Posts Tagged ‘Water’

Seven Habits That You Don’t Want to Break

November 1, 2016

Nearly all men and women in their 20’s and 30’s have a sense of invulnerability and immortality.  I know when I was that age someone who was 50 was considered old. Today I consider a 50-year old as youthful.  So what advice do I have for millennials?  In order to enjoy good health as a septuagenarian or octogenarian, you have good health habits during your younger years.  Here are 7 tips that I have taken from an article in a recent New York Times about developing good health habits.  They are easy to do and will make all the difference in the world on how you feel today and how healthy you will be tomorrow.

#1. Make the bathroom scale your new best friend. Nothing is more deleterious to your long-term health than being obese or overweight.  Give yourself an acceptable range and when you approach the higher end of that range, cut your calories or increase your exercise.

#2 become your own chef.  Your focus should be on ways to add variety to your diet and to boost the intake of vegetables and fruits. Cut down on unhealthy fats, sugar and excessive salt, i.e., no more than 1200 mg\day.

#3 Sugars, like those found in candy bars, sweetened cereals, and sugared soft drinks.  Excessive sugar has been shown to be one of the main culprits obesity and diabetes.  Excessive sugar represents empty calories with no important nutrients needed in a balanced diet.  Giving sugar to children can make them addicted to sugar which can be more addictive than heroin or cocaine!  Instead consume more fruits and vegetables.

#4 Get off the couch and get moving.  Excessive sitting is the new smoking.  Even if you can’t find time to have an exercise program you can still walk the stairs several times a day.  BTW going up is good exercise, going down is exercise but harder on your hips and knees.  You can also park your car a few blocks away from the office or on the top floor of the parking lot and then walk to work.  Ideally, you should find a way to get 20-30 minutes of activity that increase your heart rate every day.  This includes biking, brisk walking or swimming.

#5 Pay the piper if you play.  If you engage in having a good time with drinking and snacking, then promise yourself additional exercise before or after your party.

#6 Cut the portions or let the palm of your hand be your guide.  An ample serving of fish or chicken should fit into the palm of your hand.  If you find that you are gaining weight or a few more pounds than you would like, cut the portions and cut the alcohol and you can lose 3-5 pounds in just a few days.

#7 Drink plenty of water.  There are so many advantages of drinking lots of water which include:

A perfect thirst quencher  There is no better liquid to quench your thirst than water.  Many people are incorrectly informed that you only need to drink water in hot weather.  The truth is large volumes water are lost through your breath in cold, dry weather.  Although you can substitute other beverages such as colas, coffee and electrolyte drinks, there is no other drink that contains fewer calories and more nutrients than water.  In fact, affricated beverages can act as diuretics and cause the body to excrete water and important chemicals like potassium.

Water aids digestion. Water dilutes the acidity in the stomach and causes the release of enzymes necessary for digestion. Water is also a natural laxative and relieves constipation.

Water cools the body during exercise. As the body heats up during exercise, the internal thermostat promotes perspiration. Internal body temperature can be decreased with the consumption of cold water.  Cold water is best because it is absorbed into t he circulation more quickly than warm water.

Water promotes waste excretion. The kidneys are the paired organs used to remove metabolic bodily water material.  Water is essential for these incredible filters to do their work an flush out the body’s waste products.

Water carries nutrients to the cells. All of the body’[s cells are bathed in a saltwater solution. Blood moves nutrients to the cells and removes the waste products to the kidneys and liver.  Water is necessary to maintain the blood volume to carry out these vital functions.

Water reduces kidney stones. If too much calcium, oxalate or uric acid is excreted in the urine, crystals will form and start the growth of kidney stones. The best treatment to reduce kidney stones is to drink enough water to keep the particles from hitting one another and staring the crystallization process.

Water lubricates the joints. The bones glide against one another with minimal friction because of a lubricant called synovial fluid. Drinking plenty of water incases the synovial fluid and reduces e4h wear and tar on the joints.

Water promotes good skin tone. Skin elasticity is maintained when the body is well hydrated. Chronic fluid loss lead to dry, wrinkled skin.

