Drink More Water, Gain Less Weight

Here’s a simple weight-management tip: Rather than sipping fruit juice or a sugar-laden drink, enjoy a glass of water – or a cup of coffee or tea – instead.

The recommendation comes courtesy of a new study in the International Journal of Obesity linking water and other zero- or low-kilojoule beverages with less weight gain.

Researchers examined years of data on the beverage consumption habits of more than 122,000 people who had participated in the Nurses’ Health Studies, one of the largest and longest running investigations on women’s health, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which evaluates factors influencing men’s health. They then compared those habits against how much weight participants gained every four years.

After controlling for several factors that could affect weight gain, the researchers found that people who drank water, coffee, tea and diet beverages gained less weight each four-year period than people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juice.

Replacing one cup of a sugar-sweetened beverage with water resulted in nearly half a kilo less gained over the four-year period, according to the study. (On average, subjects gained 1.3kg every four years.) Replacing one cup of fruit juice with water helped people avoid an added third of a kilo.

All told, substituting sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juice with coffee, tea, diet drinks and low-fat and whole milk were linked to lower weight gain.

While drinking water has long been recommended for weight watchers, this is the first study to show that increasing water consumption is independently and significantly associated with lower long-term weight gain, according to the authors.

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