Drinking water as part of a comprehensive weight loss program that includes reducing calories and increasing physical activity is a good strategy for losing weight, especially if you drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. It is not possible to say whether drinking 12 cups of water is healthy for you, because every person's need is different. But drinking too much water can lead to water intoxication, a potentially deadly condition.
Amount of Water Needed for Good Health
Many people wonder how much water they should drink each day. Unfortunately, there is little research that can provide a definitive answer. Each person's water needs are different. If you do a lot of intense exercise, you will need to drink more water than a person who is inactive. If you live in a hot climate, you will need to drink more water than a person who lives in a moderate one. Also, you may be getting liquid from other beverages or foods. You should talk with your health care provider to find out whether drinking 12 cups of water per day would be too much for you.
Drinking Water and Weight Loss
Many weight loss programs suggest increasing water in addition to reducing calories and increasing physical activity. A 2008 study of overweight women participating in weight-loss programs published in the journal "Obesity" provides some evidence that moderate increases in water of 4.39 cups were associated with weight loss of 5 pounds over 12 months. But if you drink 12 cups of water each day without reducing the calories you consume or increasing physical activity, it is unlikely that you will lose much weight. Drinking large amounts of water might also make you sick.
Substituting Water for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
A 2010 review of research literature published in "Nutrition Reviews" recommended drinking water instead of other high-calorie foods or drinks. Because sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are highly related to being obese or overweight, drinking water instead of these beverages is an effective way to cut calories. But drinking water instead of artificially sweetened or diet soda will probably not result in much weight loss; there is little reduction in the calories you consume.
If you are thinking about increasing the amount of water you drink, remember it is important not to drink too much, which can lead to a potentially deadly condition called water intoxication. Although it is most frequently seen in infants, there are also cases in older children and adults. Water intoxication can lead to sickness and death. Since each person has unique water needs, do not drastically increase your intake without speaking to a health care practitioner.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs; February 2011
- "American Journal Of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative, And Comparative Physiology"; "Drink at Least Eight Glasses of Water a Day.” Really? Is There Scientific Evidence For “8 x 8”?” Heinz Valtin; 2002
- “Obesity”; Drinking Water Is Associated With Weight Loss in Overweight Dieting Women Independent of Diet and Activity; Jodi D. Stookey, et al.; 2008
- “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Intake of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review; Vasanti S. Malik, et al.; 2006
- MedlinePlus: Water in Diet