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Could Drinking Water Before Meals Help You Lose Weight?
Date:8/23/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Close the diet books and skip the pills. The latest weight-loss trick may be as simple as gulping a couple of glasses of water before you eat.

A new study found that middle-aged and older adults who drank two cups of water before each meal consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than those who skipped drinking water.

Researchers divided two groups of overweight and obese men and women aged 55 to 75 into two groups: one group was told to follow a low-fat, low-calorie diet; the other group was told to follow the same diet and to drink two cups of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After 12 weeks, those who drank water before meals had lost 15.5 pounds, compared to 11 pounds for the non-water drinkers, a nearly 30 percent difference.

The researchers got the idea for the weight-loss program from their prior research, which found that when middle-aged and older adults drank water before meals, they ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories at the meal.

What they weren't sure about, however, was if water drinkers would compensate by eating more throughout the rest of the day, said senior study author Brenda Davy, an associate professor in the department of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech. But after 12 weeks of dieting, that didn't happen.

"Drinking more water is a pretty simple strategy that may be helpful to people trying to lose weight," Davy said. "We're not saying, 'Drink more water and the body fat will melt away'. But for people who are trying to lose weight and trying to follow a low-cal diet, it's something they can do as part of that."

The research was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

One of the most vexing issues with dieting is how difficult it is to keep the weight off long-term, Davy said. After the 12 weeks were
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