Water, a Secret Weight-Loss Weapon

September 22, 2010 in Nutrition, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

An interesting little article in the Chicago Tribune, published on August 23, 2010, was reporting on the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. It’s somewhat fun when the scientists come up with something that they think works and it’s really from the past. The scientists, who study weight loss, say that the latest and greatest idea for weight loss is to drink two cups of water before meals. It sounds a little too easy, but hey, if professor Brenda Davy and the other researchers from Virginia Tech say they tried it on 48 people and it worked; I’m in; two cups of water sounds fairly harmless, if not helpful.  Half of those in the study were told to drink the two cups of water before meals; the result was that they ate about 75 to 90 fewer calories during the meal and lost about five pounds more than the other dieters.

Let’s take a second look at this finding. You may think: “Only 75 calories?” Is it worth it to save 75 calories? I’d have to lend a resound, “Yes!” The 75 calories reminds me again of Brian Wansink’s research in Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think . His research has shown that just cutting back a couple hundred calories per day does not set off the frequently suffered feelings of being ravenous after cutting back too much. At this small amount the body doesn’t even notice the shortage.  Now don’t think that if two cups of water can save you 75 to 90 calories that more will reduce your intake even more. I doubt that will work. Also, please be aware that you can get life threatening water intoxication, if you go off the deep end, drinking way too much water.

One of the possible mechanisms of action is that the two cups of water was replacing high-calorie drinks.  Some of the highest calorie drinks are mochas and Frappuccino; ranging from 290 to 660 calories for common Starbucks versions. Some green tea has 240 calories, unlike the fatty Mocha and Frappuccinos, the calories are all from sugar in the teas. Energy drinks do deliver the energy (as measured in calories); Rockstar energy drink has 280 calories, which is only slightly less than the 320 calories in a 20-ounce bottle of Sunkist soda pop. Eat This, Not That named the Cold Stone PB&C shake as the Worst beverage in America.

Summer hikes to the waterfalls is coming to an end.; it appears that it deserves the honor with 2,010 calories (from fat, much of it saturated and 21 teaspoons of sugar.)

Don’t forget that drinking calories does not satisfy your hunger mechanism. What that means is that, if you drink beverages with calories, it does not satisfy the same as solid food calories. So don’t decide that you like juice or some other sweetened beverage better than water, because it will probably not net the desired weight loss.