Water is a diet aid. Drinking a glass of water before each meal leads to a sensation of fullness before you sit down to the table, thus acting as a natural appetite suppressant. Water helps the body metabolize stored fat.  If there is not adequate water to rid the body of waste through the kidneys, then the liver must be called in to do the kidney’s work.  If the liver is doing the kidney’s work, it cannot metabolize body fat and weight loss is slowed or stopped.

Water is a natural relaxer. Water is an excellent way to wash away tension. Swimming induces a feeling of calmness and exhilarates the body, similar to a jogger’s high.

How much water is enough?  The time-honored advice of drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day still holds true.  However, the more you exercise, the more you need to drink, especially if you live in New Orleans in July, August, or September.  A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately one quart of water for each hour of exercise.

Water remains one of life’s greatest medicinal drinks.  It really does keep you healthy and fit and it is good for most of life’s ailments.  Drink up!

Although these 7 suggestions may not guarantee good health, it will certainly lead to an improved lifestyle.  And as my wonderful Jewish mother might say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit!”

Water, Water Everywhere-How Much Do We Need To Drink?

August 30, 2015

I graduated from medical school in 1968 with the advice to my patients to drink 8 glasses of water a day. If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this: You should drink eight glasses of water a day. It’s just not true. There is no science behind it. Yet the number of people who carry around expensive bottled water seems to be growing each day. A recent White House policy declared that 40 percent of Americans drink less than half of the recommended amount of water daily

There has been a fear that otherwise healthy adults and children are walking around dehydrated, even that dehydration has reached epidemic proportions.

Let’s put these claims under scrutiny.

There was a myth that people should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. The source of this myth was a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that said people need about 2.5 liters or about two quarts of water a day. This report also pointed out that most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods. Water is present in fruits and vegetables. It’s in juice, it’s in beer, it’s even in tea and coffee. Before anyone writes me to tell me that coffee is going to dehydrate you, research shows that’s not true either.

Although I recommended water as the best beverage to consume, it’s certainly not your only source of hydration. You don’t have to consume all the water you need through drinks. You also don’t need to worry so much about never feeling thirsty. The human body is finely tuned to signal you to drink long before you are actually dehydrated.

Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits. For instance, reviews have failed to find that there’s any evidence that drinking more water keeps skin hydrated and makes it look healthier or wrinkle free.

Other studies fail to find benefits in kidney function or all-cause mortality when healthy people increase their fluid intake.

One possible exception is that drinking water may lead to the prevention of the recurrence of some kinds of kidney stones.

Bottom Line: There is no formal recommendation for a daily amount of water people need. That amount obviously differs by what people eat, where they live, how big they are and what they are doing. In New Orleans with high temperatures and high humidity, consuming more water especially when working or playing outside in the summer is probably a good idea.

Water-How Much is Enuf?

August 26, 2015

I graduated from medical school in 1968 with the advice to my patients to drink 8 glasses of water a day. If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this: You should drink eight glasses of water a day. It’s just not true. There is no science behind it.

These reports work up a fear that otherwise healthy adults and children are walking around dehydrated, even that dehydration has reached epidemic proportions.

Let’s put these claims under scrutiny.

There was ta myth that people should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. It made no difference. Many people believe that the source of this myth was a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that said people need about 2.5 liters of water a day. But they ignored the sentence that followed closely behind. It read, “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods. Water is present in fruits and vegetables. It’s in juice, it’s in beer, it’s even in tea and coffee. Before anyone writes me to tell me that coffee is going to dehydrate you, research shows that’s not true either.

Although I recommended water as the best beverage to consume, it’s certainly not your only source of hydration. You don’t have to consume all the water you need through drinks. You also don’t need to worry so much about never feeling thirsty. The human body is finely tuned to signal you to drink long before you are actually dehydrated.

Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits. For instance, reviews have failed to find that there’s any evidence that drinking more water keeps skin hydrated and makes it look healthier or wrinkle free. It is true that some retrospective cohort studies have found increased water to be associated with better outcomes, but these are subject to the usual epidemiologic problems, such as an inability to prove causation. Moreover, they defined “high” water consumption at far fewer than eight glasses.

