-burning mode for longer, and water is one of them.

Drinking water increases energy expenditure — the number of calories you burn at rest. This is because your body has to work hard to regulate the temperature of the water to one that can be digested by this body. For this reason, drinking cold water (as opposed to room temperature) can help you blitz a few extra calories [2].

Studies show that drinking water can boost metabolism by up to 25% for an hour after drinking it [3]. While this effect may be quite small, it can have a powerful snowball effect when you’re drinking water all day.

Water suppresses your appetite

While water has zero calories, it can still fill your stomach up. For this reason, water makes a great natural appetite suppressant. Research shows that drinking about 2 cups of water should be enough for your body to register fullness [4]. This sends signals to the brain that it’s time to stop eating.

Multiple studies have found that drinking water before a meal can reduce the amount of food consumed. For example, in one 2018 study, subjects who drank water before a test meal ate a lower amount [5]. They also felt just as full as the subjects who ate more at their meal.

Drinking plenty of water between meals can also help keep you full, so you’re not tempted to snack.

Water reduces cravings

Speaking of snacks, adequate water intake can help keep cravings for sweet, salty or savoury things at bay. The reality is, often when we think we're feeling peckish, we're actually thirsty.

Studies estimate that 37% of people mistake thirst for hunger [6]. Because hunger and thirst send the same signal to the brain, it can be difficult to differentiate between them. So, we often find ourselves reaching into the snack drawer when really, we should be reaching for the water bottle.

Luckily, there are other physiological signs of mild dehydration: including a dry mouth, and feeling sluggish, dizzy, or disoriented. So, next time you find yourself hankering for a snack, keep an eye out for those signs and drink a glass of water instead. You'll usually find that the craving quickly dissipates.

This strategy is especially helpful if you crave soft drinks, fruit juice, or diet beverages: as often what you think is wanting a sugary drink is actually just your body's cry for water!

Water improves digestion

Another reason it’s a good idea to have a glass of the good stuff with your meals: it helps with digestion. 

Much like other enzymes and liquids, water helps break down the foods you eat. It also helps keep the food flowing through your GI (gastrointestinal) tract, so that the nutrients can be absorbed into your intestinal lining [7].

This ensures that the nutrients in your food can be used effectively as fuel. It can also help with the absorption of protein, which is essential if you are trying to simultaneously lose fat and gain lean muscle.

Water makes it easier to exercise

Water can also have an indirect effect on weight loss, by giving you the energy you need to move! While exercise isn't always necessary for weight loss, physical activity is an effective way to burn surplus calories. Adequate hydration gives you the energy you need to make that happen!

If you've ever had those workout sessions that felt like a huge drag, it's possible that dehydration was the culprit. Being dehydrated has been found to reduce athletic performance by up to 45% [8].

Not only can it make cardio feel even harder, but it can prevent proper body regulation (ie. sweating) and stop oxygen flow to the muscles. Plus, adequate hydration is essential for cellular repair, so dehydration means you're likely to feel sorer the next day [9].

What types of water are good for weight loss?

When it comes to weight management, it's hard to go wrong with good old-fashioned tap or filtered water. However, if you find it tough to motivate yourself to drink it, there are some ways you can jazz it up.

Is coconut water good for weight loss?

Also known as coconut juice, coconut water is made from the fluid inside green and young coconuts. As a weight loss beverage, coconut water has both its pros and cons. 

Firstly, coconut water is naturally sweet and refreshing. This makes it a healthier alternative to other artificially sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks. Coconut water also contains potassium and high bioactive enzymes. These have been found to increase the body’s metabolic rate which in turn helps you burn more calories.

However, unlike regular water, coconut water does contain calories — which can potentially outweigh the metabolism-boosting benefits. There are about 40-50 calories in 250ml of coconut water, most of which come from carbs [10]. This means that if you’re on keto or another very low-carb diet, coconut water won’t be suitable for you. 

All in all, coconut water isn’t the best type of water for weight loss. However, it can make an excellent pre-workout or alternative to other sugary sports drinks. Just make sure to check the label, and steer clear of supermarket-bought varieties with added sugar.

