The Best Drinks to Jumpstart Weight Loss, Say Dietitians
One of the hardest steps to sparking weight loss is actually getting started. Believe it or not, drinking particular beverages is an important part of weight loss due to their nutrients and effects on the body. If you don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. Our dietitians on our medical expert board gave their professional advice on the best drinks to jumpstart weight loss.
Here's what they had to say, and for more weight loss tips, check out Drinking This for 3 Days Can Jumpstart Weight Loss, Says Science.
A simple yet effective beverage, water keeps you hydrated and helps to flush out waste in your body.
"Water may sound like a basic drink solution, but this calorie-free, sugar-free, sodium-free, and basically everything-free beverage helps keep you hydrated," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT. "Quenching your thirst with good old water can help jumpstart your weight loss by keeping you hydrated with nothing added into the mix which may derail your goals."
Aside from the weight loss benefits, it's also important to be drinking a certain amount of water per day, and a general rule of thumb should be followed.
"Drink 64 ounces of water per day to keep your system properly operating," says Brittany Dunn, MS, RDN, CD. "This is equivalent to eight cups of water per day. Water plays a vital role in lipolysis–the process your body uses to burn fat."
If water is just too plain, you can dress it up a bit by adding mint or lemon to boost the flavor.
"Many people think they are hungry when they really are thirsty or dehydrated, therefore it is important to drink plenty of water," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim
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Not only is this a soothing drink, but green tea is also good for weight loss due to its high content of antioxidants and catechins—a type of natural phenol and antioxidant that gives the tea its color and taste.
"Some research has found that catechins may help speed up metabolism," says Young.
An article published by the Physiology & Behavior Journal suggests that green tea consists of both tea catechins and caffeine. This green tea-caffeine mixture helps to improve weight maintenance, through thermogenesis–the process of heat production in humans, fat oxidation–the process of breaking down fatty acids, and moderate fat-free mass.
Young also suggests drinking matcha tea in particular. Matcha is a type of green tea with a higher concentration of antioxidants and catechins than loose leaf green tea, making it ideal for weight loss.
Kefir is a fermented dairy beverage that contains numerous strains of probiotics to support gut health.
"Probiotics contribute to weight loss because of the role they play in reducing inflammation, balancing the gut's microbiome, insulin resistance, and fat storage," says Dunn.
Kefir also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)—acids that might help to reduce body fat deposits and improve immune function, supporting fat loss. According to a study done by the Nutrition and Metabolism London Journal, CLA showed to have a range of positive health effects in experimental animal models, including suppressing cancer, reducing body fat accumulation, delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes, delaying the development of atherosclerosis, improving the mineralization of bone, and regulating the immune system
If the taste of kefir alone is undesirable, Dunn suggests trying to add it to a smoothie or in a dish to eliminate the flavor but still get the benefits.
Smoothies and protein shakes
Smoothies and protein shakes can be packed with plenty of nutrients and important fruits, vegetables, and powders that you will be able to feel full and satisfied throughout the day. They're also a convenient way to get nourished on the go.
"Protein is a macronutrient that promotes satiety, and in turn, may support weight loss," says Manaker.
If you add protein powders like whey protein, soy protein, casein protein, egg white protein, and pea protein, you can potentially have a longer-lasting satisfaction, suggests a study from the Nutrition Journal.
According to Dunn, protein also takes more energy to digest, meaning about 20% to 30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it, as opposed to carbohydrates and fat, which take less energy. She also says fruits and vegetables are macronutrients that can contribute to weight loss through energy metabolism and building muscle.
"Fruits and veggies included in smoothies can also contribute to your water/fluid intake," says Dunn. "Foods with 90% to 100% percent water content include cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, and spinach. Other foods containing 70% to 89% percent water include options like bananas, oranges, pears, pineapples, avocados, carrots, and yogurt. These can all be added to smoothies to contribute to water and vitamin consumption."
Similar to green tea, black coffee can fuel your body with caffeine, antioxidants, and other natural compounds.
"Caffeine can increase the number of calories your body burns at a resting state," says Dunn.
If you don't prefer drinking black coffee because it's too strong, you can try adding a milk substitute, which is typically lower in saturated fats and calories.
"As long as you aren't loading it up with sugar, heavy creams, and other unsavory ingredients, coffee can be an impactful part of a weight loss diet," says Manaker.
Although black coffee is beneficial for weight loss, it is also important to note that coffee does contain a lot of caffeine, so always pay attention to your caffeine intake to avoid undesirable health risks. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the current recommended dietary allowance for caffeine is 400 milligrams, which equivalates to about four cups of coffee.