Water with Meals: How Much and When to Drink Up
A drink of water could do much more than keep you hydrated. A number of new studies outline how a drink of water can change food preferences and help you lose weight.
Food-and-Drink Pairings Matter
Whether it's a piece of chicken, a burger, or a burrito, the familiar fast food combo is paired with a sugar-sweetened beverage. A new study suggests drinking water with meals may help change your food preferences which could lead to healthier food choices. Preschoolers were found to eat more raw vegetables with water than with a sugar-sweetened beverage. Young adults between the ages of 19 and 23 were also studied and their preferences were similar. They paired sugary beverages with salty, high-calorie snacks. Study author T. Bettina Cornwell of the University of Oregon suggests serving water with meals could mean eating more vegetables in the long run.
Water or Diet Soda Switch Means Weight Loss
American teens get around 300 calories a day from sugar-sweetened beverages, while adult men get 178, and women around 100 calories. But could those last five pounds be lost simply by changing your drink of choice? Perhaps. The CHOICE study found that middle-aged adults who had the same caloric intake lost more weight when they switched from sugary beverages to diet soda or water during meals. The simple switch accounted for an average weight loss of 2% to 2.5%. Aside from the obvious calorie reduction, another reason to quench your thirst with water as opposed to a sugary beverage is you'll eat less. A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found water drinkers at 8% less at meal time.
Drink Before, During or After a Meal?
Aside from drinking water when you wake, and in between meals, there's some wiggle room about getting the timing right at meal time. Drinking water just prior to a meal has been shown to lower energy intake which could lead to weight loss, but drinking it during or after a meal is not better or worse. Because there's no definitive research that says drinking water during meal time is a hindrance to digestion, drink up. Because an estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, not drinking is far worse than bad timing. According to the Institutes of Medicine, an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day, while a woman's is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups).
How has increasing water in your diet helped your food decisions?