Diabetes and Weight Loss: How Drinking More Water May Help

It won’t magically melt excess pounds away, but there is evidence that drinking plenty of water each day helps with weight loss.

Losing weight is a frequent treatment goal for people with diabetes since dropping just 5 to 10 percent of our body weight significantly improves blood sugar control. For pre-diabetics, it reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by an amazing 58 percent.

While some of the correlations between increased water consumption and reduced weight are not fully understood by science, others are obvious. For instance:

  • People who drink more water tend to consume fewer sugary beverages such as fruit juice, energy drinks, or soda. We can save ourselves up to 200 calories per day, or 73,000 calories each year, simply by replacing other drinks with pure water.
  • Staying hydrated can prevent us from mistakenly trying to satisfy our thirst with food. Many of us misinterpret our body’s thirst signals as hunger pangs, and reach for a snack instead of water. By doing this we not only consume unnecessary calories, we can easily dehydrate ourselves.
  • Besides actually quenching our thirst, drinking more water may diminish our appetite. A 2010 study showed that drinking about 16 ounces of water before meals helped adults lose 4.4 pounds more - over three months - than those who didn’t drink water before eating. Other studies showed similar results.
  • Research correlates drinking more water with having a lower body mass index* (BMI). Well-hydrated study participants had an average BMI slightly less than those who were chronically under-hydrated. (Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on our weight in relation to our height.)
  • Drinking water has a measurable effect on our metabolism. Downing about 16 ounces of water temporarily raises our resting metabolic rate by 24 to 30 percent. While that’s not enough to burn a significant number of calories, it suggests good hydration might help us reach an elusive weight loss goal.

Though drinking more water is obviously not a stand alone weight loss strategy, it can be a supportive tactic that, by complementing a healthy diet and exercise plan, will gradually eliminate stubborn, unwanted pounds.

However, don’t go overboard—even drinking water can turn into too much of a good thing. Excessive water consumption may cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body. Be safe; talk to your doctor before exponentially increasing your water intake.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine; Mercola
Photo credit: Enid Martindale

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