Prospective studies fail to find benefits in kidney function or all-cause mortality when healthy people increase their fluid intake. Randomized controlled trials fail to find benefits as well, with the exception of specific cases — for example, preventing the recurrence of some kinds of kidney stones. Real dehydration, when your body has lost a significant amount of water because of illness, excessive exercise or sweating, or an inability to drink, is a serious issue. But people with clinical dehydration almost always have symptoms of some sort.

A significant number of advertisers and news media reports are trying to convince you otherwise. The number of people who carry around water each day seems to be larger every year

This summer’s rash of stories was inspired by a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2012 to examine 4,134 children ages 6 to 19. Specifically, they calculated their mean urine osmolality, which is a measure of urine concentration. The higher the value, the more concentrated the urine.

They found that more than half of children had a urine osmolality of 800 mOsm/kg or higher. They also found that children who drank eight ounces or more of water a day had, on average, a urine osmolality about 8 mOsm less than those who didn’t.

So if you define “dehydration” as a urine osmolality of 800 mOsm/kg or higher, the findings of this study are really concerning. This article did. The problem is that most clinicians don’t.

A doctor can tell you that I have rarely, if ever, used urine osmolality as the means by which they decide if a child is dehydrated.

In other words, there’s very little reason to believe that children who have a spot urine measurement of 800 mOsm/kg should be worried. In fact, back in 2002, a study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics, one that was more exploratory in nature than a look for dehydration, and it found that boys in Germany had an average urine osmolality of 844 mOsm/kg. The third-to-last paragraph in the paper recounted a huge number of studies from all over the world finding average urine mOsm/kg in children ranging from 392 mOsm/kg in Kenya to 964 in Sweden.

That hasn’t stopped more recent studies from continuing to use the 800 mOsm/kg standard to declare huge numbers of children to be dehydrated. A 2012 study in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism used it to declare that almost two-thirds of French children weren’t getting enough water. Another in the journal Public Health Nutrition used it to declare that almost two-thirds of children in Los Angeles and New York City weren’t getting enough water. The first study was funded by Nestlé Waters; the second by Nestec, a Nestlé subsidiary.

It’s possible that there are children who need to be better hydrated. But at some point, we are at risk of calling an ordinary healthy condition a disease. When two-thirds of healthy children, year after year, are found to have a laboratory value that you are labeling “abnormal,” it may be the definition, and not their health, that is off.

None of this has slowed the tidal push for more water. It has even been part of Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up” campaign. In 2013, Sam Kass, then a White House nutritional policy adviser, declared “40 percent of Americans drink less than half of the recommended amount of water daily.”

There is no formal recommendation for a daily amount of water people need. That amount obviously differs by what people eat, where they live, how big they are and what they are doing. But as people in this country live longer than ever before, and have arguably freer access to beverages than at almost any time in human history, it’s just not true that we’re all dehydrated.

The Skinny On Water-A Convenient Diet Aid

June 16, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 9.02.30 PM

Would you believe that drinking plain water, good ol’ H-2-O can produce a significant weight loss?  It’s as easy as drinking two glasses of water before each meal.  If you drink two glasses of water, it is likely that you will consume 75 less calories at each meal compared to those who do not drink water. 

How does it work?

Water fills the stomach before you start the meal and gives you a feeling of satiety even before you start consuming any food. 

Water also boosts metabolism because your body has to work to bring the ingested liquid to your core temperature.  Those who drink 8-12 glasses of water a day had a higher metabolic rate than those who just drank four glasses a day. 

Bottom Line:  Water is a calorie free appetizer.  It’s also free and it does work and you can expect to lose an additional 6.6 pounds a year.  So drink up…..water that is!

Water, Water Everywhere-Be Sure You Drink It

December 7, 2012

When exercising the general rule is to drink 24 ounces of fluid, especially water, two hours before exercising, followed by 8 ounces of water or sports drink (Gatorade) for every 20 minutes during your exercise.

