Something as simple as drinking two cups (16 oz) of water before meals could help with weight loss. A recent study was done on 55-75 year olds who were classified as overweight or obese. All individuals were instructed to follow a low-calorie/low-fat diet, and half of the individuals were also told to drink 2 cups of water before each meal. At the end of the study, those who had consumed the water before meals lost an average of 16 pounds, while those who did not drink the water lost an average of 11 pounds (a 30% difference).
Drinking water before meals has several benefits. One benefit is that people feel fuller after drinking water and tend to eat less food (and less calories) at the meal. Another benefit found by a different study was that increasing water consumption also helps to cut back on sugary beverages (and their empty calories). Lastly, our brain cannot distinguish the difference between thirst and hunger. Drinking water before a meal quenches thirst so your body is only trying to satisfy hunger at the meal.
The researchers from this study do state that they believe this technique would work better for individuals over the age of 35 because as we age our stomach empties more slowly. Therefore, the older we are, the longer the fluid would remain in our stomach and maintain the feeling of fullness.
However, I think that this could be a good habit for people of all ages who are trying to lose weight and manage hunger (unless a fluid restriction is recommended by your doctor). After all, it takes very little effort, it does not pose any risks and it has other health benefits (i.e. staying well hydrated is good for the skin and digestive health). So, let’s drink to slimming down.
Exercise ETC’s. Over 35? Two Glasses of Water Before Meals Increases Weight Loss by 30%. September 15, 2010.