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Water with Meals: How Much and When to Drink Up


By +Carolyn Richardson on Jun 06, 2012 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

A drink of water could do much more than keep you hydrated. A number of new studies outline how a drink of water can change food preferences and help you lose weight.

Food-and-Drink Pairings Matter

Whether it's a piece of chicken, a burger, or a burrito, the familiar fast food combo is paired with a sugar-sweetened beverage. A new study suggests drinking water with meals may help change your food preferences which could lead to healthier food choices. Preschoolers were found to eat more raw vegetables with water than with a sugar-sweetened beverage. Young adults between the ages of 19 and 23 were also studied and their preferences were similar. They paired sugary beverages with salty, high-calorie snacks. Study author T. Bettina Cornwell of the University of Oregon suggests serving water with meals could mean eating more vegetables in the long run.

Water or Diet Soda Switch Means Weight Loss

American teens get around 300 calories a day from sugar-sweetened beverages, while adult men get 178, and women around 100 calories. But could those last five pounds be lost simply by changing your drink of choice? Perhaps. The CHOICE study found that middle-aged adults who had the same caloric intake lost more weight when they switched from sugary beverages to diet soda or water during meals. The simple switch accounted for an average weight loss of 2% to 2.5%. Aside from the obvious calorie reduction, another reason to quench your thirst with water as opposed to a sugary beverage is you'll eat less. A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found water drinkers at 8% less at meal time.

Drink Before, During or After a Meal?

Aside from drinking water when you wake, and in between meals, there's some wiggle room about getting the timing right at meal time. Drinking water just prior to a meal has been shown to lower energy intake which could lead to weight loss, but drinking it during or after a meal is not better or worse. Because there's no definitive research that says drinking water during meal time is a hindrance to digestion, drink up. Because an estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, not drinking is far worse than bad timing. According to the Institutes of Medicine, an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day, while a woman's is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups).


Your thoughts...

How has increasing water in your diet helped your food decisions?



Comments


i've been drinking carbonated beverages for many years, but for a 2 years time my preference is always pure or mineral water. what i can clearly say about carbonated beverages is that they always reminded me hamburgers, pastas, sugary foods - in short, foods of high glycemic load. in one of the books i read about weight loss, there was a title advising not to confuse hunger with thirst. it was saying, when dieting, some of the hunger we felt through the day may be caused by the dehydration of our bodies. To distinguish, i drink a glass of water if i feel hungry at an unexpected portion of the day and then i find out it was the thirst i felt, not the hunger.



Great point, spiritus. I just recently went through a 21 day cleanse where we ate really clean. The food was great, but the cleanse was very hard. I learned to drink a ton of water though and sometimes we really aren't hungry we are just thirsty. It really does work! On the plus side I lost 8.8 pounds and gained a lot of healthy eating habits. Now I'm on to my next challenge, Insanity!


I drink at least a gallon (16 cups, or 128 fl. oz.) of water a day, sometimes more.  I'm a 6'6" guy who's 230 pounds (trust me, it's not all muscle), so I need the water.

I've been surprised for quite some time just how little water--or fluids in general, for that matter--many people around me seem to drink, regardless of their weight.  I've asked a few people, and they estimate it's no more than a half gallon a day.  That's 64 fl. oz., and doesn't even meet the minimum requirements for women.

If you ever find yourself tired during the day, pound at least 2 cups (that's 16 fl. oz.) of water.  As soon as you get up in the morning, pound 4 cups (32 fl. oz.).  It gets your excretory system going so you can flush out all the metabolic byproducts that built up overnight.

At work, I always have water or tea on my desk.  Always.  If I'm out of water, that gives me a good reason to get up, stretch my legs, and get away from my desk for a little bit.

If it sounds like it's impossible to drink a gallon a day, try this:  Assuming you're awake for 16 hours of the day, drink a cup of water per hour.  That will conveniently get you to 128 fl. oz., or one gallon!  You'll barely even notice.



Drinking a 100+ oz of water daily has been key to my weight loss success.



I can definitely say that since I have been drinking more water, I hardly crave my diet coke at all.  I drink about 90 ounces a day of water plus, maybe 20 ounces of diet coke and one very large cup of coffee.  I was drinking 100 ounces of water - but I didn't feel good at all.  I felt sick all day, every day and had a tremendous headache.  So I did some research and felt that I was drinking too much water.  Since cutting back just those 10 ounces, I have felt much, much better.  After reading this, maybe I'll try increasing my water again . . . 



