Water-Rich Foods/Meals and Weight Loss
An intriguing study from Japan suggests that eating foods with a high water content might help keep your weight in check. The study, which was led by Kentaro Murakami from the University of Tokyo and published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition, involved 1,000 young Japanese women whose body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference were compared with the amount of water they consumed each day, both from drinks and food.
The researchers looked at the study participants' dietary habits over a month using a validated questionnaire that assessed the consumption of different foods, beverages and dietary supplements. The participants were also asked to answer a set of lifestyle questions. The researchers used the lifestyle questionnaire to collect demographic data such as smoking status, level of physical activity and weight loss goals.
After adjusting their statistics to account for possible confounding factors (such as exercise level of whether the woman was actively trying to lose weight), the researchers found no significant associations between water intake through beverages and BMI or waist circumference. They did, however, find a correlation between the amount of water taken in from food and waist size: women who ate the largest quantities of high water content foods generally had smaller waists than those who ate less water-rich foods. The women who ate the most water-rich foods also tended to have lower body mass indexes.
The findings of this cross-sectional study echo earlier studies which have shown that people tend to eat less after eating water-rich foods but not after drinking water. In one such study, published in the October 1999 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, increasing the water content of a pre-lunch meal resulted in an increase in satiety and a decrease in hunger and subsequent energy intake at lunch. The equivalent amount of water served as a beverage with food, however, did not appear to affect satiety in the women who participated in this study. What is also remarkable is that the study participants did not compensate at dinner for the reduced calorie intake at lunch, lending further weight to the theory that a diet rich in foods with a high water content can help people keep their daily calorie intakes in check.
1. K. Murakami et al (2008). Intake from water from foods but not beverages, is related to lower body mass index and waist circumference in humans. Nutrition, 24 (10), 925-932.
2. B. Rolls, E. Bell and M. Thorwart (1999). Water incorporated into a food but not served with a food decreases energy intake in lean women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70(4), 448-455.