Looking to shed a few pounds? Look no further than your water bottle.
According to a study of almost 10,000 adults, those who were adequately hydrated had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who were inadequately hydrated. And people who took in too little water daily had a 50 percent higher chance of obesity compared to those who consumed enough.
The research evaluated water based on urine samples provided for the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2009-2012. More than 9,500 participants were surveyed and ranged in age from 18 to 64. Of the total sample nearly one-third were inadequately hydrated. Adults who consumed enough water had an average BMI of 28, versus those deemed inadequately hydrated whose BMI was 29. (A BMI of 25 is considered overweight; 30 is obese).
Yet the researchers caution the results do not prove cause and effect. “It might be that people who are obese have behaviors that keep them from being hydrated,” said study leader Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Dr. Anthony Weston, a family practitioner at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., is not surprised by the findings. “When I have a patient interested in losing weight, replacing soda intake and other sweetened beverages with water is one of the first things that I recommend,” he says.
“We have so many unhealthy sweetened beverage options now, and many of us consume these throughout the day to quench our thirst,” Dr. Weston adds. “Cutting out those beverages and replacing them with water will certainly result in shedding some pounds.”
Dr. Weston says the benefits of water are endless. “It’s not just weight, but reduction in constipation, kidney stones, and improved energy levels are all benefits of consuming at least 64 ounces of water per day.”