Does drinking water reduce belly fat? This article is all about the benefits of drinking water to lose weight and reduce belly fat.
Does drinking water reduce belly fat?
Water is arguably the greatest resource known to man. We use water for many things in our daily lives, including hydrating our bodies and quenching our thirst.
It’s vital to our overall health and well-being, yet so many of us don’t drink enough. I know I’m guilty because getting enough water has also been a struggle for me at times.
And while most of us know the health consequences of not drinking enough water, does that also transfer to weight loss?
Does drinking water help reduce belly fat and help you lose weight? Is there any actual scientific evidence that supports this?
Well, spoiler alert, yes, and yes, research shows drinking water can help you lose weight, and not drinking enough can hinder your progress.
This article is all about the amazing benefits of drinking water and how it can help you lose weight.
Why drink eight glasses of water per day?
So drinking more water to assist with weight loss is nothing new. This has been one of the most common recommendations when it comes to losing weight.
And even if you are not on a diet, medical professionals often recommend drinking eight glasses daily. But when it comes to weight loss, are eight glasses even enough? Some say no.
Nowadays, some nutrition experts view the 64 oz recommendation as the bare minimum, suggesting you drink closer to 11 to 12 cups per day.
While others insist that drinking a gallon of water daily can make all the difference when it comes to losing weight.
And have you ever wondered where the standard recommendation of 8 glasses per day came from? Who decided we should all drink eight glasses per day?
Well, it all started in 1945 when the Food and Nutrition Board, now part of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, suggested we drink 1 milliliter of water for each calorie consumed.
The assumption at the time was that the average person would consume about 1900 to 2000 calories per day, so, therefore, would need to drink about 1900 milliliters of water.
And 1900 milliliters of water works out to be approximately 64.24 ounces of water per day. So this is where the 8 glasses per day recommendation came from.
Water is essential for good health
Before we dive deeper into the question, does water reduce belly fat and get into the weight loss benefits? Let’s briefly discuss the health benefits.
Whether or not you believe in the efficacy of water as it relates to weight loss, you can’t deny that water has some amazingly wonderful benefits.
It’s good for the skin, hair, and nails, but it goes deeper than that; much deeper, water is essential for human survival.
We can’t survive very long without it, and while we can go weeks without food, we can only survive a couple of days without water.
In fact, the human body is made up primarily of water. And while the exact percentage varies from person to person, it can make up as much as 60% of the human body.
Water’s many essential functions
Water is vital for many processes that keep us alive to function properly. It supports the functioning of our cells, tissues, and organs.
And it can even help prevent the development of certain health conditions like kidney stones, urinary tract infections, constipation, and high blood pressure.
Because when you drink a lot of water, you continuously flush out your system and get rid of toxins. We absolutely could not survive or thrive without it!
Some of the essential functions include:
- Water plays an integral part in the role of digestion. It helps push waste through and out of the body through a process called excretion.
- It’s vital for the proper absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
- Essential for brain and bone health.
- It provides oxygen to the brain and carries vital nutrients to our cells.
- Helps our muscles, joints, and spinal cord by providing them the proper lubrication for proper functioning.
Does drinking water help reduce belly fat and help you lose weight?
As previously discussed, water can help you lose weight. But does drinking water help reduce belly fat? Yes, it can, but indirectly.
What do I mean by this? You can’t target a specific body part when losing weight. So, you cannot lose weight in just one body part, i.e., your belly.
Weight loss usually occurs all over the body, though some people are prone to losing more weight in certain parts of their bodies.
You can, however, tone specific parts of your body with diet and exercise. Still, weight loss usually occurs all over your body rather than just in one area.
And even if you are more susceptible to gaining and losing more weight in certain areas of your body due to your genetic makeup, weight loss will never be completely targeted.
If you want to lose belly fat, focus on diet and exercise to lose weight; the rest will take care of itself. Because when you lose weight, you will lose weight all over your body, including your belly.
Studies show that targeted weight loss is improbable
There have been many studies on targeted weight loss. One study on 40 overweight and obese women was conducted to test the efficacy of losing weight in just one specific area.
