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Science Says Drinking Water Before Meals Can Make You Much Fitter

Science Says Drinking Water Before Meals Can Make You Much Fitter

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” – Leonardo da Vinci

If you drink two glasses of water before one or two meals a day, can it help you to lose weight faster? One small study by the University of Birmingham indicates this is true, so start drinking water right away! Let us look at what that study shows and what other studies reveal. It could save you a lot of time, effort, and money when trying to stick to a rigid schedule of dieting and exercising.

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Research methods and findings

About 80 obese adults in their fifties were selected for the three month study. The method used was to give all participants advice on how they might lose weight and how to go about it using diet and exercise. Then, half the group were asked to preload (drink about a pint or two glasses of water) before one or two meals a day. They were also checked to see if they were really doing so by regularly measuring their urine output! The other half group were just told to imagine they were full before they sat down to eat.

The results showed that both groups lost weight. But those who were drinking water before all meals had reduced their weight by 4.3kg (9.48 lbs) over the 12 weeks. They also lost 2.7 pounds more than the “full stomach thinkers”, who, interestingly enough were working out and exercising more than their water-drinking colleagues. The water drinkers were eating less which probably helped them a lot. More studies need to be done with larger and more diverse ethnic groups and ages.

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“The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity. Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight.” – Dr. Helen Parretti, researcher at the University of Birmingham.

What else does water do to help you lose weight?

Water will make you feel fuller even before you sit down to eat so it really is a great appetite suppressant. There is also another mechanism at work where the more water you drink, the less you will retain as extra weight. It also helps you to boost your metabolism. That will help you drop a few more extra pounds over a long period.

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If you feel dehydrated when you drink only a little water, the body goes into panic mode thinking you need food. You only need water but most people start to eat to stave off the unpleasant effects of dehydration.

What temperature should the water be?

I cannot really drink ice cold water so if I do the experiment, I am going to have it at room temperature. But some experts tell us that if you drink ice cold water, it actually helps you to burn more calories. Why? Well, the body has to work harder to warm the water up and that means you are using up more calories when you do that.

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Why do some people go on eating even after they feel full?

Another research study at the UT Southwestern University was done to show that some people go on eating, even though they feel full. This is obviously a barrier to losing weight. It seems that some people can get up from the table feeling not quite full, while others just go on eating till they are bursting!

Researchers at UT were working on mice but they believe that there is a hunger hormone shared by human beings and mice which is known as ghrelin. This seems to go into overdrive when we get pleasure from food. Mice were chosen for the initial study because both humans and mice share a similar brain-cell connection system as well as hormones.

Drinking water before meals is the cheapest and easiest dietary aid on record. Water has lots of other benefits too, such as brighter skin and better focus and concentration.

If you are tempted to have a nice gin and tonic before dinner, why not opt for a double H²0 on the rocks instead?

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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