The Cold Water Diet
You can easily lose a little weight by simply drinking cold water. Your body must burn a few calories to heat the water up to body temperature. It burns a few more calories to temporarily carry the weight of the water. That's that many fewer calories that are available for your weight.
The potential weight loss is not "a miracle," but in a year you could lose as much as 5 pounds by drinking cold water and making no other changes in your diet or activity. In addition, there might be some other health benefits. Remember, dieting isn't a race. Weight loss shouldn't be rushed.
In no case should anyone start a weight loss diet, or change their ordinary eating habits without consulting a medical doctor. This is especially true for persons in delicate health, senior citizens and/or women who are pregnant or nursing.
For most persons it takes between 1450 and 3500 calories (that is, "kilocalories," or thousands of regular calories) to make one pound of body weight. To lose a pound of weight, a dieter must remove that many calories from his/her intake of food. If we take the "average", you could say that cutting about 2500 calories from your diet results in the lose of one pound a body weight.
Now, suppose you drank water that was 50 degrees Fahrenheit. (Ordinary refrigerated water is generally about 10 degrees colder.) Your body must burn a few calories to heat the cold water up to body temperature of 98.6 degrees. To raise one pint of 50 degree water the 48.6 degrees to body temperature, about 12.25 calories are burned. That doesn't sound like much, but suppose you drink only 3 pints a day for a year. That would amount to almost 4500 calories or 1.4 to 3.3 pounds of weight loss per year.
If the water was colder, say ice cold, or if more water was drunk, more calories would be burned and more weight would potentially be lost.
Of course, drinking cold water or substituting cold water for coffee or other warm drinks which are already in your diet would have other effects. Some of the effects would be desirable, some undesirable. A large volume of water "thins" the blood and can actually make you feel "drunk." It leaches water soluble nutrients (such as B vitamins) from the body. It may also leach certain salts and minerals from the system.
For a few persons with congestive heart disease or other conditions, serious edema or other life-threatening conditions might occur. The kidneys have to work harder to remove excess water from the body. That, too must be taken into account.
Someone drinking a lot of water would have to take vitamins and minerals to replace those purged from the body and would have to be careful with salts. Nobody should ever start to diet without first getting a doctor's approval of the dietary changes.
Drinking several additional pints of water will help flush certain toxins from the body assuming the water is itself pure. Ridding the body of toxins, especially agents associated with aging and lethargy, may significantly benefit one's health. Many authorities recommend water as a kind of healthful tonic. Of course, the water must be pure.
Drinking several pints of additional water each day is likely to give a persons a sense of fullness. That may somewhat reduce the craving to eat food. Eating less results in some additional weight loss. More significantly, there's a slight "carry factor" with drinking cold water.
Your body must burn a few extra calories just to carry the extra (albeit temporary) weight of the water you drink. A pint of water is said to weigh a pound. Carrying that pint inside your body is like carrying a one pound weight in your hand. Your body will burn a few calories simply to tote the weight around.
Depending on activity and other factors, an adult burns between about 13 and 19 calories each day for each pound of body weight. By that standard, a 120 pound person would burn between 1560 and 2280 calories each day. A 180 pound person would burn more fuel to keep his/her body functioning, between 2340 and 3420 calories each day.
One theory of dieting is for you to consume each day the number of calories required for your desired or "ideal" body weight. Your body would slowly adjust on its own and assume the desired weight. Such dieting becomes progressively easier as you go along. Dieting shouldn't be rushed.
According to that method, if your goal is to weigh 150 pounds and you are active enough to burn about 16 calories per pound of body weight per day, you could consume 2400 calories per day. Over time, your body would adjust to your desired goal.
Some sources suggest that the "average" adult who is reasonably active (say a housewife) commonly burns about 17 calories per pound per day. To maintain 120 pounds such a woman needs about 2040 calories per day.
For the cold water diet, the "carry factor" is not very great, but over a year it will amount to the loss of more than an additional pound of body weight. Suppose you "carry" a pound of cold water during 18 hours of the day. You'll burn an extra 4100 (or more) calories per year. On average, that would represent about 1.9 pounds of additional weight loss.
Just as the extra water leaches nutrients from the body which you must replace, it also leaches water soluble, but weight-producing, foods such as sugars and similar carbohydrates from the body. Some additional weight loss may be expected from that reduction in metabolized foods. A few proteins and so forth are also removed. It's probably good advice to avoid fats as a general rule. Fats and oils can have untoward effects.
The numbers and values I've used in this article are approximate and written for US readers. Persons in the rest of the world may approximate equivalents as: