You probably have heard that drinking cold water helps weight loss. Apparently, there has been some research done that investigated if drinking cold water helps weight loss.
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Early Study Finds that Drinking Cold Water Helps Weight Loss
In one of the earliest research projects to assess if drinking cold water helps weight loss, participants were asked to drink 500 ml of cold water at 22 deg C. Researchers assessed metabolism and fat burning afterwards. Drinking 500 ml of water increased the metabolic rate by 30%. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology in 2003. 40% of the metabolic increase was attributed to the body increasing the water temperature from 22 deg C to 37 deg C. Fat mainly fueled the increase in metabolic rate in men. Carbohydrates were mainly used as the energy source in women. The authors of the study further concluded that drinking 2 liters of cold water per day would increase energy expenditure by about 400 kJ. This is the same amount of energy burnt by a 130 pound woman who jogs at a steady rate of (4mph) for 63 minutes. This study sent clear signals that drinking cold water helps weight loss.
The findings of the earlier study was met with skepticism by the scientific community. Could it be that just drinking water helps weight loss as much as a 1 hour jog?
2nd Study Finds a Lower Metabolic Effect
Researchers carried out a further study to verify the findings of the earlier study. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2006. In this study, participants drank about 500ml of distilled water or 0.9% saline water on different days. This time the water temperature was 3 deg C. Researchers found that the metabolic rate increased by about 4% after drinking cold distilled water. The researcher concluded that drinking cold water only stimulated a small metabolic boost. This was well below the theoretical energy cost of warming the water to body temperature. These results cast doubt on whether drinking cold water helps weight loss.
Minerals in Water Play A Role in the Metabolic Boost of Cold Water
Another study was conducted and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2007. This time, the researchers compared the effects of drinking 500 ml cold saline, 50 ml cold water and 500 ml cold water. The researchers found that only 500 ml water increased metabolic rate by 24% over the course of 60 min after ingestion. Saline and 50 ml water had no such effect. The researchers of the 2nd study only looked at the effects of saline and distilled water.
The researchers went further to conclude that the minerals contained in cold drinking water had an effect on the amount of metabolic boost achieved by the body when cold water was drunk.
Drinking Cold Water Could Help Weight Loss
As you can see, the research findings on this topic is mixed thus far. All the studies found that drinking cold water does boost the metabolic rate. The only point in contention is the amount of metabolic boost achieved. The 1st and 3rd studies produced a metabolic boost of 40% and 24 % respectively. The 2nd study only produced a metabolic boost of 4.5% although this study used saline water. The minerals in our normal drinking water could play a role in the extent of metabolic boost achieved when drinking cold water. This is one of those areas that need further investigation.
Adequate hydration is extremely important for cell metabolism. As such, it is important to be properly hydrated. It does not hurt to drink cold water as it does have a positive effect on the metabolism, even though the extent of this effect is debatable.