We’ve been told for years that if you’re trying to lose weight, drinking water before a meal will take up space in your belly and you’ll get full faster and will eat less. But a recent study suggests there’s more to it than that.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK found that, on average, people who drank water 3o minutes before some or all of their three meals a day lost between five and nine pounds over the course of about three months.
For their study, researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK looked at 84 people — 54 women and 30 men. The researchers don’t provide the age range for the participants in their paper, but they do say the average age of participants was 56 years.
Overall, study participants lost a bit of weight — between two and nine pounds — over the course of the study. Researchers can’t say for sure why this happened, but several studies have found that simply being studied can have pronounced effects on behavior.
However, people in the water-drinking group lost about 2.7 pounds more than the group that did not change their water-drinking habits.
The researchers think that this decrease in calories at each meal could be chalked up to the obvious: Drinking water fills up your tummy, making you feel fuller and less hungry. But there could be other reasons as well. For one thing, when you’re dehydrated, your body will often tell you you’re hungry so there’s a better chance of water getting into your system via the food you eat.
While this might have been the case for the participants in the study, other research has found that people continue to eat even when they feel full. So this might not be a foolproof plan for everyone.