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Old 26-10-2011, 09:09 AM   #1
The real reason water helps you lose weight
.BZU. .BZU. is offline 26-10-2011, 09:09 AM

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Water was a very hot topic indeed last week when the results of a study linked water drinking to weight loss. The research showed that adults who drank two cups of water before each meal consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than those who didn't have the water. But it's not because there's a magic ingredient in water that sheds pounds or flushes away fat. There's more to the story on how water may ease girth control.

First a quick recap of the study: The scientists divided overweight and obese individuals into two groups. Both were given low-calorie diets but one group had to drink two eight-ounce glasses of water before each meal. At the end of the 12-week study, while both groups lost weight, the water drinking subjects lost an average of about five pounds more than their non-water drinking counterparts.

Some of the clues as to how the water may have helped the weight loss came from the study subjects who reported feeling more alert and less tired than usual. So what does that mean? If drinking water makes you feel more alert, then chances are that you're mildly dehydrated.

While this mild dehydration isn't dangerous, being slightly dehydrated can have consequences when it comes to how much you eat. It can interfere with hunger signals and leave you confused as to whether you are hungry or thirsty. Just think of how good having a juicy peach or two sounds if you're thirsty. But drink a glass or two of water and they may not seem as appealing.

Now think of this concept as it applies to meals. If you drink water when you're mildly dehydrated then chances are that you'll eat a little less - maybe just a little - but still less. In the study, the calorie difference between the two groups was less than 100 calories - nothing earth shattering but significant enough to impact weight loss.

In other words, it's not that drinking water flushes fat out of your body or offers some miracle way to lose weight - even if some bottled water companies would like you to believe it. After all, the water drinking dieters in this study were on a calorie-controlled eating regime. And in fact, other studies have shown that drinking water alone as a way to eat less doesn't aid in weight loss.

But water incorporated into a food can have much more of an impact on how much you eat. Think of high water content fruits and vegetables and how full you feel after eating them. It's one of the reasons that meeting your quota of these foods is linked to being at a healthier weight.

In a study at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers tested three different appetizers on subjects to determine the effect of water on calorie consumption - a chicken rice casserole, a chicken rice casserole with a glass of water alongside and then the same chicken rice casserole with the water incorporated into the casserole to make it a soup. When the subjects ate the casserole with or without drinking the water, they consumed the same number of calories at lunch. But when they had the soup, they ate less at lunch and didn't make up the calories at dinner.

Loading up on high water content produce will not only offer you the assorted disease-fighting benefits of fruits and vegetables, but, as with the chicken soup, they will also help to make you feel fuller. What's behind this is a term called caloric density. It refers to the number of calories in a gram or ounce of a particular food. A high caloric density food will supply many calories in a small serving compared to a low-density food, which offers plenty of bulk but at a lower caloric cost. Think one tablespoon of peanut butter at 94 calories versus one half cup cooked cauliflower at 15 calories. Eating 2.5 cups of cauliflower would still be fewer calories but it would definitely be more filling. As there is only so much room in your stomach, eating more foods with a lower caloric density can help you to take in fewer calories overall. Simply put, you will feel less hungry, making waist management an easier task.

But one instance where water alone can offer some real weight control perks is when it replaces calorie-containing beverages. Obviously if you have water instead of a sugar-containing soft drink or fruit juice, you will consume fewer calories. Switch to water over one can of regular pop on a daily basis and you'll save the caloric equivalent of about 15 pounds a year.

Here's a nifty trick, though, to help you save calories if you are a wine drinker. Always be sure to have a glass of water alongside your glass of wine. While years ago, spritzers, where the wine and water was combined, were popular, nowadays, wine drinkers tend to enjoy their vintages and would never dilute them with water. But if you make it a practice to have water to drink to quench your thirst and sip your wine for taste, then you will consume much less wine and consequently fewer calories. Just how often have you finished a glass of wine off too quickly because you were thirsty?

Keep in mind that staying well hydrated isn't just a warm weather issue. It certainly may be more pronounced when outdoor temperatures soar, but exercise and your environment can make it a year-round matter.


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