Can drinking water play a role in weight loss? I previously discussed the role that water can have in reducing appetite when drank before or during a meal. Can water also play a role in raising the body’s metabolism thus helping burn more calories at rest? Most studies in overweight and normal weight subjects show that water is capable of doing just that.
Drinking Water Can Raise the Metabolism of Overweight Children
A study of overweight children measured the effect of drinking cold water on resting energy expenditure (1). About an hour after drinking the water the REE (resting energy expenditure) increased by 25% compared to baseline.
To find out if the increase in REE from drinking water actually resulted in weight loss after one year researchers had 50 overweight girls drink an extra 500 mL of water three times a day (2). After one year there was a significant decrease in body weight, body mass index (a measure of fatness) and body composition score (a more accurate measurement than body mass index).
Drinking Water Can Raise the Metabolism of Adults
A study of overweight and obese adults showed that drinking 500 mL of water increased resting energy expenditure by 24% (3). One study found that drinking 500 mL of water increased the metabolic rate by 30% in both male and female adults. A large percent of the thermogenic effect resulted from the body warming the water from 22 to 37 degrees Celsius (4).
- Drinking water has been shown in many studies to raise the resting energy expenditure- a measurement of how many calories we burn at rest.
- In a study of overweight children drinking water resulted in a 25% increase in resting energy expenditure one hour after consuming the water.
- A follow up study found that increasing daily water intake for one year in overweight children was associated with a decrease in body weight, body mass index and body composition score.
- One study of overweight adults found that drinking water increased resting energy expenditure by 24% while another study found a 30% increase in resting energy expenditure among normal weight adults.
- Dubnov-Raz, G., Constantini, N. W., Yariv, H., Nice, S., & Shapira, N. (2011). Influence of water drinking on resting energy expenditure in overweight children. International journal of obesity, 35(10), 1295.
- Vij, V. A., & Joshi, A. S. (2013). Effect of ‘water induced thermogenesis’ on body weight, body mass index and body composition of overweight subjects. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 7(9), 1894.
- Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Franke, G., Birkenfeld, A. L., Luft, F. C., & Jordan, J. (2007). Water drinking induces thermogenesis through osmosensitive mechanisms. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 92(8), 3334-3337.
- Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Hille, U., Tank, J., Adams, F., Sharma, A. M., … & Jordan, J. (2003). Water-induced thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88(12), 6015-6019.