Is lemon water good for weight loss?

We've all heard of Hollywood celebrities guzzling hot lemon water first thing in the morning, in order to burn fat. But, is there any truth behind its weight loss benefits?

Research shows that lemon can indeed support healthy weight loss. The peel and pulp of lemon contain a soluble fibre called pectin, which promotes the production of digestive enzymes in the liver [11].  This can help your body get rid of waste more effectively.

Plus, animal studies have found that in mice on a high-fat diet, consuming lemon helped suppress fat accumulation, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance [12]. This may be due to a flavonoid in lemon called Hesperidin, which has been found to have a beneficial impact on lipid metabolism.

However, does this mean you should go on a rapid lemon detox in order to lose weight? Certainly not — restrictive diets typically lead to gaining more weight in the long term. Instead, you can simply add lemon slices to your regular water to boost the taste and natural weight loss properties.

Is sparkling water good for weight loss?

Seltzer, mineral or soda water... whatever you choose to call it, sparkling water is a great way to make H20 feel a little fancier.

At face value, sparkling water is no better for weight loss than traditional tap water. It's essentially the same thing but carbonated, which creates the 'fizzy' sensation. However, many people find mineral water to be an effective weight-loss tool, for a number of reasons.

Some find that sparkling water helps with cravings and feelings of satiety. This is because the carbonated bubbles help to create a feeling of fullness in the stomach.

Plus, sparkling water is great for when you're craving something refreshing but are sick of plain water. This makes it suitable for replacing sugary drinks and diet beverages (which often include added chemicals that make you even hungrier!).

Other ideas for increasing your water consumption include drinking herbal teas, using flavoured ice cubes and eating water-rich foods such as celery and watermelon.

What are the other health benefits of drinking water?

Of course, the benefits of adequate hydration go beyond the potential weight loss. There are many other important reasons to drink enough water, including:

Improve your mood

Hydration has a significant impact on brain health. Research shows that dehydration can impede the brain's production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps to regulate mood and calms the body [13].

Boost your brain function

Ever experienced the afternoon slump, where you can barely think straight? This is known as 'brain fog,' and is often the result of dehydration. If hydration levels are too low, our brain cells cannot function effectively, which can drastically impact cognitive focus and energy.

Optimise your overall health

Adult humans are comprised of up to 60% water, and it's involved in everything from carrying nutrients to the cells to normalising blood pressure [14]. Therefore, if you want to future-proof your body from illness, drinking adequate water is crucial.

Stay 'regular'

As mentioned, water is essential for the proper digestion of food. Drinking enough of it can help keep constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues at bay.

How much water should you drink to help weight loss?

The optimal water intake for weight loss depends on a few different factors. Health experts say women should aim for 8 cups (2 litres) per day, while adult men need around 10 cups (2.5 litres) [15]. However, your body weight, body mass index, age, and level of activity also come into play.

How much initial weight loss is water weight?

Given that so much of our body is water, it's not surprising that it's one of the first things to go when we lose weight.

The first week you go on a new diet, it's estimated that 70% of weight loss is water rather than body fat [17]. It can be frustrating when you see rapid weight loss, only for weight loss to quickly plateau after.

The important thing to remember is that fluctuations in water weight are totally normal, and so long as you're reducing calorie intake, more progress likely isn't far around the corner.

At the end of the day, drinking plenty of water plays an important role in weight loss. But, it's just one part of the picture. If you're doing all the right things but still not losing weight, there's nothing wrong with you. You simply need a little help and we are here for that.

Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme combines proven medication, health coaching and ongoing support to help you lose weight and keep it off. We prescribe a GLP-1 medication called Wegovy, which contains the active ingredient semaglutide.

Semaglutide is clinically proven to reduce your appetite and make you feel fuller for longer, while also reducing cravings by targeting the rewards centre in the brain. For long-term success, changing your eating and movement habits is also crucial, which is why we offer a comprehensive programme that includes 3 core pillars of lifestyle change with the assistance of our UK clinicians.

We can help you break habits that might be impacting your weight and help you hit your weight loss goals sooner.