Natural Remedies and General Health

Water Diets – Practical Tips and Advice

water-dietWater diets are somewhat contraversial and there are many different interpretations of what a water diet is.

A common misconception is that you abstain completely from eating andy food and attempt to live on water alone.

This is not how a water diet should be used and is frankly dangerous. People who have attempted this (which amounts to a starvation diet) unsurprisingly report feeing feint along with other problems. That is not what we are talking about here!

Reducing Calorie Intake by Substituting Sugary Drinks

As water contains no calories subsituting sugary drinks for water can be an easy way to reduce your calorie intake with little effort. This is a more healthy options and is sustainable. Drinking warm water as opposed to cold has also been cited as being good for your skin helping cleanse your system. You may also be interested to read this article on the benefits of lemon water.

If you find plain water too boring try adding a slice of lemon for flavour.

Whilst the above are good general tips these do not constitute a water diet either, we just thought we would mention it!

Water as an Appetite Suppressant

The most common form of water diet simply attempts to use water as an appetite suppressant. Drinking water before meals can help surpress appetite as water fills your stomach, also drining water between meals can help avoid snacking for the same reason.

Studies have shown that overweight adults who drank water before meals consumed less calories than those who did not. Similar studies found that water diets were more effecive in older people than younger people.

When following a water diet you consistantly take in water at certain times to try and reduce appetite and thus eat less.

You need to be careful you do not drink too much as this can also cause complicaitons, and you should not entertain the thought that the more water you drink the faster you will lose weight!

Do not attempt to replace meals with water, again this can lead to health problems, weakness, feeling feint etc.

Consider taking vitamin supplements if you do find yourself eating considerably less.

Following a Water Diet

There are many permutations of the water diet, here is one popular method, there are others:

  1. Drink water instead of other calorific drinks, soft drinks in particular
  2. Drink a glass of water before every meal to help reduce your appetite
  3. Drinking water throughout the day can help reduce snacking
  4. Use cold or iced water for maximum effect. Studies have found that drinking cold water causes you to expend more energy (burning more calories). If you think about it this makes sense as your body uses energy to warm the water.
  5. Avoid alchahol. Most alchoholoc drinks are fattening. Some water diets suggest drinking equal amounts of water to alchahol to offset the effects of alchahol, which being a diurectic causes you to lose (urinate) more water than thw alchaholic drink contains. Our view is that alchahol just complicates the issue and if you are serious about losing weight you would pass on the booze! What is the point in swapping out sugary drinks for water only to hit the booze and put yourself further back. Its your call, you can drink and try and take in equal amounts of water if you like, but our advice is to avoid alchahol all together if you can.
  6. Count your calories! Drinking water does not make you lose weight, it is the side effect of eating less that sheds the pounds so it makes sense to keep that in mind and watch your calorie intake at the same time.

Things We Would Avoid

There are  few things we have read in other guides which we would avoid:

  1. Do not skip meals or attempt to replace meals with water only, this is not sustainable, is unlikely to yield any real benefit, certainly not any long term benefit.
  2. Do not try 24 hour water only crash diets / water fasting. Again this is not good for you, and if anything is more likely to lead to things like yoyo dieting than it is to long term weight loss.
  3. Do not try taking on large quantities of water in one sitting. We have seen some guides advocating drinking several liters of water in one sitting to “kick start” the diet or the day.

With all of the above you need to remember the principle upon which a good water diet is based, and that is you can use water to reduce your appetite, so do it before you eat, and try it in between when you would normally snack.

Combining Water and Juice Diets

In another post we discuss juice diets which can be used in a similar way to water as an appetite suppressant or as an aid to crash dieting. One method discussed there relates to diluting juice with 50% water or drinking water in equal measure to juice. If you do not think you can stand a crash water diet or would like to explore using juice as well as water as part of a longer term strategy then you will find this post interesting.

A Final Note

If you do try a water diet keep it safe and keep it sane! Aim to make more sustainable changes to your eating habbits which you can build on over a period of time. You cannot live on water alone, if you attempt this you will only last a few days, and then what? Straight back to your old ways with perhaps a “sugary reward” for your efforts, classic yoyo  behavior!

Take things slowly, watch what you eat. If drinking more water helps great, if not try something else. Its just one small technique you can use, not a magic trick!