The women were randomly assigned to two groups. The first group of participants consisted of women that followed a specific diet over 12 weeks.
The second group consisted of women that followed that same diet but also followed a 12-week abdominal resistance training workout.
At the completion of the study, both groups lost weight all over their bodies, including their belly. There were no significant differences between the 2 groups regarding a reduction of belly fat.
This study shows that it is very difficult to pinpoint weight loss in one area. Thus, overall weight loss should be your goal. Adding toning exercises will help you achieve a more toned physique, including a slimmer waistline.
So again, does drinking water reduce belly fat? Yes, water can help you lose weight all over your body, including your belly. So read on to find out how drinking more water can help you crush your weight loss goals.
5 Reasons you need to drink more water to lose more weight
1. Water increases your metabolic rate
Simply put, drinking water helps you burn more calories throughout the day. And if you’re someone that suffers from a sluggish metabolism, you know how difficult losing weight can be. So drinking more water can be really helpful.
To understand how water can help your metabolism, let’s briefly look at the weight loss process. The basic weight loss equation states that you will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume.
So when trying to lose weight, you’re not only trying to consume less, but you’re also trying to burn more. This is how drinking more water can help because the more water you drink, the more calories you burn!
You burn more calories because drinking water increases your resting energy expenditure (REE), the number of calories you burn at rest.
A study conducted on 14 normal-weight, healthy men and women, 7 men and 7 women, found an increase in metabolic rate within 10 minutes of drinking 16.9 ounces of water. Their metabolic rate increased by 30%.
Further studies show increasing water intake can lead to weight loss. Another study was conducted on 50 overweight participants, all girls, to assess whether increasing water intake could lead to weight loss.
Over eight weeks, the participants were instructed to drink 500ml (16.9 ounces) of water 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner in addition to their regular water consumption.
At the end of the study, participants shed pounds, had a lower BMI, and had a decrease in body fat. Participants also experienced less hunger throughout the eight weeks.
Does drinking cold water help you lose weight?
Want even more calorie burning? Try drinking your water ice cold. Ice-cold water can help you burn even more calories than room-temperature water.
A study of 12 people showed that drinking cold and room temperature water increased resting energy expenditure. But drinking cold water had a slight advantage and provided a slight increase in metabolic rate. Keyword here is slight, but every bit does help.
So, how does drinking cold water increase your metabolic rate? One word, survival!
The body’s primary goal is survival, so it’s always trying to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is the body’s ability to maintain a stable internal environment regardless of varying external conditions.
So, when we ingest something colder than the body’s normal temperature, our body has to work harder (expend more energy) to warm it up. Thus, drinking your water cold forces the body to use more energy to regulate itself.
Side effects of drinking cold water
So are there any negatives to drinking your water ice cold? There has been little evidence to suggest that drinking cold water is bad for you.
But a few studies have suggested that drinking cold water could aggravate certain health conditions. If you are struggling with said conditions, you should exercise some caution.
Conditions drinking cold water could possibly disrupt include:
- Migraines. Drinking cold water could possibly trigger migraines if you suffer from chronic migraines.
- Disrupt digestion by causing blood vessels to contract. Because you are ingesting something cold, your body has to work hard to regulate your body temperature to maintain homeostasis. Digestion is affected because maintaining homeostasis takes priority over digestion.
- It may negatively affect nasal passages.
One study found drinking cold water could affect nasal passages by thickening your mucus, making it more difficult to pass through the respiratory tract.
2. Water helps cleanse the body of waste
So most of us already know the health benefits of maintaining regularity, but how does ridding the body of waste improve weight loss? How does drinking water reduce belly fat?
Well, it’s simple, food weighs something. It weighs something when you weigh it on a food scale, and it weighs something when it’s left inside your body.
When you don’t have regular bowel movements, more food/waste is left inside you, and the more food inside you, the more you will weigh.
Even though the extra weight reflected on the scale is not actual fat, it will add to the pounds you see on the scale. And this can be extremely discouraging to see when you are trying to lose weight. It can really mess with your psyche.
