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Drinking Water and Losing Weight

Posted June 5th, 2017

We all know that water is essential for life. Unfortunately, the modern life style has deprioritized the importance of water to such a nonexistence that heavily sugared and artificially flavored soft drinks are synonymous to water. If you need a reason to quit soft drinks, here it is: drinking plain water leads to weight loss and healthier dietary habits. 

Researchers from the University of Illinois examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 U.S. adults from the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. Participants were asked to recall everything they ate or drank over the course of two days that were three to 10 days apart. The researchers then calculated the amount of plain water each person consumed as a percentage of their daily dietary water intake from food and beverages combined. Beverages such as unsweetened black tea, herbal tea and coffee were not counted as sources of plain water, but their water content was included in the calculation.

The study found that the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water — tap water or from a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle — by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. Specifically, people who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams. They also consumed 5 grams to nearly 18 grams less sugar and decreased their cholesterol consumption by 7 to 21 milligrams daily.

The study results further showed that the impact of plain water intake on diet was similar across race/ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight status and that the decreases were greater among men and among young and middle-aged adults.

So next time, when the waiter asks “drinks?” – you say “Plain water please.”

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Connie Wan

 Journal Reference: R. An, J. ‎McCaffrey. Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005-2012. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/jhn.12368

Source: Informed Nutrition