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Study Shows Drinking Water Helps People Lose Weight and Keep the Pounds Off

Aug. 23, 2010 -- Drinking water before each meal has been shown to help promote weight loss, according to a new study.

Brenda Davy, PhD, an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech and senior author of a new study, says that drinking just two 8-ounce glasses of water before meals helps people melt pounds away.

The study is being presented at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

"We are presenting results of the first randomized controlled intervention trial demonstrating that increased water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy," Davy says in a news release. "We found in earlier studies that middle aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during the meal."

She tells WebMD that many people substitute sweet-tasting calorie-containing beverages for water.

"If you look at research on beverage consumption trends, our average intake of sugar-sweetened beverages has increased dramatically in the past three or four decades," Davy tells WebMD in an email. "So, likely we are drinking other beverages in place of water."

Drinking Water and Weight Loss

Her study included 48 adults between age 55 and 75 who were divided into two groups.

One group drank two cups of water before meals and the other didn't. All participants ate a low-calorie diet throughout the study.

After 12 weeks, water drinkers lost about 15.5 pounds, compared to non-water-drinking dieters, who lost only 11 pounds.

Davy tells WebMD that the study participants drank about 1.5 cups of water per day prior to joining in the study.

Not only were those who drank water before meals more successful after 12 weeks, but they also kept "the weight off for a full year after the weight loss study."

Even better, most water drinkers, followed for an additional 12 months, not only kept weight off but "even lost another 1 to 2 pounds," she tells WebMD.

The message, she says, is clear: "People should drink more water and less sugary, high-calorie drinks."

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