The food/drink pairings makes perfect sense.  I had a friend who quit smoking and while he was quitting, he had to switch from a morning cup of coffee to tea; he associated that first cup of coffee with his first cigarette of the day.  After he'd been off the smokes for several months he was able to go back to coffee (which was a relief as he doesn't care for tea).  We've come to expect salty foods to be accompanied by a sugary drink.  It happened to me even at home.  My father started working for a Pepsi bottling company when I was in 5th grade and each week he could pick out up to 4 cases of pop for free to bring home.  I started drinking a LOT of Mt. Dew, but I did manage to quit that (cold turkey) several years ago.  I've been pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for me to switch from soda to water with my meals.  I started out using Crystal Light Pure (sweetened with sugar and stevia rather than artificial crap) in my water with meals but now I'm fine with plain water.  I bring a bottle (with filter) to work each day and refill from a water fountain as the day goes along.  I still LOVE fountain Coke, but I try to limit myself to one a week (and I fill the cup with ice before adding any liquid).  



I have to admit I have a dependency for Coca Cola. There were periouds in my life that I did not touch water for weeks or maybe months. Learning to drink water is one of the best things I did for my health.

I am not over Coke, I just swithed to Coke Zero, which I think it is totally unhealthy. I try to keep the intake low, 1, max 2 bottles a week, I only drink it with moderation (1 small cup) in the evening and in the weekends.

Anyway, I have noticed that when I drink water it is easier to do healthier food choice as I have less cravings for extremly salty food as well as for other sweets.

More water intake for me means also less water retention. I keep a bottle of water with me all the time and I try to drink a bit every 5-10 minutes for a total of 2 liters (while at work). I don't count the rest I drink in the morning and during meals. I sometimes do not drink while eating, but I have a lot of water before and about 1h after finishing my meals.



From what I read in this article about how much a woman and a man should drink is just a guideline. That it all depends on how tall/short you are, your age and how much you weigh as to how much water intake you should have. It makes since because I had a friend that drank way to much (gallon to gallon and half a day) and she actually flushed the electrolites out of her system placing her in the hospital. She is short like me, only 5'2" and only 130 pounds and we are only to drink 8 to 10 cups of water a day. After her change in water she was much better.

So, yes I agree that drinking water will help you lose weight but each person has to take into account their own unique body type and any health problems that may exsist. Water to me is definitely better than any sugar drink but exercise to me also plays  major factor, which means more water :)



I find it *really* hard to drink water in this weather! (Australia, it's winter here with temps of 10-15C through the day, but we don't heat our homes above around 21C)



Big surprise, people who don't drink soda eat less.  It doesn't mean that drinking water means you'll loose weight. People who have eating patterns that do not include empty calories are more likely to eat properly. Pure and simple.  Cultivate good habits, watch what you put into your body, count your calories. This is not news.



I was taught that you calculate the amount of water your body requires by multiplying your weight by .55.


drinking cool water in warm weather, warm water in cooler temps adds in digestion and body temp regulation..any comments?


It has now been 18 weeks since I have had carbonated beverages and coffee.  It has made a world of difference for me.  I am drinking around 100 oz of water a day where I never used to touch water.  I used to hate water and now I can't go long without drinking it.  If only I could stop going to the bathroom in the middle of the night now.  Small time pain for long term gain.



I have been drinking 8 glasses of water everyday, and it has not only helped with weight loss but also with my skin, constipation and I generally feel much better.  I have found though that if I dont have my 8 glasses I start to feel a little ill.



I am a petite person... 5'3 and I weigh 124 pounds (like erich said, not all of it is muscle) I find it hard to consume anywhere near recommended amount of water. If tried to drink even two cups early in the morning (with no breakfast in me)... it makes me nauseated

I am close to 7 cups a day but I still feel like I overeat and I should substitute a part of snacking with water, just not sure how to... suggestions are welcome



Just be sure the water you are drinking is NOT fluoridated. Deer Park is the best natural spring water in the bottle to drink. I would try not to drink any sodas. The fake sugar in diet sodas is worse for you than real sugar and it has been proven to be addictive.



@dnkjain

If you feel that you're overeating/want to drink more water, I'd recommend drinking water before you eat anything. I for one eat breakfast before I drink water (I drink my first 2-2.5 cups during my walk to work) since I find that drinking on an empty stomach makes me feel a bit sick. Throughout the day, whenever you start feeling hungry/get a craving to snack on something, drink 1 cup of water, maybe more and wait a few minutes. If you're still hungry afterwards, then go grab a bite to eat. I know it sounds simple and kind of stupid but it really works! The hard part is remembering to drink the water! It becomes habit, though. I used to drink 6 cups of water max per day but now I'm at about 1 gallon.

And about the food associations thing: I think it makes perfect sense. For example, even though I drink water with every meal and rarely touch fruit juices or sodas, I have to drink soda when I'm eating pizza or popcorn or other high fat foods. It just doesn't taste as good to me with water, you know? I feel that it's just the theme of the food you're eating; you wouldn't eat Mediterranean food while drinking Earl Grey tea, right? Then why would you drink water when eating a big mac and fries?



