Preloading water before meals helps you lose weight, according to a study published in the journal Obesity, which can be found via WebMD. The study looked at 84 obese adults and had 41 members of the group drink around 16 ounces of water before meals, while the other 43 adults were asked simply to imagine being full before digging into their food. (And yes, we’re talking pure, natural water here — no pre-packaged fizzy waters or store-bought bottles of flavored water that can sometimes also contain sugar or chemicals.)
Interestingly, those who had the 16 ounces of H2O before meals lost an average of 2.87 pounds more than those who just pictured themselves full. In fact, over the course of the 12 weeks, those who filled up on water prior to eating the three main meals a day lost an average of 9.48 pounds, whereas doing it just once a day or not at all resulted in an average loss of 1.76 pounds.
So beyond potential weight loss, why else should you drink more water? Ah, if only we had enough time to count all the beneficial reasons for sipping on this elemental elixir. In addition to keeping your skin healthy, your bowels moving regularly, and your muscles energized, all of your cells and vital organs crave water to keep them running smoothly. If this doesn’t get you saying “cheers” to drinking up, we don’t know what will.
You can also get the essential liquid from soup, veggies, and fruits, but the majority of your intake comes from water and other beverages. Oh, and lest you think that’s license to go to town with coffee and brewskis, allow us to warn you: Alcohol and coffee actually act as diuretics, which work to flush water out of your body instead of into it.
But who are we kidding? Sipping on 16 ounces of water before every meal can be a little lackluster. To jazz it up, we’ve rounded up our five favorite refreshing, natural water twists.
1. Cucumber, Lemon, and Mint Water
Drink this infusion when you want something summery and invigorating. Consider What The Fork’s detox water to be spa water 2.0.
2. Strawberry-Basil Water
Skinny Ms.’s water is perfect for when you’re craving something slightly herbaceous with a burst of fruit flavor.
3. Ginger Detox Water
Try this when you need a body reset. STEPin2’s slimming sipper combines grated ginger, cucumber, lemon, and mint for a hydrating and nourishing drink.
4. Raspberry-Lemon Water
Satisfying and cooling, Eat. Drink. Love’s detox water is best when you can’t get a tall glass of old-school lemonade out of your mind.
5. Watermelon, Pineapple, and Mint Water
Make Penny Pinchin’ Mom’s water when you want to beat a midday energy slump with a tropical, invigorating drink.
Curious about just how much water you should be drinking? Check out Mayo Clinic’s in-depth guidelines.