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Without water, there is no life – water is essential for a healthy body. But what’s the deal with drinking water for weight loss? Can we really drink ourselves slim? Let’s take a closer look at this topic together.

Myth: water diet

Drinking only water for several days and instantly becoming slim; unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We actually advise against the water diet that works this way, as your body will start breaking down your muscles during this time. When losing weight, the goal is generally to lose as little muscle as possible and instead reduce fat tissue. While the water diet promises to flush out fat cells, there is no scientific evidence to support this. For long-term successful weight loss, we recommend a change in diet, and water should certainly be a fundamental part of this.

Water for weight loss – How much water is actually good for the body?

very cell in the body needs water to survive, so it’s clear that water is indispensable for a healthy diet. But how much water does the body actually need?

The German Nutrition Society recommends that adults consume between 2.3 and 2.7 liters of water per day, depending on their age. About 1.2 to 1.5 liters of this should come from beverages. The rest is obtained through water-rich foods. Those who sweat a lot through sports or in hot weather lose more water and should replace this loss. The same goes for vomiting and/or diarrhea.
By the way, it is also possible to drink too much water: consuming more than 6 liters at once can lead to water intoxication. Even about 10 liters spread throughout the day can cause issues, as the excessive water can disrupt the body’s salt balance. Anyone who regularly has excessive thirst and drinks large amounts of water daily should be tested for diabetes by a doctor.

How water helps with weight loss

  1. At first, it sounds absurd, but sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger because hunger and thirst are closely linked in the brain. So it’s always a good idea to drink a glass of water first and wait about 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry afterward, then you should eat something.
  2. Stopping cravings with water: Drinking a glass of water first gives you some time. You can prepare a healthy snack or make a thoughtful and healthy choice while out. Therefore, a glass of water is useful not because it completely eliminates the craving, but because it gives you time to make a conscious choice.
  3. Water contains no calories, making it the ideal drink for those looking to lose weight. Calorie-rich drinks like soft drinks or juice can contribute to weight gain because the calories they contain do not satiate and can lead to cravings due to the rapid rise in blood sugar. Interestingly, water also seems to have an advantage over diet drinks in weight loss, as artificial sweeteners are suspected of promoting cravings.
  4. Some studies show a reduced calorie intake if water is drunk about 30 minutes before a meal. However, the results are not conclusive and the studies were only carried out with a few participants. The significance is therefore limited.
  5. Dehydration leads to the release of cortisol. This stress hormone regulates sleep and fat metabolism. High cortisol levels make weight loss significantly harder. Learn more about stress and nutrition.

You may have heard that drinking water boosts metabolism. This is only partially true. While the body does expend energy to warm or cool the ingested liquid to body temperature, this additional energy expenditure is so minimal with normal drinking amounts that it has no effect on weight loss.

Drinking water for weight loss with the gastric balloon

Naturally, drinking water is also an important part of the diet during gastric balloon therapy. However, this is not so easy in the first few days after implantation. Together with your Weight Buddy, you’ll discuss how to get through these days and what you can do in preparation.
During the therapy, you should not drink water directly while eating, as this can dilute the food mush and affect satiety. Therefore, always keep a 30-minute gap between eating and drinking.

Additional benefits of water for your health

Most of the benefits of good hydration come from avoiding dehydration.

  • Water retention: Good hydration helps to flush out excess water from the body.
  • Brain function: 73% of our brain consists of water, so even a slight deficiency can lead to performance loss. Fluids help with concentration and performance.
  • Blood circulation and blood pressure: Too little water can lead to “thick blood,” affecting circulation and blood pressure.
  • Motivation: A deficiency can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and general lethargy, so drinking enough is important for motivation and can lead to more activity.
  • Preventing constipation: Fluids support bowel activity and ensure normal digestion.

Tips for more water in your daily life

You have now found out why it makes sense to drink more water — and it was probably not new to you before. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to put into practice. That’s why we have some tips for you on how to drink water to lose weight easily:

  1. Flavor your water: Plain water can be boring. Add mint, lemon, berries, or basil for more flavor. Tea can also add variety. In summer, cold tea can be a refreshing drink.
  2. Become a water sommelier: Mineral water can taste quite different. Try out different types. Pay attention to the mineral content; we recommend water rich in calcium.
  3. Drink reminders: Smartphones or smartwatches can remind you to drink. Set multiple daily reminders if you often forget to drink.
  4. Be prepared: Always have a small water bottle in your handbag or backpack, and keep one in your car. At work, have a glass of water ready at your desk from the start of the day. If you’re a handyman, attach a small water bottle to your tool belt. Find a solution that fits your daily routine.
  5. Establish drinking routines: Drink throughout the day, as our bodies can absorb only 500-800 ml per hour. Create routines like drinking right after waking up, before leaving the house, upon returning home, before cooking, during workouts, before bed, etc.
  6. Water-rich foods: At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that foods can also be water-rich and help meet your daily water needs. Vegetables and fruits, like cucumber, watermelon, zucchini, green asparagus, and mushrooms, are great examples.

 

Reading tip: 5 a day: How to eat more vegetables!

 

Sources

https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/referenzwerte/wasser/

https://www.charite.de/service/pressemitteilung/artikel/detail/macht_wassertrinken_schlank/

Corney, R. A., Sunderland, C., & James, L. J. (2016). Immediate pre-meal water ingestion decreases voluntary food intake in lean young males. European journal of nutrition, 55(2), 815–819. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-0903-4 

Van Walleghen, E. L., Orr, J. S., Gentile, C. L., & Davy, B. M. (2007). Pre-meal water consumption reduces meal energy intake in older but not younger subjects. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 15(1), 93–99. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2007.506

Tey, S. L., Salleh, N. B., Henry, J., & Forde, C. G. (2017). Effects of aspartame-, monk fruit-, stevia- and sucrose-sweetened beverages on postprandial glucose, insulin and energy intake. International journal of obesity (2005), 41(3), 450–457. https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2016.225

The yo-yo effect, cravings, stress - losing weight can be quite frustrating. But there is a way out for everyone. Together we will find the right solution for you. As a nutritionist at My Weight®, I support my patients individually and personally on their way to their desired weight. Losing weight can and should be fun...and we work on this together! 😊

Maren - Weight Buddy® and nutritionist My Weight®

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