Be on the look out for signs of heat-related dehydration, which include muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and a sudden cessation of sweating. If you experience any of these findings, stop exercising and immediately drink some cold water.

Advice on Daily Living From Lululemon Athletica

August 24, 2012

Cover of Lululemon carrying bag

I seldom go shopping but I did visit Lululemon Athletica with my wife and I was very impressed with the carrying bag that was given to each shopper. I would like to share the wisdom on Lululemon with my friends, family, and followers.

That which matters the least should never give way to that which matters the most.

Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can. Water flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.

Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.

Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.

Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.

Life is full of setbacks.

Write down your short and long-term GOALS four times a year. Two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 2, 5 and 10 years. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.

Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live for the moment.

Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.

Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life

Do one thing a day that scares you.

Take various vitamins. You never know what small mineral can eliminate the bottleneck to everlasting health.

Dance, sing, floss and travel.

Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters or floors. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter or a baby will crawl on the floor.

Creativity is maximized when you’re living in the moment.

Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.

Friends are more important than money.

Don’t trust that an old age pension will be sufficient.

Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely.

Stress is related to 99% of all illness.

A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.

Wake up and realize you are surrounded by amazing friends.

Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.

Coke, Pepsi and all other pops will be known as the cigarettes of the future. Colas are NOT a substitute for water. They are just another cheap drug made to look great by advertising.

SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.

Choose a positive thought. The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time

Communication is COMPLICATED. We are all raised in a different family with slightly different definitions of every word. An agreement is an agreement only if each party knows the conditions for satisfaction and a time is set for satisfaction to occur.

Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce.

Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life.

Move your body and your heart will follow.

DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW! The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you two steps behind.

lululemon athletica was formed to provide people with components to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.

What You Need To Know About Water

November 19, 2011

Did you know that water makes up about 65% of a person’s total body weight. After oxygen, there’s nothing more important to our survival than water.

Dehydration
The primary mechanism that we maintain our proper hydration is through thirst. Thirst serves two functions: 1) to regulate the volume of water within our bodies and 2) to control the concentration of various salts like sodium and potassium within the body. Fluid is lost through urination, skin loss by sweating, respiration, and a small amount in the feces, unless someone has diarrhea and then a significant water loss may occur. If there is a loss of water by any of the above routes or if the concentration of the salts in the blood stream increases, then the thirst mechanism kicks in, which is a strong drive to consume more fluids.

How much water to drink every day?
You have heard from early childhood that you need to drink eight, eight ounce glasses a day. This is probably a myth that is perpetuated many years ago from the Food and Nutrition Board, which estimated that the average total fluid loss each day was 64-80 ounces. The Board did not mention that 20% of our intake of fluid comes from food. Therefore, you don’t have to consume all of your total intake as water.

In addition to thirst, the color of your urine will serve as an indicator of your state of hydration. If you are dehydrated, your urine will be dark and yellow. This is a sign to increase your water consumption and the urine will turn to white or light yellow, which is sign of adequate hydration. If you are in a hot environment or participating in sports and are sweating, you will want to check the color of urine when you complete the workout or sports event. If the color of your urine is dark, you know you are dehydrated and you need to consume more fluids. Athletes can lose up to two quarts of fluid through sweat each hour. So whenever you are in warm or hot environment and you are losing lots of fluids by sweating, you must make an effort to consume more fluids.

What about sports drinks
A sports drink beverage is designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition. Ideally the sports drinks are intended to replace the electrolytes that is lost in sweat during exercise and sporting events. Sports drinks usually contain a lower electrolyte concentration than found in sweat and can actually worsen the dilution of electrolytes. It is far easier to drink water and a salty snack.

Caffeine-Culprit or Cure ?
There is a myth that drinks with caffeine are dehydrating. The truth is that caffeine serves as a weak diuretic and promotes an increase in urine output and the fluid intake will more than compensate for the diuretic effect of the caffeine. Like most things in life, anything in moderation is acceptable and this includes caffeine.

