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Like sodas, many of us turn a blind eye to it and instead reach for other beverages throughout the day, juices, coffee, and tea, despite warnings from health experts over recent years about the added calories in sweetened beverages and plain health benefits water.
Now a recent study in Human Journal Nutrition and Dietetics provides even more evidence that we should choose water over other drinks if we want to control our weight. For the study, researchers from Illinois University looked at data on the eating habits of 18311 adults as recorded in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2012.
Survey participants were asked to recall their dietary intake over two separate days.
They reported their consumption of plain water as well as their consumption of other beverages like soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened bottled waters. Like cookies, participants were also questioned about their intake of energydense, nutrient poor foods, ice cream, chips, and pastries. On average, participants drank 2 plain cups water a day and took in 2157 calories. About 125 of those calories came from sweetened beverages, and about 432 calories came from energydense, ‘nutrient poor’ foods.
The researchers found that the participants who drank the most plain water in their daily diet consumed fewer total calories, drank fewer sweetened beverages, and took in less total fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol. In fact, they discovered that increasing plain water consumption by one to three cups a day could decrease calorie intake by 68 to 205 calories a day. Oftentimes that could add up to a lot fewer calories over time and result in significant weight loss. These results support prior research on this topic, which has shown that drinking water before meals and that substituting water for sweetened beverages can cut down on calorie intake and improve weight control. That means people interested in losing weight and improving their overall health could benefit from incorporating more plain water into their daily diet.