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The Water Diet – Is It Safe and Does It Work?
The Water Diet has been around for quite a number of years now, and yet many people have no idea what it actually is or whether it can work. Many people believe it involves replacing food with water but this is not the case at all.
In this article we are going to discuss the two most important questions you should ask of any diet – ‘Does it work?’ and ‘Is it safe?’
Before we get to those questions, we will first discuss exactly what it involves.
Some people believe the Water Diet involves fasting and that drinking water will somehow make up for the harmful effects of not eating sufficiently. This is not the case. Fasting is not a safe or healthy, or indeed an effective in the long term, method of weight loss. Increasing water consumption while fasting will not make this a safe way to lose weight. No nutritionist will recommend fasting as a weight loss method, whether with water or without, for good reason. Thankfully, fasting plays no part in a Water Diet.
What the Water Diet actually is, to put it simply, is drinking a lot of water whilst eating normally or additionally following some other healthy diet. One popular method is to eat normally and drink an 8-oz glass of cold water shortly before every meal, another one during and another one shortly after. This is known as the Before, During and After Diet. A slight variation on this, and believed to be a more effective method, is to combine the water drinking with a more conventional diet that has been recommended by your nutritionist. In any case, the most important component of any Water Diet is that at least eight 8-oz glasses of cold water are drank every day.
At first glance it does not seem an effective way to lose weight. After all, how can drinking water lead to weight loss? However, there are some sound reasons why it may work and some recent research has shown that it does indeed have an effect on weight loss.
The research in question was carried out by Virginia Tech and was revealed at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) by the senior author Brenda Davy, Ph.D. The clinical trials showed that adults who drank two cups of water prior to their meals, whilst eating a low calorie diet, ate up to 90 calories less during the meal. Over the course of 12 weeks those who drank water lost around 44% more weight (about 5 pounds) than those who didn’t.
The most plausible theory is that by filling your body with water, you will not need to eat as much to feel satisfied which leads you to naturally eating less. Another reason people believe a Water Diet will work is that by drinking a lot of cold water, your body needs to burn more calories to warm the water to your body temperature. Whilst this is indeed true, the amount of calories used in this process is not a great amount and will not have a significant impact on weight loss.
So, that’s what it is and how it’s supposed to work, but does it actually work? Well, the short (and unhelpful) answer is yes and no. For some it has been very effective and for others, not so much. The main problem it seems is the large amount of water that needs to be drunk. Some people feel uncomfortable and bloated and combined with more frequent bathroom visits, this is enough to discourage them.
For others however, it can lead to great success. The most striking example, as reported by the media, was 41 year old Blake Silva. After a number of unsuccessful diets and weighing 270 pounds, he began a Before, During and After Diet in which he claims to have ate completely normally but drank up to 10 glasses of water every day. Over seven months he lost 70 pounds. There have been other reports of success also, although not quite so dramatic, with the amount of weight lost varying considerably between different people.
So, we know that it can work for some, but is the Water Diet safe? Well, the good news is, it is. Whilst drinking too much water can, in some rare cases, be harmful, it requires considerably more than 8 glasses to be drank to be dangerous. In fact, it is perfectly healthy and good for your body. Benefits to drinking more water include, amongst others, helping your body to detoxify, increasing your alertness and concentration and even helping you look young and healthy by helping to keep your skin hydrated.
Finally, does it work in the long term? Well, like any diet, it will only lead to long term changes if you don’t go back to the bad habits and lifestyle that lead to being overweight to begin with. That’s not to say you should remain on a permanent weight loss diet however. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to eat healthy foods and exercise. There are many good articles on the subject of healthy living so I won’t go into detail but eating plenty fruit and vegetables and avoiding high fat foods is a great way to start. Combining this with even a little exercise, such as walking every day, will mean you are on the right track to avoiding the need for any future weight loss diets.
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