Especially during the holiday season, any little tips to help maintain (or even lose) weight can be a great help. Here’s an easy one to consider through the holidays, and onward into the New Year – it’s as simple as H-2-0!

Drinking calorie-free, refreshing water before meals is often recommended to help fill the stomach before eating. A recent randomized controlled clinical trial strengthens this point, showing the benefits that drinking water can have towards helping you slim down.

This trial, conducted by Davy and colleagues at Virginia Tech University, was the first randomized, controlled clinical trial to address this issue. Forty-eight adults were included in the trial, all of whom were provided with calorie-restricted diets to follow. Half of participants were required to drink two 8oz glasses of water about 20 minutes before each meal.
After 12 weeks, the participants consuming water before meals lost an average of 5lb more than the control group, who did not consume water before meals.
The way in which the strategy of drinking water before meals works is two-fold:
1. The physical presence of water in your stomach sets off the ‘stretch sensors’ in your stomach, releasing hormones that tell your brain that your stomach is filling up.

2. Mixing water with your meal decreases the energy density of your meal (ie the number of calories per gram of material ingested). As blogged previously, a lower energy density diet is beneficial because you feel more full after ingesting a larger mass of food with fewer calories, than if you ingested a high energy density, smaller meal such as a high fat food or dessert. Eating lots of FreeVeg operates under the same principles, as these are very low energy density foods. In fact, one of the contributors to the low energy density of FreeVeg is the very fact that they have a high water content!

Happy New Year to All!!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2010

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