February 29, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Cold Water/Weight Loss

I read today that drinking cold water (defined as less than 72 degrees) can actually help you burn more calories because it requires your body to use more energy to bring it to body temperature once ingested.

The article cited that one can lose from 5 to 10lbs a year. Any truth to this or is this just another myth for you to dispel?

-- Becky
Via the blog

Another interesting question. You're all getting good!

This is one of those true facts that is misrepresented – and rather impractical.

Drinking cold water (which, by the way, is set at approximately 32 – 38 degrees Fahrenheit, not any temperature below 72 degrees) DOES require energy from our bodies to warm it up to body temperature.

Therefore, calories are technically being burned.

Remember, calories measure energy.

And, as every nutrition student has learned at one point or another, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.

To further add to the confusion, these calories I just mentioned are “different” from the ones we talk about every day in nutrition and weight management.

The calories listed on food labels and recipes are really Kilocalories.

In other words, one layman’s calorie (technically a Kilocalorie) is equal to 1,000 “true” calories (the ones referred to when we talk about needing to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius).

In the end, you do the math and come up with such an insignificant number of calories (the ones everyone is accustomed to using) your body burns to heat up ice water (roughly 6 to 10 calories for every eight ounces of cold water) that it’s not really worth mentioning.

I suppose someone could make the case that if you drank eight 8-ounce glasses of ice cold water in a day, you would be burning as many as 80 calories.

Technically true, but we are talking about COLD (not "semi-chilled") water – the kind that gives you brain freeze if you take a long sip.

And does anyone really want to start getting neurotic about the temperature of their water?

I can just see it now. "Waiter, I need SIX ice cubes in my glass, and they need to be constantly refilled so I can burn ten more calories by the end of this dinner!"

In short, drinking countless glasses of ice cold liquids is NOT a weight-loss tip.


Anonymous said...

I am a 56 year old woman dignosed with osteoporosis. I would like to know the best way to incorporate calcium to my diet and fixed it into my bones.
Thank you very much for your comments.
Maria Barbosa

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