I say, let's not complicate the issue.  I recommend 8 to 10 "gulps" off the stuff right before each meal.  Of course, with the Half Meal Habit, I'm eating 5 to 6 "meals" per day, so it's easy for me to drink enough.  I also have those gulps right when I get up in the morning, before coffee, before anything else for that matter.

Just be sure you drink right before each meal and it will help you in other ways besides hydration.  

Jim



I'm curious what cleanse you did.  Can you share the info?



A cup an hour!  That's a great idea!  It seems very realistic and easy! Thank you for the tip.  Have a great day! Laughing



I find it ironic that after just reading this article yesterday: http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/05/1205 3524-let-go-of-the-water-bottle-youre-plenty-hydrated-people ?lite

This one still cites the old "up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated." 

Working in the medical field, I know dehydration is a serious condition and find it very hard to believe more than half the population is walking around dehydrated.  Most of the rest of the claims in the piece are pretty much common sense.  



Original Post by: jeannes58

I can definitely say that since I have been drinking more water, I hardly crave my diet coke at all.  I drink about 90 ounces a day of water plus, maybe 20 ounces of diet coke and one very large cup of coffee.  I was drinking 100 ounces of water - but I didn't feel good at all.  I felt sick all day, every day and had a tremendous headache.  So I did some research and felt that I was drinking too much water.  Since cutting back just those 10 ounces, I have felt much, much better.  After reading this, maybe I'll try increasing my water again . . . 


I honestly would stick with what you are doing if you feel well.  Refer to the article that I linked in my previous post.  I am irritated with this article and the pushing of people that they must drink 8 glasses per day.  It's just not true and not necessary for most people.  The old adage of 8 glasses per day INCLUDES the water in the food you eat (which can be up to half the daily fluid intake, depending on the meals) plus the fluid in any coffee/tea/other beverages. 



Last comment..  Should have collected all my thoughts and put into 1 post but it won't let me go back and edit. 

 

The 8 glasses of water per day is even on Snopes as false.  http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp



To Frannyan:  We live in a temperate part of Canada on the south west coast, but we also keep our apartment cool in the winter at 20.5C.   I have become a fan of green tea, which I drink hot, or any herbal tea will do if you don't like the taste of green tea.  It adds to your water intake and keeps one warm inside.



Goodness gracious! A gallon of water a day?! How are you not spending your whole day peeing?  

I understand its important to stay hydrated, and most people probably don't drink enough water. But if I'm drinking so much water that I'm taking frequent trips to the bathroom and its all clear, then it seems like a waste of time, effort, and water.



I used to drink strictly soda. I switched to Periere mineral water and then to regular water. I drink one gallon of water, but I do not believe that is the only reason for my weight loss. It is combination of working out, eating more healthy & less unhealthy food and drinking water.

 



My water intake is mostly club soda or Pellegrino. It just tastes better to me, but I always wonder if it is as beneficial as water.



Before, I didn't know how much water I take everyday that my diet was always at stake. But when I became aware of how much water I should drink, my cravings for food has minimized. With exercise and increase in water intake I lost 20 lbs in 6 months. I know it's not much but enough to make me feel better inside and out.


It is true that just drinking water will not create magical weight loss, but I have definitely noticed that when I'm hydrated (I'm 5'10") which is about 72 oz. per day, I feel so much better. I am definitely less likely to crave junk. When I stick to coffee and red wine, my 2 beverages of choice other than water, I am much more drawn to sugar salt and carbs. I also have more energy, more stamina and fewer headaches or even  fewer all over aches and pains when I drink enough water. Each person probably needs to find out the right amount for them.



During a weight lost competition at work(which I won losing 45lbs in 90 days)I stopped drinking any soft drinks or sweet tea instead drinking water and unsweet green tea. after the competition was over I tried a soft drink and could not drink it since it was so sweet. 



Thank you for the reminder to drink more water! I only drink water and the fresh fruits & veggies I juice & the smoothies I make.  I have to say that I'm slightly disappointed at the mention of diet coke though. All of those chemicals are way worse for our bodies than suger could ever be. Anything that was created in a lab or isn't REAL food, shouldn't be going in our bodies! I'm so happy to say that I've shed 55 lbs so far by going all natural, and I LOVE it!



I have been told long ago that to calculate your water intake is as follows ... for every 30 kilogram drink 1 Liter .... so for every approx. 66 lbs = 5 cups (approx.)

Metric is so much easier!

But whatever you do, DRINK water !!