What about bottled water?
Millions of Americans are drinking bottled water. $22 billion is spent each year throughout the world on bottled water. Bottled water, although up to 1,000 times the price of tap water, may be no safer, or healthier than tap water. A gallon of bottled water is $3.84\gallon making it as expensive as gasoline. In addition to the expense, 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water and toxic chemicals can be released during the manufacture and disposal of the bottles. Studies have confirmed that microbes, pesticides, and solvents have been detected throughout groundwater supplies, and have subsequently found their way into bottles.

The Environmental Protection Agency checks the water that is consumed by the public. In the United States the quality of the water is very safe. If you live in an area and drink well water, you will want to have the water checked for contamination on a regular basis. A number of private water wells sampled in Louisiana showed potentially unsafe levels of arsenic, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and pesticides, as well as secondary contaminants in standard system tests for pH, hardness, alkalinity, dissolved solids and manganese.

Bottom Line: Water is truly the elixir of life. Avoid dehydration by checking out the color of your pee. For the most part, tap water tastes just as good as bottled water and is a whole lot cheaper. Drink up!

Water-Nature’s Pefect Medication

June 14, 2011

For those of us living in southeastern Louisiana with very high humidity and high temperatures, we need increased consumption of water especially during the summer months. The tap water in our community is perfectly safe and it is not necessary to consume inexpensive bottled water. Tap water is far better than sodas, flavored waters, coffee and tea. In most situations you can rely on your thirst to determine how much water you need to drink. However with increased sweating and increase outdoor temperatures, consider increasing your fluid consumption. Other exceptions are patients who have a history of kidney stones need to increase their fluid consumption especially during the summer months.  Two rules of thumb: #1- you need to drink 1 cc of water for every calorie you’ve consume. For example, if you have a 2000-calorie per day diet, you will need two thousand cc of water per day or approximately 66 ounces of water.   #2-If you want to know how much water you need, consider looking at the color of your urine.  During the summer months the urine should be clear and white. If your urine is dark and yellow, that is an indication that you need to consume more fluids. So drink up and enjoy the summer and every now and then take a look at the color of your urine-your body and your health will thank you!

Water-Wet and Wonderful

February 15, 2011

Water is one of life’s best elixirs; there are few things as available, inexpensive and health-giving –so, drink up.

Even though it is readily available, tasteless and free, most Americans do not drink enough water.  And water remains one of nature’s most perfect mediations.  In fact, water is the most essential component of your diet.

While you can live for several weeks without food, you can live only a few days without water.  Water loss of three percent of the body weight or approximately two quarts without replacement can result in weakness and lethargy.  A 15-20 percent water loss can be fatal.

Nearly half the total body weight consists of water.  To ensure good health, the average person requires two to three quarts of water per day because this is the volume that is lost in perspiration, urine, feces and breath.  Nearly half of a the food we at consists of water.

Water is necessary for nearly all bodily functions such as digestion, circulation, excretion, nutrient transmission and temperature regulation.

More specifically, there are thirteen ways that water works in the human body:

1.Water quenches thirst.  There is no better liquid to quench your thirst than water.  Many people are incorrectly informed that you only need to drink water in hot weather.  The truth is large volumes water are lost through your breath in cold, dry weather.  Although you can substitute other beverages such as colas, coffee and electrolyte drinks, there is no other drink that contains fewer calories and more nutrients than water.  In fact, affricated beverages can act as diuretics and cause the body to excrete water and important chemicals like potassium.

2. Water aids digestion.  Water dilutes the acidity in the stomach and causes the release of enzymes necessary for digestion.  Water is also a natural laxative and relieves constipation.

3. Water cools the body during exercise.  As the body heats up during exercise, the internal thermostat promotes perspiration.  Internal body temperature can be decreased with the consumption of cold water.  Cold water is best because it is absorbed into t he circulation more quickly than warm water.

4.  Water promotes waste excretion.  The kidneys are the paired organs used to remove metabolic bodily water material.  Water is essential for these incredible filters to do their work an flush out the body’s waste products.

