A systematic review to look at the significance of water as a means to lose weight.
Over the years, there have been many scientific studies to look at water as a means to induce weight loss. In fact, I have written about using water to induce weight loss by increasing daily water intake to promote satiety, replacement of caloric beverages with water, and premeal water load. All of these seem to make sense to induce satiety and reduce caloric intake. The problem is even though water makes sense, scientifically, as a means to cause weight loss, the evidence to back it up is limited, to say the least.
A new study from 2019 looked at the efficacy of water consumption for weight loss. The aim of this study was to systematically review the randomized clinical trials that assessed the effect of water consumption on weight with a follow up of over 12 weeks. The researchers found six randomized controlled trials that look at using water to induce weight loss by increasing daily water intake, replacement of caloric beverages with water, and premeal water load.
The analysis found a weight loss effect after follow-up of 5.15% across the 6 studies. The most effective intervention among the studies was the replacement of caloric beverages with water. The quality of the evidence for the primary outcome of weight loss was rated low to moderate. The studies were limited by short follow up. Longer studies might eliminate this effect.
The bottom line: Water was tied to a 5.15% of weight loss and replacement of calorie-dense drinks appears to have the highest effect, but the low to moderate quality of evidence and the short term of follow-up limited the quality of the results. Despite the lack of evidence to support water as a recommended weight loss technique, I will still recommend water consumption for weight loss because it just make sense.