If you are looking to control weight or reduce intake of sugar, salt or saturated fat, then drinking more water could be the ideal solution.
New research, which examined the dietary habits of 18,300 adults found that the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water by as little as one percent, had lower total daily calorie intake as well as reduced consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium or cholesterol.
People who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams, according to the researchers. They also consumed 5 grams to nearly 18 grams less sugar and decreased their cholesterol consumption by 7 to 21 milligrams daily.
This impact of plain water intake on diet was found to be consistent irrespective of race, ethnicity, education, income levels and body weight status. This shows that promoting plain water consumption, in place of beverages with calories, can bring about dietary benefits in the overall population without the need for customization based on demographic subgroups.
The study revealed that, on average, participants consumed about 4.2 cups of plain water on a daily basis, accounting for slightly more than 30 percent of their total dietary water intake. Participants' average calorie intake was 2,157 calories, including 125 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and 432 calories from discretionary foods, which are low-nutrition, calorie-dense foods such as desserts, pastries and snack mixes that add variety to but are not necessary for a healthy diet.
A small but statistically significant one percent increase in participants' daily consumption of plain water was associated with an 8.6-calorie decrease in daily energy intake, as well as slight reductions in participants' intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and discretionary foods along with their consumption of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.
While the study found that the decreases were greater among men and among young and middle-aged adults, the researchers suggest that this could have been associated with these groups' higher daily calorie intakes.