Because when you don’t believe you’re seeing progress, you are more prone to giving up prematurely. And even though you may, in fact, be losing fat, holding on to excess waste will show up on the scale, masking your actual progress.
Drinking enough water can help push waste through and out of the body, thus helping you see more accurate results! Improve your bowel motility, and improve your weight loss results.
How does drinking water reduce belly fat? Suppresses your appetite.
3. Water acts as an appetite suppressant
Drinking water consistently throughout the day can help you feel fewer hunger pangs.
Also, drinking water before each meal or in the place of other high-calorie beverages can help you eat less.
When the stomach feels full, it signals the brain to stop eating. So, when you drink water before your meals, you fill up more space in the stomach, helping you feel fuller with less food.
A 12-week study was conducted on 48 middle-aged and older adults to assess the effects of increased water intake on weight loss. The participants were assigned to 2 groups.
Both groups were assigned a low-calorie diet, but only one of the 2 groups was also instructed to drink 500ml (16.9 ounces) of water before each meal (the water group).
The water group lost, on average, 44% more weight than the non-water group. The water group also ate less due to the extra water consumption.
Does drinking water reduce belly fat? Helps you retain less water.
4. Drinking more water helps with water retention
If you’ve ever struggled with water weight gain before, you know it can be extremely frustrating.
Not only does water weight show up on the scale, but it can also affect how your clothes fit because holding on to excess water can lead to bloating.
Water weight can also mask actual weight loss. You may be trying to lose weight and may, in fact, be losing fat, but because your body is holding on to excess water, the number on the scale does not reflect weight loss. This can be extremely frustrating.
But how does drinking more water help with this?
Won’t you retain more water if you’re drinking more water? The answer is no!
To better understand this, you need to know why our bodies retain water in the first place—for survival!
Once again, it’s all about survival. Remember, our body’s primary goal is survival, so with that said, your body retains water because it feels it won’t have enough for survival in the future.
When you aren’t continually replenishing your body with water, it begins to worry! It worries it will become dehydrated and not have enough water in the future to survive.
So it begins to hold on to extra water just in case it needs it later.
When we drink a lot of water throughout the day, the body is getting more than enough, so it does not have such a strong urge to hold on to it.
And you are more likely to see more accurate results on the scale when you consume enough water because your body is not hoarding it.
Remember, our body wants us to survive, and because it doesn’t know if we will have enough food or water in the future, it plans accordingly. Give it enough water, and it won’t be forced to hold/retain it.
How does drinking water reduce belly fat? Helps you burn more fat.
5. Water aids in fat-burning
When trying to lose or even maintain weight, fat mobilization is critical. Fat mobilization is the process of burning stored fat by releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream and mobilizing them for energy use.
When the body depletes the energy it gets from glucose, its primary energy source, it pulls from stored fat and uses it as energy.
Think of stored fat like a storage container filled with leftovers that were put away for later use. Storing fat ensures energy will be available even if we don’t have immediate access to food.
The amount of stored fat your body has to use directly correlates with your body fat percentage. So the more body fat you have, the more fat you have in storage. Decreasing your body fat and losing weight means using more stored fat as fuel.
So how does water help with this?
Water is needed to metabolize fat. The body is unable to metabolize stored fat and carbohydrates properly without water. And water is necessary for mobilizing fat through a process called lipolysis.
Lipolysis is the process of breaking down fats and other lipids to release fatty acids.
Also, drinking more water leads to greater instances of lipolysis. The more water we drink, the more frequently this process occurs.
A review of several animal studies found an increase in lipolysis when water intake increased, indicating that the more water we drink, the more fat-burning occurs.
Commonly asked questions regarding water and weight loss
Can you gain weight from drinking water at night?
Well, the answer to this question is yes and no. Let me explain. When you drink water right before bed, you don’t give your body enough time to release that water, i.e., through your urine.
So more than likely, you will have to get up multiple times throughout the night to go to the bathroom. This will disrupt your sleep.
