A new study from the University of Birmingham has shown that drinking 500ml of water half an hour before eating main meals could help obese adults to lose weight. The team hope the simple and easy lifestyle change could be hugely beneficial and easily promoted through a public health campaign.
During their research, the team recruited obese adults from general practices and monitored them for 12 weeks. Each participant was given a weight management consultation, where they were advised on changes they could make to their lifestyle, diet and exercise to lose weight.
Of those included in the study, which was published in the journal Obesity, 41 were asked to preload with water, while 43 were to imagine they had a full stomach before eating.
The researchers found that those who were instructed to drink water before their meals lost 2.87 pounds, on average, more than those in the control group. Participants who "preloaded" before all their three main meals in a day reported a loss of 9.48 pounds over the 12 weeks.
In contrast, those who only preloaded once or didn't at all only lost, on average, 1.76 pounds during the same period.
Dr Helen Parretti, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) clinical lecturer at the University of Birmingham, said the beauty of the findings was in their simplicity.
She said: "Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight."
"When combined with brief instructions on how to increase your amount of physical activity and on a healthy diet, this seems to help people to achieve some extra weight loss - at a moderate and healthy rate. It's something that doesn't take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives."
During the study period, participants were encouraged to drink only tap water. Sparkling water, fizzy or sweetened drinks were not allowed as part of the study.
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