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.
And while exercise makes you stronger and boosts your metabolism, your dietary habits can have an even greater effect on your waistline, per the Mayo Clinic.
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One of those habits includes drinking plenty of water, and choosing water over sugary beverages. In fact, choosing water over soda is an easy way to jumpstart and sustain weight loss, per Johns Hopkins University.
But does it matter what temperature water is at when you drink it? Are there benefits to drinking hot water for weight loss? Read on to find out.
The average adult should aim to get between 11.5 and 15.5 cups of water per day, through drinking and water-rich foods, per the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Can Hot Water Help You Lose Weight?
Ultimately, you shouldn't worry about heating up water before you drink it. No matter the temperature, water can have a positive effect on your weight-loss efforts. It can help suppress your appetite and help you feel fuller longer, per Johns Hopkins University.
The claims that a cup of hot lemon water every morning can stimulate weight loss (more so than cold or room-temperature water) are myths. While it may be tempting to think that a "quick-fix" like drinking warm water could help you lose weight or burn fat with little effort, it's simply not true.
And drinking hot water won't speed up your metabolism, either. Your body's metabolic rate is fairly stable and is mostly determined by your size, body composition, age and genetics, not by the temperature of water you drink, per the Cleveland Clinic.
However, if you notice that drinking hot water helps you stay hydrated and helps curb food cravings, then it might be part of an effective weight-loss strategy for you.
Other Potential Health Benefits of Drinking Hot Water
Apart from the claims that hot water helps you lose weight, there's also claims that hot water has specific health benefits (like improving digestion and congestion), but there is little scientific research to support these claims, per the Cleveland Clinic.
These claims include:
1. That It Improves CongestionGood Evidence
When you're sick with a head cold or sinus infection, you may experience a lot of congestion. That's where a cup of hot water or tea can help. It's thought that the steam can help open your airways, and that hot water itself can be soothing on the throat and help you get to sleep.
Hot water with cinnamon and honey, for example, may be used to soothe a sore throat when you're sick and help open up your sinuses, per the Mayo Clinic.
2. That It May Help People With AchalasiaLimited Evidence
Achalasia is a rare disorder where your esophagus cannot move food and liquid down to your stomach. This is because your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn't open as it normally should, per the Cleveland Clinic.
It's believed that hot water (and food) could help the LES relax and open in people with achalasia, helping them better swallow and digest food, per a small October 2012 study in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. (Note: This is a small and old study. More research needs to be done to support this connection.)
3. That It Aids in DigestionNo Evidence
Some people think drinking hot water is better for your digestive health, by breaking down food faster and reducing the risk of constipation.
But drinking water at any temperature can help improve your bowel health, as water helps keep your stool soft, per Johns Hopkins University.
4. That It Improves Metabolism FunctionNo Evidence
It's been thought that drinking hot water requires your body to cool it down to your core body temperature, thereby burning calories and boosting your metabolism in the process, but there is not enough evidence to support this.
This is a process called thermogenesis, but the effect on metabolism is insignificant, per Johns Hopkins University.
Although it's true your body uses 10 percent of its calorie intake to digest food and drink, per the Mayo Clinic, you don't expend a significant amount of energy to absorb water — no matter its temperature.
Are There Side Effects of Drinking Hot Water?
Medical experts don't believe there are really any negative effects of drinking hot water. One short-term effect, however, is that it can burn your mouth and throat if you don't let it cool down a little after boiling. Other than that, drinking hot water is a safe choice.
Hot Water vs. Cold Water: Is There a Difference?
There are no major health differences between drinking hot or cold water.
However, if you want to feel hydrated faster, cold water may be your best bet. According to the Cleveland Clinic, your body has some kind of "cool-down" reflex that kicks in faster when drinking cold water versus room-temperature or hot water, especially after sweating.
Ultimately, neither are necessarily the "healthiest option." Water at any temperature is healthy (and vital) for your body. It simply comes down to personal preference.
Can Cold Water Help You Lose Weight?
