For at least a century, the idea of drinking hot water to lose weight has been circulating around the weight-worried populations of the world. The concept has been espoused by fad dieters and the seriously health-conscious. Although there is no solid proof that drinking hot water promotes weight loss, there is a plethora of evidence that water in general helps weight management and overall health. Water, whether hot or cold, is essential to the body.
In 1886, "The New York Times" published a letter from an Englishman who began a hot water diet while visiting America. When he returned home, he started following the diet, consuming almost nothing but beef and hot water. He reported that he lost weight on the plan, but there is no followup information about his continuing health or weight maintenance. About 15 years later, the Salisbury diet became the latest diet craze. Like the method described, it involved mass quantities of beef and hot water.
There is no proof that drinking hot water in improves weight loss, but it is frequently suggested in various forms. Fans of the method suggest water by itself, or mixed with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Another common suggestion is hot water, lemon juice and honey. Some plans suggest drinking the water throughout the day, others at specific times. Some claim that hot water taken early in the day jumpstarts the metabolism. Others have written that the hot water dulls the appetite so that you can eat less. Details are sketchy about exactly how these functions might work.
Experts agree that to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. When revising diets, a person tends to analyze his food choices more closely than his beverages. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "Rethink your Drink" article on its website, a fancy morning latte can provide you with 265 calories. It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose 1 pound of body fat. If the only change you made were to replace that latte with a cup of plain hot water in the morning, you would probably lose about 1 pound over two weeks.
Even though there is no empirical evidence conclusively showing that drinking hot water helps with weight loss, there is very little risk associated with drinking plain or lemony hot water. Water is essential to every function your body performs, from breathing to thinking and eliminating toxic wastes. Although opinions vary on exactly how much water to drink per day, the old guideline of 64 ounces is still in use. Most people fall short of this recommendation. Whether hot or cold, water provides calorie-free hydration.
You can try drinking hot water yourself and see if it helps curb your appetite. However, if hot water is part of a diet plan that requires you to give up entire food groups -- like the Salisbury diet -- then be sure to give the idea serious consideration before buying into it. Any diet plan that claims "revolutionary" new methods for "miracle" weight loss deserves a skeptical eye.