Can you lose weight by drinking water? Heck yes, you can but…
Don’t get all excited and start chugging down a thousand liters of water.
NCBI, most trusted medical publication have released their study on water and weight loss.
The abstract states, “…Drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. The increase occurred within 10 min and reached a maximum after 30-40 min…”
The faster your metabolic rate is, the more fat you will burn.
Albeit, you have to combine drinking water with other methods to lose that unloved blob. Doing so will increase your chances of achieving a more desirable outcome.
- How water makes you lose weight
- Water has no calories
- Water makes you full
- Water makes your workout fresh
- Drinking water before a meal reduces calorie intake
How water makes you lose weight
Drinking water to achieve weight loss is a good start, but that is only one part of the equation to losing weight. Let’s dig deeper on how drinking water can make you shed more weight.
Water has no calories
The best thing about water is no matter how much you gulp down, you will never gain weight as it only has 0 calories.
If you have been pairing your meals with carbonated, sweetened drinks in the past, switching to only water will definitely help.
Needless to say, sweetened beverages adds more calories compared to water. By drinking water instead of sugar-filled beverages, you consume fewer calories. Thus reducing your daily calorie intake, making you lose weight.
Water makes you full
Water is a great way to curb your hunger, especially when midnight snack beckons. If you like to eat at night, you might be going over your recommended daily calorie intake.
Eating at night won’t cause you to gain weight but if that midnight snack turns into a midnight feast then you will likely put on a bit.
I know some people who think eating at night makes you gain weight. I always tell them, it is a myth and has been busted.
The time you eat, whether it is at midnight or not, doesn’t affect your weight. What matters is what you eat and how much. NCBI has studied the link, if any, between nighttime calories intake and body mass index. They had found there is no correlation between eating in the middle of the night and gaining weight.
NCBI suggests the added calories from midnight snacking puts your recommended daily intake way over, causing the weight gain.
Water makes your workout fresh
Okay, have you ever tried working out without drinking water? I have. The short gist of it is you shouldn’t.
Do you know how I felt after working out for an hour without water? My lips were dry, I had white gunk (froth) on the side of my mouth, everything looked hazy, I thought I was going to faint. I was close to being extremely dehydrated.
When you are sweating out more water than you are taking in, you will be dehydrated causing you to faint. Staying hydrated is important while working out and doing high-intensity activities like playing sports.
Water is needed to help your body function properly. Without water, you will enter a state of dehydration. Being dehydrated doesn’t mean a trip to the emergency, but severe dehydration does.
According to Mayo Clinic, the following are some major complications of extreme dehydration which can be life-threatening:
- Heat injury
- Urinary and kidney problems
- Low blood volume shock
An unnecessary risk which is easily preventable with a sip of water.
Drinking water before a meal reduces calorie intake
To be honest, this method doesn’t work on me, frankly because I am a heavy eater. You must know, I can eat a big meal and have my dessert too.
I may feel full drinking water before a meal but, I can still devour a 4-course buffet. I learned to take control of it to lose weight.
A study for 12 weeks to find the correlation of weight loss and drinking water before meals, saw participants lose 2 kilograms.
Participators included middle-aged and older adults. If you are younger, your metabolism is much faster, allowing you to burn more calories than the older demographic.
Being younger than 40, you are at advantage of shedding weight. So, if a 40-year-old dad like me can lose the fat, imagine a young buck or chick like you, can do.
How to lose weight fast by drinking water
Our body can survive the harshest of conditions. Just look at the people living in the hottest place on the planet, Australia.
Now you might be asking, “Australia? What the heck are you going on about?”
Before you get your tail in a spin and turn your world upside down, let me explain. I live in Australia and have visited and lived in tropical countries. I have visited Thailand and Vietnam. I lived in the Philippines for more than a decade. By far, Australia is the hottest, in the summer months.
Many won’t know this, but the Australian sun is hella hot.
Asia is humid, so is Australia, but the Australian sun burns your skin. Why do you think Australia is one of the countries with the highest skin cancer cases?
According to Cancer Council Australia, in the summer months, countries in the southern hemisphere, including Australia, is closer to the sun.
I think I may have gone off topic here but I do geek out when I try to prove a point.
But, just imagine spending your time in these hot places without any water? You will die without water but not without your body putting up a fight.
Below are some ideas to lose weight fast by drinking water. All of them puts your body through the wringer. Attempt at your own risk.
ADF or intermittent fasting
Before we move on, I must tell you that I don’t approve of this method when you are a fairly active person. Living an active lifestyle could mean a person who exercises frequently or may have a job that requires a considerable output of energy.
Fasting on days when you have to work or exercise could land you in a bit of trouble.
If you are the sedentary type and you work at a desk then this may work for you.
ADF or alternate day fasting or intermittent fasting for weight loss is when you have a “fast” day, followed by “eat all you want” or “buffet” day.
A fast day is when you eat only 20% of your total daily calories and drink water to help with hunger. While a buffet day is when you gorge everything in sight.
