Want to eat healthier? Drink more water.

By Staff Writer • Published: May 31st, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Are you trying to eat less? The answer might be very clear and as close as your tap. Pour yourself a glass of water, says a recent University of Illinois study.

Just a difference of drinking 1 percent more water than others reduced people’s total daily calorie intake, the researchers noted. There was also a drop in consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, reviewed the dietary habits of more than 18,300 adults in the United States. The researchers found that people who drank an additional one, two or three cups of water more than average daily took in 68 to 205 fewer calories a day. Their sodium and cholesterol intake dropped by one-fourth, while sugar consumption decreased more than one-fifth.

The researchers based their findings on data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Participants were asked to recall everything they ate or drank over the course of two days.

The team found that participants drank an average of 4.2 cups of plain water and consumed nearly twenty-two-hundred calories a day. That included 125 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and 432 calories from low-nutrition, high-calorie foods such as desserts, pastries and snack mixes.

The results were similar across race and ethnicity, education and income levels and body weight, the researchers found. The greatest decreases were among men, as well as young and middle-aged adults — a result that’s likely linked to higher calorie intake among those groups.

The researchers hope that the findings will lead to universal campaigns that promote replacing high-calorie beverages with plain water.