Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Nov;16(11):2481-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.409. Epub 2008 Sep 11.


Background: Data from short-term experiments suggest that drinking water may promote weight loss by lowering total energy intake and/or altering metabolism. The long-term effects of drinking water on change in body weight and composition are unknown, however.

Objective: This study tested for associations between absolute and relative increases in drinking water and weight loss over 12 months.

Methods and procedures: Secondary analyses were conducted on data from the Stanford A TO Z weight loss intervention on 173 premenopausal overweight women (aged 25-50 years) who reported <1 l/day drinking water at baseline. Diet, physical activity, body weight, percent body fat (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), and waist circumference were assessed at baseline, 2, 6, and 12 months. At each time point, mean daily intakes of drinking water, noncaloric, unsweetened caloric (e.g., 100% fruit juice, milk) and sweetened caloric beverages, and food energy and nutrients were estimated using three unannounced 24-h diet recalls. Beverage intake was expressed in absolute (g) and relative terms (% of beverages). Mixed models were used to test for effects of absolute and relative increases in drinking water on changes in weight and body composition, controlling for baseline status, diet group, and changes in other beverage intake, the amount and composition of foods consumed and physical activity.

Results: Absolute and relative increases in drinking water were associated with significant loss of body weight and fat over time, independent of covariates.

Discussion: The results suggest that drinking water may promote weight loss in overweight dieting women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / physiology
  • Adult
  • Beverages
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Drinking Behavior / physiology*
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology*