You don’t need to be a nutritionist or a personal trainer to know that cutting excess calories from your diet while increasing your activity level is the basic formula for successful weight loss. Although exercise makes you stronger and boosts your metabolism, your dietary habits can have an even greater effect on your waistline. Choose water rather than caloric beverages of any kind, and especially avoid drinks high in sugar. Water is an easy way to jump start and sustain any weight loss. Don't worry about heating the water before you drink it, though – water can work its magic at any temperature.
The Hot Water Myth
Even though the recommendation to “eat a little less and move a little more” sounds easy, weight loss can be a real challenge. So it's not surprising that countless myths exist about how you can lose weight faster or how you can lose weight with very little effort. One such myth is that you can lose weight by drinking hot water. This myth relies on the premise that your digestive system needs to bring hot water down to your core body temperature for it to absorb the water, which – according to the myth – burns a few calories and boosts your metabolism in the process. Although it’s true that your body uses approximately 10 calories to digest 100 calories, you don’t expend a significant amount of energy to absorb water -- no matter the temperature of the water. And drinking hot water won’t speed up your metabolism; your body’s metabolic rate is fairly stable and is mostly determined by your size, age, gender and genetics.
How Hot Water Might Help With Weight Loss
In one respect, when it comes to water's role as a potential weight-loss aid, hot water may have a leg up on cold water in that hot water stays in your stomach a bit longer. Cold water is absorbed a little faster than hot water, so drinking a cup of hot water could help you feel fuller a bit longer than if you drank the same amount of cold water. Although this might be helpful when you’re trying to avoid snacking, scientific studies have yet to validate whether the effect is significant enough to make a measurable difference. If you notice that drinking hot water helps you get through the day without consuming unplanned calories, then this might be a good strategy for you.
Drink Water Hot, Cold or Tepid
It’s safe to say that if drinking a beverage accounts for a significant number of calories in the average diet, then drinking water – whether hot, cold or room-temperature water – is a big step toward attaining a healthy body weight. But drinking water may do more than prevent you from drinking too many liquid calories – it may also help you eat fewer calories at mealtime. “Preloading” with water, or drinking approximately 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal, can boost your weight-loss efforts. According to a 2015 randomized, controlled trial published in the journal Obesity, dieters who drank water before eating consumed an average of 40 fewer calories per meal and lost more weight than those who didn’t preload with water.
Other Ways to Enjoy Water
Drinking water – and making it an everyday habit – is a good strategy in any weight-loss plan, but this strategy is useful only if you can maintain it on a long-term basis. Water is still a good choice if you’d simply like a little flavor or a bit of fizz, and experimenting with infusions and sparkling water can help keep you from becoming bored. A squeeze of fresh lemon will make hot and cold water a little more refreshing, as will crushed mint leaves, cucumber slices or slices of peeled fresh ginger. Sparkling or carbonated water may actually have its own potential weight-loss benefits – according to a small study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology in 2012, which found that drinking carbonated water on an empty stomach can help you feel fuller longer than if you drank regular water.
- NHS Choices: How Can I Speed Up My Metabolism?
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: McKinley Health Center: Breaking Down Your Metabolism
- Healthshare: Do Our Bodies Absorb Warm Water Quicker Than Cold Water?
- Go Ask Alice!: Is Drinking Cold Water Harmful?
- Obesity (Silver Spring): Efficacy of Water Preloading Before Main Meals as a Strategy for Weight Loss in Primary Care Patients With Obesity: RCT
- PLOS Blogs: Drinking Water Before Meals Leads to Weight Loss
- Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology: The Effects of Carbonated Water Upon Gastric and Cardiac Activities and Fullness in Healthy Young Women
- Macroelements, Water and Electrolytes in Sports Nutrition; Judy A. Driskell and Ira Wolinsky