And when you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels rise, which can cause weight gain and make it more challenging to lose weight. Check out this post for more information on cortisol and other hormones that make it difficult to lose weight.
Does drinking hot water reduce belly fat?
A common question people have is, does hot water burn belly fat? This is a popular belief. But drinking hot water won’t magically reduce belly fat.
Because as stated earlier, weight loss usually occurs all over the body and is generally not concentrated. But drinking hot water could help with weight loss, possibly.
While there isn’t much scientific evidence to support this theory, it is possible, as one study found this to be true.
When the water temperature was raised to 98.6 degrees, they found that 40% of the increase in metabolism that water provided was tied to this rise in temperature.
But regardless of whether or not drinking hot water can help with weight loss, drinking hot water does have its benefits.
Benefits of drinking hot water include:
- Helps with digestion by breaking down food faster than drinking cold or warm water.
- Helps you detoxify by raising your body temperature and allowing you to sweat out the toxins.
- Improves circulation by expanding the blood vessels
- Helps clear nasal passages and unclog sinuses
- Helps relieve cold symptoms
So, what are the side effects of drinking hot water?
Drinking hot water is totally fine as long as you don’t drink it at temperatures so high that you burn yourself, i.e., your tongue.
When you drink water that is too hot that you scald your tongue, you may also be burning the tissue in your esophagus. So just be careful and use common sense with any hot liquids.
Does drinking lemon water reduce belly fat?
Yes, drinking lemon water can help with weight loss. Lemons are really good for you. They are full of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C.
They are also high in soluble fiber, potassium, and B6. Due to the high vitamin C content, they can also help reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease, kidney stones, and cancer.
As you can see, lemons are really good for you, so they are a great addition to your water and offer additional health benefits. But note the main ingredient in the lemon water that is helping with weight loss is the water.
Water is the star when it comes to losing weight. The lemons just add additional health benefits. And also, some people who have difficulty drinking water find it easier to drink water when they add lemons to it. So drinking water with or without lemons can help you lose weight.
Does drinking water give you a big belly?
Drinking water does not cause belly fat, but it can look that way due to water bloat. Drinking a lot of water will fill up your stomach, causing it to distend, so it looks bigger, but this is only temporary.
But why does this happen? It happens because when you drink water, it gets absorbed in the bloodstream to hydrate your cells, but it is absorbed rather slowly.
The leftover water in the stomach stays there and fills your stomach until it is absorbed. So your stomach looks bigger because the water is just sitting there waiting to be processed and used.
So, how much water should you drink to lose weight?
Before we discuss how much water you should drink to lose weight, let’s talk about how much you need when you take weight loss out of the equation.
As stated earlier, the 8-glass-per-day recommendation came from an assumption based on eating between 1900 and 2000 calories daily. With that said, we all don’t need 8 glasses per day. We get water from our food as well. So how much should you drink?
The general consensus is to drink half your weight in ounces. Many health experts, however, just give you the blanket suggestion of 8 glasses per day, but everyone doesn’t need 8 glasses. Some may require more, and some may need less.
So how much do you need for weight loss? When it comes to weight loss, more is better, within reason, of course. Aim for a minimum of eight glasses per day for weight loss, but shoot for 11-12 glasses per day.
Also, it’s crucial that you listen to your body and how you feel. If more than eight glasses of water per day don’t feel right, drink what feels right. Listen to your body always, and do what feels right for you!
Final Thoughts On Drinking More Water To Reduce Belly Fat
Hopefully, you now understand better how increasing your water intake can have substantial positive benefits in terms of your health and weight.
Does drinking water reduce belly fat? Yes, when you lose weight, you will lose it all over, including your belly.
Also, it’s important to note that water alone as a standalone weight loss method will not produce substantial weight loss benefits. Increasing water intake can be beneficial in conjunction with other weight loss methods and techniques.
It helps you burn more calories, suppress your appetite, and increase your bowel motility. All things helpful when trying to lose weight!
If you found this article helpful, I would love it if you could share it with a friend. Have you noticed a difference in your weight loss results by increasing your water intake? Let me know down below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
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