Health, Water

How Drinking Water Can Help Control Your Appetite

Many Americans are struggling with their weight and want to be healthier. However, with our busy schedules, it can be difficult to set aside the time to go to the gym or grocery shop and prepare a healthy meal. People who are struggling with their weight are at risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and even dementia. Research has shown there is an easy, quick solution to curbing your appetite and assisting with weight loss: drinking water. For those of you who are skeptical about how drinking water can control your appetite, Optimum has compiled this guide to take a closer look at exactly how it works.

Mistaking Thirst for Hunger

When you begin to feel hungry, your first impulse is probably to go and find food. However, eating may not solve your problem if hunger isn’t actually what you’re feeling. Dr. Melina Jampolis, board-certified physician nutrition specialist, explains it this way: “Thirst, which is triggered by mild dehydration, is often mistaken for hunger by the brain.” Many times when you’re feeling hungry for a snack, your brain is actually trying to tell you that you’re dehydrated and you need to drink some water, but the signals can sometimes get all jumbled up. We suggest grabbing a glass of water before snacking. If you are still hungry after drinking some water, then you were probably actually hungry. However, you will be surprised how often the water will relieve your hunger!

Feel Full Faster

When you sit down to eat a meal, your stomach starts paying attention to everything that’s going into it and how much space is available for more incoming food. When your stomach begins to sense that it is close to being full, it starts sending signals to your brain to decrease your hunger so you will stop eating. This causes the sensation of feeling full after eating, which is our way of knowing we’ve eaten enough to satiate ourselves. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send that signal to your brain, and during that time it’s easy to keep eating, leading you to overeat and consume more calories than necessary for your body to function.

Research has shown that drinking two cups of water before your meal can help control your appetite and prevent overeating. The water will take up more space in your stomach, tricking your stomach into sending the “I’m full” signals to your brain more quickly than it would if you hadn’t drunk water before your meal. Drinking water before your meal will reduce your hunger and lead to a reduced calorie intake. Water is calorie-free, and consuming water before your meals can also slightly increase your metabolism. If you’re drinking sugary, high-calorie beverages, swap those out for water to help curb your appetite and contribute to weight loss.

Water Intake

Now that you understand how drinking water can help curb your appetite and keep you from unnecessarily snacking, you may have questions about the appropriate methods of water intake. Studies indicate that you should drink two glasses of water before each meal, leading to a total of six glasses a day. This amount falls within the generally recommended range for water needs; however, your specific water needs can vary depending on your health, activity, diet, and medications.

The National Academy for Sports Medicine recommends a daily water intake of 16 cups for men and 12 cups for women, but you should talk to your doctor to help you determine the amount of water you should be drinking every day. If you’re struggling to meet your daily hydration needs and goals, we suggest adding fresh-cut fruit to give it a little bit of flavor; strawberries, lemon, or even mint can liven up your water. Here at Optimum, we are passionate about helping your office or team meet their hydration needs and encouraging all to live healthier. Clearly. Pure. Water.