Studies were done about ADF and intermittent fasting by NCBI. They concluded that short term intermittent fasting is safe.
Albeit, and this is an important “although”, NCBI also says further studies need to be made to determine the safety of long term application.
Drinking water while cutting back on your calorie intake on an alternating basis will make you lose weight in a week.
We are now entering the world of weight loss extremes. If I didn’t agree with the ADF, I surely do not advocate water fasting.
Water fasting is when you drink or eat nothing but water. There is no set time as to how long, but the general consensus is 24 hours to 3 days.
As mentioned before, our body can withstand many punishments including, starving for weeks or days without water.
Our body can live without food far longer than not drinking water.
Lose weight fast
With this method, the chance of you losing weight quickly is high. The fact that you consume 0 calories in one day can put you on a huge calorie deficit in a week. When you do it 3 times a week, you’ll fit your super skinny tight jeans after a week or 2.
Losing weight is great but you have to do it the right and safest way possible. And, water fasting for 3 days can be dangerous. Even more so if you go over 3 days without medical supervision.
Please put your health and safety first before vanity.
Benefits of water fasting
That said, there are die-hard advocates of water fasting that have written about its benefits. Let’s look at some of them:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Promotes autophagy (cells are broken down and used again)
- Lowers blood sugar
- May prevent chronic diseases
Lowers blood pressure
A publication from NCBI, proved that water fasting lowers hypertension. In a study, under medical supervision, 178 people fasted for 10 -11 days and the result was positive. 90% of the people lowered their blood pressure to a safe level. But, 10 to 11 days without eating? I start going crazy in a day.
Sadly, there are no medical studies on supporting short term water fasting to lower blood pressure.
Autophagy is a process when your body breaks down a cell then re-uses it. How it benefits you is your body will always have cells that work, not dead ones. Those dead cells may lead to cancer growth and other diseases. Source
Lowers blood sugar
NCBI published a report stating that water fasting can improve your body’s insulin and leptin sensitivity. When your body is susceptible to insulin, it becomes more efficient at reducing your blood sugar. Being leptin sensitive helps your body to better manage hunger.
May prevent chronic diseases
NCBI states, “Fasting, induced acute changes in biomarkers of metabolic, cardiovascular and general health.” By altering your body’s metabolic rate, heart BPM, and overall health, your odds of getting a life-threatening disease decreases.
After hearing all these benefits by now you are thinking, water fasting must be safe. People are getting good results, so you should too.
What you need to understand is every research done was made under careful medical supervision. If you are still considering to give water fasting a try, read below.
Dangers of water fasting
Careful consideration should be taken before undertaking a fast. Your health and well-being is and should always be a top priority.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the dangers of water fasting:
- Loss of vitamins
- Aggravates current disease
- Muscle loss
Loss of vitamins
Deprivation from essential vitamins is one of the negative effects of fasting. These vitamins and minerals are crucial for your body to function properly.
Vitamins like manganese, selenium, and zinc can be lost at a considerable level while water fasting. Selenium is important to regulate the thyroid.
Manganese helps activate many enzymes to aid the metabolism rate. Also, it breaks down protein, cholesterol, and carbohydrates.
Zinc is found everywhere in your body and it also helps break down carbohydrates. Zinc guards your immune system so it functions properly.
Without Zinc, your wound may not heal quickly as it should. For any diet, vitamin deficiency is a risk. I recommend taking vitamin supplements to counteract such effects.
Aggravates current disease
Aggravation of current disease can lead to detrimental health issues. What’s supposed to heal you, may make you even worse.
You shouldn’t fast if you have the following diseases:
- Kidney disease – Study has shown that people who fasted for a month decreased their renal function.
- Gout – Complications may arise from fasting as stated by NCBI, “Medical complications seen in fasting include gout…”
- Eating disorders – Studies have shown there are factors that increase eating disorders like Bulimia. Binge eaters also returned to their old habits, post water fast.
Muscle loss has also been recorded while studying the effects of water fasting. “At the end of the fast, body mass had decreased by 25.5%, of which a quarter to a third was due to loss of fat and the remainder to fat-free mass, predominantly muscle.”
Fainting caused by Orthostatic Hypotension is common among fasting practitioners (source). A sudden drop in blood pressure can cause a person to faint. Fainting may not be fatal but losing consciousness while driving can be hazardous for everyone. It is suggested if you suffer from Orthostatic Hypotension while fasting, not to perform any activity that may involve operating machinery.
To summarize, drinking water alone will not make you lose weight. Incorporating it with a calorie deficit diet or regiment such as water fasting, will.
There are certain benefits when it comes to water fasting but all the studies were not substantial enough to warrant a definite conclusion.
It’s not all gravy. There are risks associated with water fasting. A sudden drop in blood pressure, muscle loss, and vitamin deficiency are just some of them.
These can all be negated by choosing a safer and healthier way to lose weight. I wrote an article about how to lose stomach fat if you are interested in losing your belly gut.