What Really Happens When You Drink Water Before Eating

Staying hydrated is good for both body and mind. Our bodies are made up largely of water, and research has shown even mild dehydration can impact our ability to optimally function (via Nutrients). If you haven't had an adequate amount of water, your mood, energy levels, and alertness can suffer, per the British Journal of Nutrition. Drinking enough water, asserts the CDC, can also protect your joints, tissues, and heart.

While trying to understand how water impacts the human body, scientists have debated how much water is necessary to drink. While Britain's National Health Service suggests anywhere from six to eight glasses of water a day, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends nine daily cups for women and 13 for men.

In "Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate," the National Academy of Medicine makes recommendations based upon activity level and age; an average 11 cups of water per day for women and 15.5 cups for men. Not only is the amount of water important, the time you consume water may carry physiological implications.

Water before meals can keep you healthy

Scientists around the world have organized studies to see whether drinking water before meals has any impact on digestive processes and overall well-being. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, research participants drank a little over two cups of water before meals; nearly two months later, significant changes in their body fat and body weight were observed.

Meanwhile, researchers from Virginia Tech's Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise noticed a similar effect in their study: participants who drank water 30 minutes before a meal ate nearly 13% less than those who headed straight into their plates. Plus, downing a zero-calorie beverage like water (instead of a cocktail, mocktail, soda, or juice) can keep daily nutritional goals in check. So whether you fill your glass with tap, alkaline, or bottled water, gulping down H2O before you start to eat can boost your body's capabilities to stay hydrated and healthy.