If you’re looking to lose, drink up.

A recent review by Dr. Rebecca Muckelbauer and colleagues from the Berlin School of Public Health has received attention from the press about a highly questioned issue: does drinking water affect weight outcomes in adults? Or put more simply, will drinking water help you lose weight?


Image Source: http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-glass-water-tape-measure-image3812033

Dr. Muckelbauer and her peers performed a systematic review, which included 11 studies, three of which came out of  our Water INTERface director’s (Dr. Brenda Davy) lab. Specifically, one study by Dennis and others, on which Dr. Davy was the principle investigator, provided some solid evidence to assist Dr. Muckelbauer’s group in developing their review.

The study by Dr. Elizabeth Dennis, currently a post doctoral fellow at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and a graduate from VT and past student of Dr. Davy’s, found that after 12 weeks drinking about two cups of water before each meal was correlated with a greater decrease in weight after 12 weeks versus restricting calories alone. Another publication included in the systematic review was an extension of Dennis and colleagues’ work looking into how self monitoring of weight, fruit and vegetable intake, and water consumption may influence long-term weight maintenance. The lead author for this study was Dr. Jeremy Akers, also a VT alumni and prior member of Dr. Davy’s lab and now an assistant professor at JMU.

Image Source: http://fitsystemsatx.com/2012/12/water-vs-coke/

Studies in Dr. Muckelbauer and associate’s review that examined water intake in individuals who were not primarily dieting or trying to maintain weight were found to show inconsistent results, but this may be due to study design. Overall, the review’s authors concluded that studies examining increased water intake in those dieting or trying to maintain weight imply that more water is better. However, they highlight the need for more thorough studies on this topic before definitive associations can be made.

With the summer months upon us, this study draws attention to one clear notion: Fill ‘er up and drink up…WATER that is.

Sociodemographics and tap water intake: what’s the connection?

A study conducted by our recent seminar guest Dr. Anisha Patel and colleagues  has found associations between race/ethnicity, gender, age, language, and education and tap water intake in children and adolescents. This is the first national study in youth to consider sociodemographic traits of tap water consumption.

Underrepresented children and adolescents were found to consume less tap water versus their white counterparts. More specifically, Spanish speaking adolescents were found to drink less tap water potentially substantiating the claim that they may consider tap water to contain pollutants found in their home country’s water supply.

Although no differences were observed between tap water consumers and nonconsumers in weight and sugar-sweetened beverage intake, tap water consumers drank more overall fluid and water than non-tap water consumers. However, no groups met the Institute of Medicine’s water intake recommendation of ~7-11 cups of water per day for those aged 9-18 years.

The results from this investigation highlight the need for education at the community level on the financial and health benefits of consuming tap water. Underserved populations and the public in general can benefit from consistent reminders about the importance water consumption in place of other calorically-dense beverages in order to promote health and longevity. Dr. Patel concludes that having culturally sensitive means to promote water consumption may help avert the negative health outcomes associated with low water intake in underrepresented ethnicities.

What’s your attitude? Does your diet and exercise sway your drinking choices?

What do your health and diet behaviors say about your water intake? A study using data from the National Cancer Institute’s Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey found that certain diet and health behaviors were associated with water intake.

Image source: http://www.tastemakermag.com/fasting-like-daniel/

Of the 3200+ respondents only about 60% drank 4 cups of water per day. This equates to approximately 32 ounces and falls well below the Institute of Medicine’s fluid recommendations of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women over the age of 19.

Other factors associated with low water consumption were eating less than 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetable per day, being 55 years of age or older, and not engaging in 150 minutes or more of physical activity per week (the current national recommendation). Researchers also found greater odds of low water intake were related to eating fast food more than one time a week and recalling eating fruits and vegetables less than one time per day while growing up.

Additionally, those who agreed or were indifferent to the statement “what I eat doesn’t really affect my health,” replied “not at all/a little” or “somewhat” to the query “How often has worrying about your health led you to change what you ate in the past year?” and who felt “…meals should include meat” had higher odds for lower water intake.

Image source: http://www.teluguone.com/vanitha/content/drinking-water-for-weight-loss-74-7653.html

Do you feel as though how much you eat fruits or vegetable or hit up the fast food restaurants influence your choosing of water versus other beverages? Does exercise (or lack thereof) lead you to reach for a gulp or soda or a swig of water?

Water and kidneys: Drink up!

A recent cross-sectional analysis of NHANES (i.e. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data from 2005-2006 showed that consuming more water could prevent the development of chronic kidney disease.

Image source: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/kidney.htm

In chronic kidney disease (CKD) the kidneys become damaged and cannot sufficiently filter blood, allowing toxins to build up and cause other problems like bone disease, anemia, and cardiovascular disease. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 10 Americans have CKD and the primary risk factors for developing CKD are diabetes and hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure). Someone with decreased kidney function may not know it since symptoms aren’t apparent until it progresses to more severe levels. A blood test called the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) provides an estimate of how well your kidneys are working and kidney disease is staged according to GFR numbers:

Image source: http://www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_ckd/Gif_File/kck_t10.gif

Image source: http://www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_ckd/Gif_File/kck_t10.gif

The recent analysis, which included almost 3,500 adults, split up participants into three groups according to their water intake from both foods and beverages: <2 liters/day, 2-4.3 liters/day, and >4.3 liters/day. The <2 liter/day group had the highest amount of people with GFR levels between 30 and 60, indicating stage 3 CKD. Additionally, CKD was correlated with low intakes of plain water and not other beverages.

Image source: http://www.3pk.ca/


The results from this study provide another opportunity to recognize how important water consumption is to our health. Maybe CKD can now be added to the growing list of diseases and conditions that have been suggested to be reduced with water consumption.

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