5. Water carries nutrients to the cells.  All of the body’[s cells are bathed in a saltwater solution.  Blood moves nutrients to the cells and removes the waste products to the kidneys and liver.  Water is necessary to maintain the blood volume to carry out these vital functions.

6. Water reduces kidney stones.  If too much calcium, oxalate or uric acid is excreted in the urine, crystals will form and start the growth of kidney stones.  The best treatment to reduce kidney stones is to drink enough water to keep the particles from hitting one another and staring the crystallization process.

7. Water lubricates the joints.  The bones glide against one another with minimal friction because of a lubricant called synovial fluid.  Drinking plenty of water incases the synovial fluid and reduces e4h wear and tar on the joints.

8. Water promotes good skin tone.  Skin elasticity is maintained when the body is well hydrated.  Chronic fluid loss lead to dry, wrinkled skin.

9. Water dilutes alcohol and relieves headaches.  There is no better remedy for a hangover than several glasses of water.  Water dilutes the alcohol content in the blood stream and decreases its effect on the brain and decreases its effect on the brain and central nervous system alleviating headache and hangover associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

10. Water decreases pre-menstrual fluid retention.  Some women experience salt retention during their menstrual periods.  This leads to excess water retention as well.  Diuretics or water pills only offer a temporary solution.  Paradoxically, you can promote salt excretion by drinking more water.  As the water is passed through the kidneys, it excretes the excess salt as well as the excess water.

11. Water is a diet aid.  Drinking a glass of water before each meal leads to a sensation of fullness before you sit down to the table, thus acting as a natural appetite suppressant.  Water helps the body metabolize stored fat.  If there is not adequate water to rid the body of waste through the kidneys, then the liver must be called in to do the kidney’s work.  If the liver is doing the kidney’s work, it cannot metabolize body fat and weight loss is slowed or stopped.

12. Water is a natural relaxer.  Water is an excellent way to wash away tension.  Swimming induces a feeling of calmness and exhilarates the body, similar to a jogger’s high.

13. Water aids pregnant women.  A pregnant woman should be especially conscious of getting eight to ten glasses of water a day.  Water will clear her system of added metabolic body waste contributed by the fetus.  It will also help prevent dehydration that may result from morning sickness.

How much water is enough?  The time-honored advice of drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day still holds true.  However, the more you exercise, the more you need to drink.  A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately one quart of water for each hour of exercise.

Drinking too much water is rarely a problem.  Too much water, more than six quarts a day, can dilute body minerals and electrolytes producing lethargy, confusion and if not corrected, convulsions and coma.  The treatment is simple: Decrease the water intake and allow the kidneys to flush out the excess.

Bottom Line: Water remains one of life’s greatest medicinal drinks.  It really does keep you healthy and fit and it is good for most of life’s ailments.  Drink up!

 

Water-The Best and Cheapest Diet Ever!

January 31, 2011

Water Before Meal Means Fewer Calories Consumed

Drinking 16 ounces of water before meals helped a group of dieters lose more weight than other dieters who didn’t consume water first reports Cynthia Graber in the Scientific American in August 2010.  Americans, and American physicians, are concerned about ballooning waistlines and the accompanying health problems. Now, researchers have presented the first randomized trial of what they hail as a side-effect-free, prescription-free and simply free appetite control agent. That is, of course, water. Brenda Davy, lead researcher from Virginia Tech, presented the findings at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Previous studies showed that middle-aged and older Americans who drank two cups of water before a meal ate about 75 to 90 fewer calories over the course of the meal. For this study, the scientists took 48 adults between 55 and 75. All ate a low-calorie diet for 12 weeks. Half of the group drank 16 ounces of water before meals. The other half didn’t.

After the 12 weeks were over, the water drinkers lost on average 15.5 pounds, while the ones who weren’t prescribed water lost about 11 pounds. Davy says that this phenomenon could occur because water is filling and has, of course, zero calories. It could also be displacing other, sweeter drinks that the dieters might consume. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s certainly a cheap and simple addition to any weight-loss plan.