Increasing your daily water consumption could be the key to losing weight, a new study has suggested.
Researchers found that those who increased their water consumption by one to three cups per day consumed between 68 and 2015 fewer calories on a daily basis.
They hope people will take heed of the findings and replace calorie-filled beverages with water.
Out of the 18,300 US adults who were monitored, the majority found that increasing water consumption led to a 1% reduction in their total daily calorie intake.
On average, people who drank between one and three cups of water more than usual consumed 5-18 grams less sugar and decreased their cholesterol consumption by 7-21 grams daily.
Researchers said that it didn't matter whether the water consumed was through a drinking fountain, tap or bottle. It all had the same impact.
Health professor Ruopeng An, from the University of Illinois, said the finding was the same regardless of race, education, income levels and body weight status.
"This finding indicates that it might be sufficient to design and deliver universal nutrition interventions and education campaigns that promote plain water consumption in replacement of beverages with calories in diverse population subgroups without profound concerns about message and strategy customisation," An said.
Professor An studied data from four waves (2005-12) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the US.
Participants were asked to recall everything they ate or drank over the course of 48 hours, every three to 10 days.
Professor An calculated the amount of plain water each person consumed as a percentage of their daily dietary water intake from food and beverages combined.
Beverages such as unsweetened black tea, herbal tea and coffee were not counted as sources of plain water, but their water content was included in An’s calculations of participants’ total dietary water consumption.
On average, participants consumed about 4.2 cups of plain water on a daily basis, accounting for slightly more than 30% of their total dietary water intake.
Participants’ average calorie intake was 2,157 calories, including 125 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and 432 calories from foods such as desserts, pastries and snacks.
A small but statistically significant 1% increase in participants’ daily consumption of plain water was associated with a decrease in calorie intake, as well as slight reductions in participants’ consumption of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.
While Professor An found that the decreases were greater among men and among young and middle-aged adults, he suggested they could have been associated with these groups’ higher daily calorie intakes.
The study was published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.
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