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Drinking Extra Water May Help Weight Loss By Curbing Calories

weight loss, Bon Secours In MotionThe latest weight loss and health strategy for cutting calories, sugar, salt and fat from your diet may sound rather plain: drink more water.

The results, however, are somewhat sweet.

People who drank one to three extra cups of plain water cut up to 200 calories and 235 milligrams of sodium out of their daily diet, according to a new study. They also consumed from 5 to 18 fewer grams of sugar and decreased their cholesterol intake by 7 to 21 milligrams daily.

“The impact of plain water intake on diet was similar across race/ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight status,” said Kinesiology and Community Health Professor Ruopeng An, in a news release from the University of Illinois. The study was published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

Nutrition and weight loss experts have long recommended people drink plain water to help them stay hydrated and lose weight. People can also avoid hundreds of calories by swapping high-calorie drinks such as soda and sweet tea for water or unsweetened sparkling water.

How much plain water people should drink varies individually based on a person’s activity level and physical needs. When the weather is hot or during exercise, a person needs to increase their water intake. According to the The Institute of Medicine, men need roughly 13 cups of water or 3 liters of total beverages a day. Women need about 9 cups or 2.2 liters of total beverages daily.

Drinking Extra Water May Cut Calories, Help Weight Loss

In Professor An’s study, he 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 overall calculation of total dietary water consumption.

On average, people in the study consumed about 4.2 cups of plain water on a daily basis, accounting for slightly more than 30 percent of their total dietary water intake. Participants’ average calorie intake was 2,157 calories, including 125 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and 432 calories from discretionary foods, which are low-nutrition, calorie-dense foods such as desserts, pastries and snack mixes that add variety to but are not necessary for a healthy diet.

Source: University of Illinois press release, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention