Growing up, my grandfather always told me that drinking warm water was better for my health and weight. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, dismissing it as “old people's talk.” But now that I'm older, I realize he was just trying to instill good habits in me.
Now, I'd like to know if drinking hot water helps you lose weight. Is it all a ruse?
Apparently, my father was correct. So, sort of. Hot water can be beneficial to your health and weight, but there are numerous myths surrounding it.
For starters, drinking more water has long been linked to weight loss. However, it is unlikely that it matters much (if at all) whether the water you drank was warm, cold, or tepid. They can all help you eat fewer calories.
That being said, warm water does have specific health benefits that, albeit indirectly, can help you achieve a healthier weight. These include improved gut health, circulation, fat burning, and a few others.
To hopefully persuade you to include more water in your daily routine, I'm going to walk you through all of these health and weight-related benefits today. Let's get this party started!
What are the advantages of consuming hot water?
First and foremost, when I say hot water, I don't mean boiling hot, okay? I'm talking about warm water, or water that's hotter than room temperature but not so hot that it burns your tongue when you sip from the cup or your finger if you dip it into it.
If you want to get technical, according to one study, the ideal drinking temperature for hot drinks is around 136°F (57.8°C). This temperature should be high enough to feel the benefits while also keeping you safe from thermal injury.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get to the good stuff.
Symptomatic relief for the common cold and flu
According to one study, these drinks can provide both immediate and long-term relief from the following flu and common cold symptoms:
- Coughing, sneezing, and a sore throat are all symptoms of a runny nose.
Pretty cool, eh?
Because my allergic rhinitis causes these symptoms every morning when I wake up, I personally benefit from these effects. I simply warm a mug of water, add some tea, coffee, or a slice of lemon, and go about my business feeling much better.
Enhance gastric motility
A study that looked at the effects of different water temperatures on gastric motility and energy intake found that water at 60°C (140°F) caused more gastric contractions than water at lower temperatures.
Unfortunately, the findings of this study indicate that these gastric contractions are also linked to increased appetites and, as a result, food intake.
On the bright side, this can help people who suffer from constipation or other gastric issues.
Helps you adapt to cold temperature while working out
Here is one advantage that may aid in your weight loss:
Warm fluids cause you to sweat more and shiver less, according to research. We'll get to sweating later, but research shows that reduced shivering improves gross motor performance in the cold.
This is especially important during the winter or whenever it is cold, because it makes exercising easier, according to the study.
One of the advantages of drinking hot water to lose weight is that it allows you to exercise even when the weather is bad.
May help detox your body
Now, let's talk about sweating…
The previous study did not mention it, but sweating more – which warm water induces – is beneficial to your overall health. To be honest, your sweat is mostly water, with only a few traces of toxic waste.
Water, on the other hand, helps you urinate more, which is another way to cleanse your system. According to another study, drinking more water lowers blood urea nitrogen concentrations, indicating that your kidneys are doing a better job of flushing out metabolic waste products.
May help reduce anxiety and improve mood
According to one study, drinking hot water can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure within 30-60 minutes. This effect is great on its own, but when caffeine and milk are added to water (e.g., in the form of coffee or tea), the study claims that it also results in a better mood and reduced anxiety.
Now I understand that hot water and hot tea/coffee are not the same thing. All I'm trying to say is that you have choices in how you consume your hot water and caffeine, as the study even claims that these two factors are the primary reasons why the benefits to both mood and anxiety levels occur in the first place.
According to the same study, hot beverages – including plain hot water – increased skin temperature, indicating improved vasodilation and circulation.
This is especially important for long-term health because improved blood flow means that nutrients and oxygen are distributed more efficiently, allowing your lungs, heart, and muscles to function more effectively.
Warm water is anti-aging
For starters, water is obviously hydrating. As you age, you lose collagen and elastin, which has a significant impact on the mechanical structure of your skin. This is one of the reasons why older men and women develop wrinkles and fine lines in the first place.
Drinking more water, according to research, has a significant impact on both superficial and deep skin hydration, which improves your skin's biomechanics.
Second, as previously stated, warm water improves circulation. What I didn't say is that improved circulation improves skin health and helps prevent premature skin aging because it receives proper nutrition.
Other skin benefits of drinking hot water include the possibility of preventing acne and promoting healing, though I haven't found any studies to back up these claims.
After reading through all of these advantages, you may have noticed that only a few of them are directly related to losing weight. So, to return to the original question:
Does warm water reduce weight?
Yes, However, it is not always due to the higher temperature.
Drinking more water helps with weight loss because it fills up empty space in your stomach without storing any calories. To me, the other weight loss or performance-related benefits of drinking warm water are simply bonuses.
Furthermore, it appears that water speeds up your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories, albeit by a small margin.
You may now be wondering:
How many calories does water burn?
According to a 2003 study, drinking 500 ml of water increases your metabolism by about 30%, or by about 24 calories. Increase that to about 2 liters (about 8 glasses) and you'll be burning about 96 calories more per day.
While this study does not state it explicitly, it appears to me that the more water you drink, the more calories you can probably burn.
How many calories does one glass of hot water burn?
According to the study's findings, 12-13 kcal per glass.
It's not much, I know, but keep in mind that the weight loss benefits of water stem primarily from its zero calorie content while also aiding in appetite control.
That being said, let's talk about when you should drink your water.
When to drink warm water for weight loss
Before each meal, drink two glasses of water.
According to one study, people who drank 500 ml of water (about 2 glasses) before each meal lost approximately 2 kg more than those who did not, resulting in a 44 percent greater weight loss over a 12-week period. This was due to the fact that drinking water before meals caused them to consume fewer calories.
Furthermore, according to another study, those who drank water before meals felt just as satisfied despite eating less food.
So, if you were concerned that this would diminish the pleasure of eating, rest assured that it will not.
It's one of the things I do to make losing weight so much easier.
Drink water after delicious meals
Before I go any further, please understand that I am not an expert in the field of food tasting. I'm not a fan of wine tasting, chocolate tasting, or whatever it is that people do nowadays to test their palate.
Having said that, many experts believe that plain, lukewarm water is the best palate cleanser. I say this because I'm sure you've noticed how some flavors linger on our tongues longer than others, such as any food containing a lot of garlic and onions.
These sluggish flavors may tempt you to eat more even if you are already full. As a result, cleansing your palate with water after a delicious meal may help you gain more control.
To be honest, I can't find any research that supports palate-cleansing as a weight-loss technique. However, there have been numerous anecdotal reports of people claiming that this aided them in their weight loss journey. You might want to give it a shot.
3 hours before bedtime
You may have asked others when to drink hot water, and they may have told you that it is best to drink it before going to bed to help you relax. However, there is insufficient evidence to support or refute this claim, so it may or may not be true.
If you want to drink hot water before going to bed, Sleep Advisor recommends doing so 3 hours before bedtime.
This reduces the likelihood of you waking up in the middle of the night to pee. This is especially important for weight loss because sleep deprivation has long been linked to obesity.
Warm water in the morning has numerous advantages.
For example, it aids in nasal airflow clearance (as previously mentioned). This can be a welcome addition to any morning routine for people who suffer from allergic rhinitis, such as myself.
Of course, hydration is another advantage. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep is important, but that is also a long time to go without water, so make drinking water the first thing you do after waking up.
Drinking hot water first thing in the morning also aids in regularity. We've already mentioned it, but hot water improves gastric motility. If your bowel movements were irregular, this could help you get them back on track.
Indirectly, increased gastric motility may cause you to feel hungrier during the day. You may not think it's a good thing, but in my opinion, it may encourage you to eat breakfast – and I think that's fantastic!
On that note, none of these appear to be directly related to weight loss, and I won't argue with that. However, I believe that these things can be turned into good, healthy habits – and that this will always be an important part of any long-term weight loss transformation.
Having said that, there are some disadvantages to drinking warm water. Let's talk about it for a minute.
The Drawbacks of Drinking Warm Water
It can be too hot
The first and most obvious disadvantage of drinking hot water is that it can be excessively hot.
According to the American Burn Association, cooking, drinking, or serving hot liquids causes 80-90 percent of scalds. Coffee, in particular, is served at 175°F, which is far hotter than recommended and can scald if not handled carefully.
Furthermore, while drinking hot water can burn your tongue and the roof of your mouth, it can also harm the more internal parts of your digestive tract, including your throat.
Also, children are at a significantly higher risk of scald burns, so exercise extreme caution, especially if you have a child at home.
You could use a thermometer if you want, but I just wait a few minutes after pouring my hot water into my cup and take small sips to see if it's safe to drink.
It could be polluted more.
Given how effective heat can be in killing germs, I was surprised to learn that hot water, particularly hot tap water, can contain more contaminants than cold water. But, alas, that is not the case. That is correct.
In hot water, contaminants from old and rusted pipes dissolve more easily. So, even if the danger isn't immediately apparent, it may still exist.
If you plan to drink directly from the faucet, it's probably best to start with cold water and then manually heat it with a pot, kettle, or even your microwave.
Other drawbacks of drinking hot water include:
- Sleep disturbances,
- kidney overwork, and
- cellular imbalance
However, all of these disadvantages are the result of drinking too much water (i.e. overworking your kidneys and cellular imbalance) or drinking it at the wrong time (i.e. sleep disturbances).
To conclude, here is a summary of the effects of drinking hot water on a daily basis:
Because it helps clear your nasal airways, warm water can provide symptomatic relief for flu and the common cold. This also makes it an excellent post-wake-up drink for those of us who suffer from allergic rhinitis that worsens in the morning.
It also promotes regular bowel movement and may improve your mood, making it an excellent morning drink. Oh, and it's also beneficial to your skin.
Having said that, the temperature of your water has very little effect on your ability to lose weight. More timing and overall hydration have a larger impact.
You may be wondering, if drinking hot water is ineffective, what about drinking cold water?
That's a topic for another time. But, for now, would you please do me a favor and share this with your friends?