I have never enjoyed pop or fruit punches.  They always made me thirstier and I don't enjoy a whole lot of sugar in my beverages.  However, I never used to drink water either.  Then, when I understood I was a compulsive over-eater and binger I had to be honest with myself and change not only my eating habits but also my drinking habits.  I never realized how important it is to drink water.  Drinking between 8 to 10 glasses a day has changed my regularity, my skin, helped my hunger pangs, I'm more alert and feel over all healthy.  I make sure I even track my water on a note pad beside me every day so I don't "forget".  It's easy to forget ...but now my body reminds me on its own... I actually can feel dehydrated when I don't get my water quota.  Listen up ... our bodies know what's best for us! :-)



OK.

Great article, but somebody needs to get the medical profession dialed in on this one. In the current "diabetes is everywhere and everybody has it" mentality a typical conversation with a doctor goes like this:

Dr. Diabetes: How much water do you drink a day?

Me: Oh, I try to put down at least 8 or so pints a day.

Dr. Diabetes: Oh my God! You're a full blown type 93 diabetic! You'll die within the next 60 seconds if you don't allow me to immediately charge your insurance company huge amounts of money for needless insulin treatments, appointments with drone diabetes nutritionists and daily doctor visits!

Me: Um...if I drink less than that amount I get dehydrated. Especially after I exercise.

Dr. Diabetes: No, no, no! If you're thirsty, you must be a diabetic!

Me: I see. So, if I'm hungry does this make me obese, too?

And so it goes...

 



BTW...checking the conversion chart liters to gallons/pints, 3 liters + approximently 6.34 pints. In realityy, I drink around 5-7 pints a day.



Original Post by: spirituslibertatis

i've been drinking carbonated beverages for many years, but for a 2 years time my preference is always pure or mineral water. what i can clearly say about carbonated beverages is that they always reminded me hamburgers, pastas, sugary foods - in short, foods of high glycemic load. in one of the books i read about weight loss, there was a title advising not to confuse hunger with thirst. it was saying, when dieting, some of the hunger we felt through the day may be caused by the dehydration of our bodies. To distinguish, i drink a glass of water if i feel hungry at an unexpected portion of the day and then i find out it was the thirst i felt, not the hunger.


These beverages are made to do that. They do these researches how to make you crave and buy. and thats why these beverages are served along with the junk food, at those major junk food joints. aspartame, MSG, caffeine, etc all interconnected to control your mind. And these foods are FDA approved freely(huge fraud). so you soo, how you need to care by yourself.



make your body edial



I love water and never touch any carbonated drinks!  If you have a problem with water or lack of taste I highly suggest cutting up a lemon or lime and squeeze it in everytime you refill your water.  This helps keep your water intake high and adding flavor with the added benefits of vitamins from lemons'limes which help you from getting sick.



I am a Licensed Massage Therapist and an American College of Sports Medicine health and Fitness instructor...I can't believe how many people have said, over the past 30 years, I don't like water, I don't drink it.  Yep, lots of dehydrated people.



You don't have to drink plain water to hydrate.  Tea and other beverages do it just fine.  It is definitely best to at least drink unsugared or only lightly sweetened drinks however.



I am a female, 5'7'' and weigh 139 lbs. I have found that consuming 5-9 cups of water a day is the range I try to stay in. Any less & get horrible muscle cramps from the dehydration now that my body is used to getting that much each day. In the past I would go weeks without having one glass of water. I used to drink at least 5 cups of sweet tea in a day & now that I have had nothing but water for over 3 months, I find sweet tea is too sweet. I take a few sips & find I don't really want it.  Orange juice & other packaged juices are also too sweet. I try to squeeze my own juice for smoothies or for a few sips & it's more to my taste. With watermelon so good right now, I eat a ton of it & those days I stick to more like 5 cups of water or I would be peeing all day/night. I also eat tons of squash, cabbage etc & that helps me feel hydrated as well. Don't count out foods as a good source of water if you are struggling to drink enough each day. Your body will let you know if you are getting the right amount.  

My skin is more hydrated & looks younger by eating better & drinking water. If I would've known that would happen, I would've started doing better years ago. Us late 30somethings will take any improvement in fine lines we can get!!! :)



@ jfrank17- Where I agree water isn't the only liquid source of hydration, tea is, in fact, a diuretic and not conducive to water retention.

Just sayin'.

 



Original Post by: jfrank17

You don't have to drink plain water to hydrate.  Tea and other beverages do it just fine.  It is definitely best to at least drink unsugared or only lightly sweetened drinks however.


These beverages are made to do that. They do these researches how to make you crave and buy. and thats why these beverages are served along with the junk food, at those major junk food joints. aspartame, MSG, caffeine, etc all interconnected to control your mind. And these foods are FDA approved freely(huge fraud). so you soo, how you need to care by yourself.




I went to an authentic Japanese ramen restaurant the other day and usually, I gain 3 lbs because of the salt in the soup. Yesterday, I drank a liter and a half of water and for the first time, didn't gain 1 lb from the ramen. 



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