Water before meals might deter hunger

August 30, 2010|By CHAD SMITH / Special to The Herald-Mail

Is drinking water the cure for the nation's obesity epidemic? Not likely. But a new study has found that drinking a couple of glasses of water before meals can help people consume fewer calories.

There's long been a lot of folklore about water helping people lose weight. And previous studies have found that people who drink water regularly consume fewer calories during meals. But there's been little actual, good research on the subject.

Enter Brenda Davy.

Davy, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, along with her colleagues, decided to conduct what they said is the first well-designed study to actually show that water consumption is a good weight-loss strategy.

The researchers studied 48 adults ages 55 to 75. All of the subjects were asked to consume a low-calorie diet for 12 weeks, but half also drank two 8-ounce cups of water just before each meal.


After 12 weeks, those who drank the water lost about 15 1/2 pounds, compared to only 11 pounds for those who didn't drink the water, Davy reported on Tuesday at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston. The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization that is chartered by the U.S. Congress.

Davy said she believes this approach might work by filling people up with something that has zero calories, making them feel full and less likely to eat as much. It could also make people less likely to consume sweetened drinks, which contain calories that come entirely from sugary syrups.

In my mind, this seems like a pretty simple method to add to a solid weight-loss strategy. I've found that the biggest enemy to weight loss is hunger.

If people don't feel full, or satisfied at meals, the willpower is stretched, and hunger eventually wins the battle. Hunger is a powerful force to contend with. If you're not prepared, all of your weight loss efforts will be for naught.

Combine the water strategy with a balanced, high-fiber meal plan, and I believe you have a solid anti-hunger strategy. Eating lots of greens will provide you with a ton of belly-filling fiber to help you feel full and satisfied after meals. Lean proteins slow the breakdown of carbohydrates and make meals last a bit longer than eating carbs alone.

I've always said that weight loss is pretty simple: eat better, move more. Now with science validating what we've believed, it may have just gotten easier.

Drink your water, and eat your fiber, and you'll give hunger a swift kick in the tail.

Chad Smith is co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC, a Hagerstown personal training Hagerstown personal training company. For information, visit

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