- Drinking two cups of water before all three meals helped dieters lose weight and keep it off.
- The findings only worked in people who were middle-aged and older, but water might help younger dieters, too.
- Americans get far too many calories in the form of sugar-filled beverages.
It's a popular dieting secret: Drink more water, and you'll shed more pounds. Finally, science is adding weight to the practice.
After about three months, a new study found, obese dieters who drank two cups of water before each meal lost 5 pounds more than a group of dieters who didn't increase their water intake. A year later, the water-drinkers had also kept more of the weight off.
The study included only middle-aged and older adults, but other studies suggest that drinking water might help dieters of all ages, said Brenda Davy, a nutrition researcher at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. After years of folklore, she added, this may be the first hard evidence that pounding water is viable weight-loss strategy.
"It's this popular idea that, oh yeah, drink more water -- that's what you have to do when you want to lose weight," said Davy, who presented her new findings today at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston. "It seems to be logical, but it had never really been investigated."