Research: One Bottle of Water Can Induce Weight Loss

splash watersplash water

A Single Additional Bottle of Cold Water Can Lead to Significant Weight Loss

Glass of Water
Glass of Water

This is one of my quick tip articles.  Before we hit the research, let’s discuss some background information.  Water is an essential element in our diets.  Our bodies have a need for water that is relentless to function efficiently.  The amount we need depends on our individual situation and our activity level but most of us need about 8-10 cups of water a day, and it is amazing that seventy-five percent of Americans fall short and are chronically dehydrated​[1]​.  The adult human body is 55-60% water on average​[2]​.  Do not wait until you are thirsty to decide you might be dehydrated.  Hydration is critical, and we need to keep well hydrated when we are trying to lose weight.  

I have seen estimates that Americans are anywhere from 2-3% or 5-10% dehydrated.  We begin to operate less efficiently at 2-5%, and people start having headaches at 5-10%.  Odds are, you are already down 1-2 cups of water at this very minute and may not even be symptomatic.  

Symptoms of Dehydration:

  1. Constipation
  2. Dark Urine
  3. Dry Mouth
  4. Fatigue
  5. Headaches
  6. Lightheadedness (especially with standing)
  7. Thirst
Water Infographic
Water Infographic

Why is water so important in weight loss?  As I pointed out above, it is required for efficient metabolic processes, but also, water is critical to good health because it helps remove toxins as you break down fat and muscle to make energy.  Also, water increases your metabolism and will curb some morning hunger.  If you burn more calories and eat less, you will lose weight.  

Research on Water and Weight Loss:

  1. Coldwater boosts your metabolism.  Adding one 500 ml or 16.9-ounce bottle of cold water before each meal (assuming you eat three meals) will increase your metabolism by 70 calories per day.  This concept is supported by a small study from 2003 which looked at 14 healthy subjects (seven females and seven males) and found that 500 ml of cold water increased their metabolism by 30% for a short period and burned approximately 23.9 calories​[3]​.  That may not seem like a lot, but that is over 26,000 calories in a year and 7 pounds of weight loss with little to no effort.  
  2. Coldwater decreases food intake.  Another good piece of research looked at 24 obese and non-obese adults who were given a  single bottle of 500ml with each meal.  The study revealed that those who hydrated before the meal ate approximately 60 calories less per meal​[4]​.  Again this is a relatively small number of calories, but if you did this for every meal for a year, you would eat more than 65,000 fewer calories and lose more than 18 pounds.
Warning: overhydration is a real risk to your health and more is not always better. Drink your normal consumption with one additional bottle before each meal. If you have heart or kidney failure, discuss any changes in consumption with a medical provider.

The bottom line: In many areas of the globe, a clean source of water is nearly impossible to find, but in the Unites States, there is no excuse for not drinking enough water.  This addition is a simple change that can make a big difference in your health with up to 25 pounds difference in your weight in one year through fewer calories consumed and more calories burned.   Results may vary, but I recommend you drink 500 ml or 16.9 ounces before each meal and start a path to a new you and better health.  

Dihydrogen Monoxide
Dihydrogen Monoxide: Click for a larger version.
[1]Ericson, “75% of Americans May Suffer From Chronic Dehydration, According to Doctors.”
[2]Helmenstine, “How Much of Your Body Is Water?”
[3]Boschmann et al., “Water-Induced Thermogenesis.”
[4]Davy et al., “Water Consumption Reduces Energy Intake at a Breakfast Meal in Obese Older Adults.”


  1. Boschmann, Michael, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. “Water-Induced Thermogenesis.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The Endocrine Society, December 2003. doi: 10.1210/jc.2003-030780
  2. Davy, Brenda M., Elizabeth A. Dennis, A. Laura Dengo, Kelly L. Wilson, and Kevin P. Davy. “Water Consumption Reduces Energy Intake at a Breakfast Meal in Obese Older Adults.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Elsevier BV, July 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.04.013
  3. Ericson, John . “75% of Americans May Suffer From Chronic Dehydration, According to Doctors.” Medical Daily. Accessed January 21, 2017.
  4. Helmenstine, Anne Marie . “How Much of Your Body Is Water?” About Educaion. Accessed 2017.
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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