MILAN – To drink more water has always been one of the recommendations of nutritionists to achieve and maintain a balanced weight. But the importance of the effect of water is linked to another phenomenon confirmed by clinical research: Thermogenesis, namely the production of body heat.
The effect of water on metabolism
“Scientific Literature makes apparent the role of water in activating a series of metabolic mechanisms known as thermogenesis, or the production of heat with energy expenditure, that truly help in losing weight”, states Nicola Sorrentino, Professor of Nutritional Hygiene at Università di Pavia [University of Pavia], Scientific Director of the Terme Sensoriali di Chianciano Terme [Chianciano Thermal Spa] and expert of the Osservatorio Sanpellegrino [Sanpellegrino Centre] – A noteworthy aspect if that the effect of water on metabolism is short-lived, between half an hour and one hour.
A few years ago, a study conducted in Germany and published in “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism” assessed the water effect on metabolic rate, namely how many calories are burned by our body every day. The researchers found that drinking two glasses of water (500 ml) at room temperature (22°C), increased metabolic rate by 30% for both men and women involved in the study.
The rise started 10 minutes after drinking and reached its apex after 30-40 minutes. But that's not all: it has been observed that, basically, this effect is due to the fact that the water in our body rises from 22°C to 37°C. Therefore, it was observed that this temperature increase was able to burn fat in men and carbohydrates in women. The results were then confirmed by another control study.
The effect on children
A similar effect was found by an Israeli research group in overweight boys (between 8 to 11 years old). In this study an average increase of 25% in metabolic rate was observed, after drinking water (4°C of a volume of 10 mL/kg): the effect began within 24 minutes after ingesting and lasted an average of 40 minutes.
In addition to the thermogenic effect, researchers emphasize the role of the “metabolic boost” for muscles as a result of hydration: properly hydrated muscle tissue is more active from a metabolic standpoint. “That is why it is important not just to drink, but drink often throughout the day, without ever reaching the point of being thirsty”, says Sorrentino.