Does Drinking Water Really Help With Weight Loss?

water in glasses with lemon, lime and orange
Jamie Grill / Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that water is essential, but did you know that water may also promote weight loss?

Replacing sugary beverages with a greater intake of water not only helps prevent excess weight gain, but it could also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.

Furthermore, foods that have high water content (like fresh fruits, vegetables, or broth-based soups) help your stomach feel full, reducing the urge to overeat. Here's what the research has to say about the relationship between water and weight loss.

How Water Supports Weight Loss

Unlike many beverages, water is calorie-free. Even “healthy" drinks like 100% fruit juice, sweetened iced tea, and smoothies add calories to your daily total (often in the form of sugar). Reaching for water instead of another beverage lets you avoid empty calories that don't contribute to satiety.

Try drinking a couple of tall glasses of water 30 minutes before your meal. Believe it or not, this simple change boosted weight loss by 44% in overweight middle-aged and older adults on a reduced-calorie diet, totaling up to 2kg more weight shed during a 12-week period. Researchers attributed this benefit to reduced calorie intake; participants who drank water before a test meal ate about 25 to 45 fewer calories than those who didn't have the water "preload."

Similar studies have suggested the same benefits in younger people, too.

Ideas to Drink More Water

Try these tips to incorporate more water into your day. Not only will extra water help you feel full, but it'll also provide the hydration necessary to fuel an active lifestyle.

  • Add bubbles: The fizziness of carbonated water (also called sparkling water or club soda) makes for a more exciting drink. Use a SodaStream to add bubbles at home, or look for products at the store that are naturally-flavored and sugar-free.
  • Bottle it: Get a water bottle that you love, and bring it with you everywhere you go. Having easy access to water encourages you to drink more often.
  • Infuse your water: Spike water with a squeeze of lime, a slice of grapefruit, or an orange wedge. Add cucumber slices, mint, or frozen berries to a water pitcher in the fridge overnight.
  • Warm it up: Water doesn’t have to be served ice cold. In fact, some people find it harder to drink that way. Pour yourself some room-temperature water, or brew a steamy cup of herbal tea.

A Word From Verywell

Weight loss is a common fitness goal, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Sustainable weight-loss strategies, like drinking more water, often provide bonus health benefits beyond the scale. If you're not used to drinking water plain, try diluting your favorite drinks with water to start. Small changes can add up to help reset your taste buds so you can enjoy unsweetened beverages with time.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Vargas-Garcia EJ, Evans CEL, Prestwich A, Sykes-Muskett BJ, Hooson J, Cade JE. Interventions to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or increase water intake: Evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2017;18(11):1350-1363. doi:10.1111/obr.12580

  2. Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Comber DL, et al. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010;18(2):300-307. doi:10.1038/oby.2009.235

  3. Jeong JN. Effect of pre-meal water consumption on energy intake and satiety in non-obese young adultsClin Nutr Res. 2018;7(4):291-296. doi:10.7762/cnr.2018.7.4.291