About 70 percent of our body is made up of water. We can last weeks without food but only 3 days without water. It is also a crucial component to include when trying to lose weight. Water helps us burn more calories, suppress our appetites and is 100 percent calorie free.
Drinking 16 ounces of water adds weight and heaviness to the stomach, stopping any sense of urgency to eat because the circulating hunger hormones have been satisfied. This makes us feel fuller, and reduces the amount of food we eat. Research shows drinking water before every meal reduces the caloric intake on average by 75 calories. That means drinking water before just one meal every day would result in consuming 27,000 fewer calories per year, resulting in the loss of about eight pounds annually! Now imagine the results if water was consumed before each meal.
Does it matter if it’s hot or cold?
How does cold water impact weight?
It can feel so much more refreshing, especially on a hot summer day to drink ice cold water. Drinking cold water before and during exercise can help keep the body from overheating and make workout sessions more productive. This is probably because drinking cold water makes it easier for our bodies to maintain a lower core temperature.
Drinking cold water also boosts metabolism because our bodies have to expend energy (burn calories) to warm it up. Therefore, by drinking lots of cold water each day, your body has to burn extra calories to keep us continually warm.
Sounds pretty good in theory.
Unfortunately, the difference in the number of calories burned while drinking a glass of ice-cold water rather than a glass of warm or room temperature water is only about eight calories.
This is because metabolism is comprised of several factors, including:
- Basal metabolic rate (the bare minimum amount of energy to keep you alive at rest)
- Energy burned during exercise
- Energy burned during non-exercise activity (fidgeting, tapping your toes, blinking your eyes, etc.)
- Energy burned digesting and absorbing food (also known as the thermic effect of feeding, TEF)
Resting metabolic rate accounts for about 70% of our total daily energy expenditure. In contrast, physical activity (both exercise and non-exercise activity) accounts for 20%, and digestion accounts for 10% of our daily energy expenditure. So boosting our metabolic rate by drinking 2 liters of cold water per day would only boost energy expenditure by approximately – 95 calories.
Cold water contracts your blood vessels. Because of this contraction, cold water or cold beverages solidifies the fat in the bloodstream, increasing atheroslcerosis -a process that results in the build up of fatty material in the linings of the blood vessels and makes it difficult to absorb nutrients.
It also hinders digestion. Drinking cold water while eating food can hinder the digestion process, since our body gets an additional task of regulating the temperature of the water. It also dilutes digestive juices and makes them less effective, causing food to stay longer in the stomach and duodenum, making everything more sluggish.
Cold water can also lead to throat discomfort because excess mucous is often produced when cold water comes into contact with the oropharyngeal passages which then causes irritation and congestion.
Can hot water encourage weight loss?
Hot water or lukewarm water has numerous health benefits. Research has shown the optimal temperature is between 130 and 160°F (54 and 71°C). Temperatures above this can cause burns or scalds. For an extra health boost and some vitamin C, try adding a twist of lemon to hot water to make lemon water or to a soothing tea.
Hot water improves digestion. Drinking warm water before a meal can stimulate metabolism and speed up the digestion process by keeping the digestive system moving. As water moves through the stomach and intestines, the body is better able to eliminate waste. Hot water may also help to dissolve and dissipate food the body might otherwise have trouble digesting.
It helps to remove toxins. Sipping a cup of warm water 30 minutes before eating breakfast can help remove toxins from the body by lubricating the gastrointestinal tract to encourage bowel flow and providing the necessary water needed for the kidneys to work filter toxins efficiently.
Hot water can improve mood. It might sound strange, but research has shown drinking warm water can be uplifting and make us feel more open and friendly. Studies have shown water can improve central nervous system activity, as well as mood by boosting participants’ brain activity during demanding activities and which reduced their self-reported anxiety.
Drinking warm water on an empty stomach can help regulate bowel movements. Drinking just one cup of warm water every day in the morning can prevent constipation and decrease the amount of calories absorbed by increasing the rate food flows through the gut.
Perhaps it’s a combination that would work best
Start with a warm cup of water in the morning to improve intestinal mobility and stimulate digestion. This will also keep the body’s temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit so that enzymes integral for chemical reactions in the body can function at their best, promoting balance and stability. Warm water protects from hardening of fatty substances and increases the amount of acids in the stomach, all aiding in better digestion. Drinking hot water on a hot day relieves the body of toxins due to increased sweating, leading to the release of toxins out of the body and purification of the bloodstream. But after physical exertion drink cold water to cool the body more effectively. Cold water has also been shown to help clean the urinary tract system and expel infections.
Water, regardless of temperature helps, weight loss
By staying hydrated, feeling fuller and replacing calories water can make a difference. If you’re hungry between meals pour a tall one first, sometimes dehydration and thirst is mistaken for hunger. Drinking water no matter the temperature has been proven to give us more energy throughout the day. One of the signs of dehydration is fatigue. Because of its ability to move quickly through the body, water can reach our brains and give it a quick boost.
Weight loss is all about calories in and calories out, and burning more calories than we eat forces our bodies to burn fat for energy. Water is calorie-free, which makes it the best way to hydrate without taking in the calories and sugar found in other beverages. For example, switching your morning orange juice, at 112 calories per glass, according to the USDA, for a glass of water every day for a year would save more than 40,000 calories annually, which is equivalent to almost 12 pounds of fat.
How much is needed? It is based on weight and activity level. A good rule of thumb – divide your weight, in pounds, by two, to calculate the minimum recommended. Using this rule, a 180-pound person would need 90 ounces of water, and a 150-pound person would need 75 ounces. With exercise, drink an extra 12 ounces of water for each 30-minute period of activity.
Avoid boredom by using natural flavorings in the water or adding chunks of refreshing watermelon, a few sliced strawberries, or even a cinnamon stick for a spicier option.
The bottom line- simply adding hot or cold water to your weight loss regimen will make a significant difference in achieving your goals.