The question: I’ve heard the rumor that you should drink water to lose weight. But can simple H20 really help you shed pounds? It sounds too good to be true.
The experts: Brooke Alpert, R.D., founder of B Nutritious, and Keri Peterson, M.D., a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a medical advisor for Women’s Health
The answer: “I don’t think that water directly affects weight loss,” says Alpert. “However, I think water consumption is directly correlated with weight loss.” As in: Water does not have some magical property that burns fat (sorry!), but it definitely can help you with your weight-loss efforts (hooray!).
First off, staying hydrated could help you avoid overeating. “A lot of people confuse thirst for hunger,” says Peterson. “So they’ll tend to eat rather than drink water.” If you’re craving a midday snack and want to make sure your pangs are caused by hunger, not hydration, have a glass of water first. Then see if you’re still hungry 30 minutes later, says Peterson.
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Also important to keep in mind: “If you’re continually staying well hydrated, that false cue won’t happen,” says Peterson. To make sure you’re getting enough H20 in general, the key is your pee (seriously): You want it to be a pale yellow.
Of course, drinking water also means you’re not drinking something else—such as sugary, caloric beverages or even potentially diet-breaking diet soda.
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That said, this doesn’t mean that you should go around guzzling water nonstop to avoid dehydration. (Though it is rare, it’s actually possible to drink too much water, particularly if you’re forcing yourself to drink regularly even when you’re not thirsty.)
So what’s the moral here? “Water is a great accessory for weight loss,” says Alpert. “Drinking enough water and staying properly hydrated is part of a healthy weight-loss system and healthy weight in general.” We’ll raise a glass of H20 to that!
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