Well the short answer to this is YES and the longer answer was explained to me yesterday at a press reception to review ‘The Role of Water in Weight Management’ hosted by Nestle Waters.
The data was impressive and the combined studies revealed 3 core findings:
1. That when exercising, drinking water does not increase insulin levels (because it doesn’t bring any sugars), which therefore encourages fat oxidation. If sugars were consumed (as in a sugary drink for example), the breakdown of fat does not continue at the same rate because they increase insulin levels.
2. That drinking water (which does not add calories) allows for a reduction in total energy intake.
3. That drinking water could help control weight in children and adults. Researchers proved that among overweight adults on a diet, the consumption of more than 1 litre of water a day led to a greater loss of fat. Furthermore, during a recent study in a school to promote water as the primary source of hydration, the number of overweight children stabilised rather than increased.
So the overall advice for those looking to reduce or maintain weight was to make water the FIRST CHOICE fluid for hydration; to make activity a healthy part of your regime; and to hydrate fully before activity with water.
During the question and answer session several interesting queries cropped up. For example is fizzy better than flat (does it get into the system faster) or is bottled better than tap for hydration purposes? The answer is here is that there is no difference.
In terms of exercise and the use of sports rehydration drinks, the advice is that they are only beneficial for hard-training athletes. For most of the general population water is better. And remember before going to the gym or exercising drink at least 750 ml for maximum efficiency (and don’t eat since the body will use up the calories from this food first before then starting on fat burning). A quick cup of tea before heading off to the gym first thing in the morning is not enough liquid.
The session finished on a couple of questions that almost everyone has an interest in. Does water diminish appetite? Sadly NO. And couldn’t I just drink diet soft drinks? Again, ideally NO since some artificial sweeteners can stimulate insulin, but this is still a controversial area that needs more research..so back to the drawing board and the water fountain!