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Drinking Just a Little More Water May Reduce Calorie Consumption

A recent study suggests that increasing your water consumption by just 1% may reduce your total daily calorie intake and consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol.

Participants in the study included more than 18,300 Americans who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All of the participants were asked to remember everything they ate or drank over the course of two days that were three to 10 days apart. The researchers calculated the amount of plain water each person consumed based on their daily dietary water intake from food and beverages. Unsweetened black tea, herbal tea, and coffee were not counted as plain water but their water content was counted in the total dietary water consumption.

The researchers found that people consumed an average 4.2 cups of plain water daily, which accounted for slightly more than 30% of total dietary water intake. Average calorie intake was 2,157 calories, which included 125 calories from sugar-sweetened drinks and 432 calories from discretionary foods that were low in nutritious value and high in calories, including desserts, pastries, and snack mixes.

After adjusting for race/ethnicity, education, income, and body weight, the researchers found that increasing water consumption by one, two, or three cups daily was associated with a reduction in total calorie intake by 68 to 205 calories per day and sodium intake from 78 to 235 milligrams per day. They also noted a reduction from 5 g to almost 18 g of sugar and 7 mg to 21 mg of cholesterol.

Additionally, the researchers determined that a small but statistically significant 1% increase in plain water consumption per day was associated with an 8.6 calorie reduction in daily calorie intake as well as a slight reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and discretionary foods. The decreases were most noticeable in men and young and middle-aged adults. However, the researchers noted that those groups on average have a higher daily calorie intake.

Researchers from the University of Illinois conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 22, 2016, in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

Because the human body is composed of 60% water, it’s important to make sure you’re consuming enough water every day to replace that which is lost from sweat, breathing, urine, and stool. While a recent study found that the previously recommended eight glasses per day was not based on a scientific study, increasing water intake has been associated not only with lower calorie consumption but also less muscle fatigue, better looking skin, healthier kidneys, and better bowel function.

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