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Does Drinking More Water Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, water can keep you hydrated, but keep reading and you'll find out how it can help you lose weight too.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

Drinking water is often thought of as a means to avoid feeling parched on a hot spring or summer day. Although optimal hydration is key to a healthy lifestyle, does drinking water help you lose weight?

Including enough H2O in your healthy diet may be the missing link you are looking for if you are on a weight loss journey, especially if you are already limiting fried and sugary foods, engaging in physical activity, and adopting other good-for-you habits that support weight loss. Yes, the simple act of drinking enough water and keeping hydrated may be just what your body needs if you are trying to lose weight and you are not seeing the results you want to see. Why water, you ask?

Keep reading to learn exactly why drinking more water may help you lose weight, and how much water you should be drinking every day to support your weight management goals. And for more advice to help guide your healthy hydrating habits, be sure to read What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Gallon of Water Every Day.

Does Drinking Water Help You Lose Weight?

purified drinking water in a glass

Believe it or not, sipping on some "high-quality H2O" (as Adam Sandler would call it in The Waterboy) may help you on your quest to drop a few pounds, especially if you combine this habit with other weight loss-supporting ones, like including physical activity in your day and eating a balanced and calorie-appropriate diet.

Unlike sugary sodas or fancy coffee drinks, water has zero calories, carbs, sugar, salt, and fat. So, drinking it won't contribute to your nutrient quota for the day whatsoever—a great feature for those on a weight loss journey.

But water isn't just a calorie-free thirst quencher. Some data suggest that drinking water can increase the metabolic rate, so your body will burn more calories when it is in a state of rest. In fact, one study published in Nutrition & Diabetes suggests that drinking approximately 16 ounces of water is linked to elevated resting energy expenditure, meaning that the body uses more calories when this amount of water is consumed versus those who do not drink this volume.

Not only can drinking water help you burn more calories when you are at rest, but it may also help you break down fat. According to a study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, enough fluid is needed to break down fat in the body. So, not providing your body with enough fluid may make it more challenging for your body to use fat as fuel.

How Much Water Should I Drink To Lose Weight?

man pouring water in kitchen

The amount of water you need to drink in order to lose weight will vary based on a few factors, including your weight, how much you exercise, and how much you sweat.

Generally, healthy adult men should aim for around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid every day, and healthy adult women should shoot for around a daily intake of 11.5 cups (2.7 liters), per the Institute of Medicine. This fluid volume includes water and other beverages, as well as the water you get from eating certain hydrating foods, like watermelon and cucumbers (which are made of mostly water).

However, it is important to be realistic about the results you will see when you drink more water. If you are bumping up your fluid intake, but you are not eating the right foods, participating in regular exercise, or getting quality sleep, it is unlikely that you will see the pounds melt off simply by sipping from your trendy Stanley cup. But if you are already doing "all the right things," ensuring that you are drinking enough water may be the missing link that your body needs to see the results you want it to see.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
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