When it comes to water's role as a potential weight-loss aid, cold water doesn't necessarily have a leg up, either.
Cold water is warmed up slightly by your body through a process called thermogenesis, thereby burning a few calories, but it is not significant enough to see weight loss.
You're more likely to see weight-loss results through maintaining a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume), eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
If anything, drinking water at any temperature can help suppress your appetite and help you eat less. According to a small March 2016 study in the European Journal of Nutrition, people who drank two glasses of water immediately before a meal ate 22 percent less than those who didn't drink any water prior to eating.
This means drinking water before snacking or eating meals could help you curb cravings and stick to your balanced diet and weight-loss goals.
Can Ice Help You Lose Weight?
There's likely not a difference between hot and cold water for weight loss, and the same goes for ice.
A small August 2010 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that for every ounce of ice you eat, it takes about five calories for your body to melt it and bring it up to your core body temperature.
While this could be a case for eating ice to initiate weight loss, you would need to eat a lot of ice, and little else, to achieve a weight-loss effect. Instead, your best best is losing weight slowly through a balanced diet and exercise.
4 Tips to Drink More Water to Aid Weight Loss
Drinking water — whether hot or cold — can help you stay hydrated, suppress appetite and keep you fuller longer, which are all things that can aid in weight loss.
1. Keep a Water Bottle Nearby
Having a designated water bottle that you refill each day can be an effective way to get more H2O. It's especially helpful if the bottle has measurements on the side, to see how much you've had throughout the day.
Just make sure you're cleaning that water bottle often, so it doesn't harbor bacteria or germs.
2. Drink Water Before and After Meals
Filling up on water before a meal, or drinking a glass after, can help your stomach feel full. Not only that, but it'll help you get into a routine of drinking water if you remember to drink it around mealtime.
This concept is called "preloading," or drinking approximately 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal. In fact, dieters who drank this amount of water before eating consumed an average of 40 fewer calories per meal, and lost more weight than those who didn't "preload" with water, according to a September 2015 randomized controlled trial in Obesity.
3. Try Sparkling Water or Flavor Infusions
In fact, sparkling or carbonated water may actually have its own potential weight-loss benefits.
According to a small 2012 study in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, drinking carbonated water on an empty stomach offers a satiating effect compared to drinking regular water. (Keep in mind, this study was small and only included healthy young adults who identified as women.)
4. Add Fresh Ingredients
To keep from getting bored, try adding fresh ingredients to plain water for a little change. 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.
Water at any temperature, whether hot or cold, can help keep you hydrated, satiated and fuller longer, which can aid in your overall weight-loss goals.
Drinking hot (or cold) water alone will not lead to weight loss: It takes a combination of diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors to lose weight in a healthy way.
Ultimately, the temperature of the water you drink comes down to personal preference.
As long as drinking more water becomes an integral part of your daily routine, you can reap all its benefits.
- Obesity (Silver Spring): "Efficacy of Water Preloading Before Main Meals as a Strategy for Weight Loss in Primary Care Patients With Obesity: RCT"
- Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology: "The Effects of Carbonated Water Upon Gastric and Cardiac Activities and Fullness in Healthy Young Women"
- Johns Hopkins University: "Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Hot Water?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Metabolism"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Should You Drink Warm or Cold Water?"
- Annals of Internal Medicine: "The Ice Diet"
- Mayo Clinic: "Is it true that honey calms coughs better than cough medicine does?"
- European Journal of Nutrition: "Immediate pre-meal water ingestion decreases voluntary food intake in lean young males"
- Mayo Clinic: "Tips for drinking more water"
- CDC: "Water and Healthier Drinks"
- U.S. National Academies for Sciences, Engineering and Medicine: "Report Sets Dietary Intake Levels for Water, Salt, and Potassium To Maintain Health and Reduce Chronic Disease Risk"
- Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility: "Response of Esophagus to High and Low Temperatures in Patients With Achalasia"
- Mayo Clinic: "Mayo Clinic Minute: Which is better for losing weight – diet or exercise?"