Water for Weight Loss

Looking for a way to jump start your diet? New research suggests substituting water or diet soda for drinks with calories can help people lose four to five pounds right off the bat.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed weight loss for 318 overweight or obese people who were divided into three groups. One group of study subjects switched from calorie-laden drinks to diet soda while another group switched to water and a third group received general information about healthy choices that could help them lose weight but were not advised to change beverages. All of the participants attended group sessions every month and had access to a website designed for their group for six months.

The investigators found that all of the study subjects lost some weight and experienced a small reduction in waist circumference during the six-month study, but the people who switched to no-calorie drinks were twice as likely to lose at least five percent of their body weight than those who did not change what they drank. The group members who switched to water had lower fasting glucose levels and higher hydration levels than the group who didn’t switch beverages.

The authors of the study say substituting noncaloric beverages can be an easy change for people trying to lose or maintain weight, and if done on a large scale could make a big difference in the major public health problem of obesity.